Henry Magee, a 28-year-old Texan who accidentally shot and killed a police officer during a no-knock raid on his home, will not be indicted on murder charges, according to a grand jury.
Burleson County police raided Magee’s home in December after receiving a tip from an informant that he was in possession of drugs. Five pounds of marijuana were found the premises.
Police did not knock before entering the home, and they executed the search before sunrise, when it was still dark outside. Magee’s lawyer told the grand jury that his client thought the police were burglars, and he fired his gun to protect his girlfriend, who was pregnant. The bullet struck and killed Deputy Adam Sowders.
Magee and the police disagree over whether the police announced themselves. (RELATED: Police destroy cameras before conducting scary, military-style raid on house [VIDEO])
The grand jury determined that there was not enough evidence to charge Magee with murder. He was indicted for possession of illegal drugs while in possession of a deadly weapon, however.
The lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, stressed that the accidental shooting would not have occurred if police had attempted the raid in the daylight, or identified themselves first.
“It need not have happened,” said DeGuerin, in a statement to KBTX. “They could have walked up to his house in the daylight and he would have let him in or they could have stopped him as he left his house to go to the store.”
But police made no apologies for the raid. The fault lies with Magee for choosing to store illegal drugs in his home, according to the district attorney.
“The Burleson County Sheriff’s Office would not have been there that day if Mr. Magee had not decided to live a lifestyle of doing and producing illegal drugs in his home,” said a statement from the DA’s office. “Therefore, we will fully prosecute the drug charges against him.” (RELATED: Cop arrests firefighter giving aid to crash victims)
Sowders had sought and obtained a no-knock warrant to search Magee’s home. Sowders thought that knocking first would be “dangerous, futile, or would inhibit the effictive investigation,” because it would give DeGuerin time to arm himself and destroy the drugs.