A 60-year-old man who killed a young teen during a Sunday morning confrontation in north St. Louis is out of jail but could still face charges, authorities said.
The man shot and killed Martinez Smith-Payne after he caught the boy and two teenage accomplices looting an unlocked car, police said. Cops took the man into custody, but prosecutors refused the charges, and he was set free.
He could still face charges, according to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce.
“MO law is broad regarding a homeowner’s right to protect himself,” Joyce said on Twitter. “We are evaluating the evidence.”
The man, whose name wasn’t released, opened fire on the young teens about 12:45 a.m. in a back alley in the 5900 block of Riverview Boulevard, next to Calvary Cemetery in North City, police said. Officers responding to reports of a shooting found Smith-Payne lying unconscious on the ground when they arrived. He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.
MO law is broad regarding a homeowner’s rights to protect himself. We are evaluating the evidence.— Jennifer M. Joyce (@JenniferJoyceCA) November 30, 2015
A GoFundMe page created after the shooting alleges that Smith-Payne was an “innocent bystander” in the deadly showdown.
The boy had a short, tumultuous life. He briefly went missing five months ago. At the time, relatives told Fox 2 he was bipolar and suffered from ADHD. He was also in the news in 2013 when he palmed a lit firework in his hand and accidentally blew off four of his fingers.
His death could test Missouri’s Castle Doctrine which gives homeowners the right to use deadly force in certain situations.
Prosecutors pleaded for patience as they investigate. “Justice takes time,” prosecutors said in a statement. “Both the homeowner and the victim deserves a thoughtful review of the facts.”
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