No Charges

I’ve probably been beaten to this story already, but Bill St. Clair was kind enough to e-mail me this report that 71 year-old Melvin Spaulding will not be charged for shooting 20 year-old scum James T. Moore who was one of three men beating up Melvin’s 63 year-old friend George Lowe. Halleluja!

Why the hell Spaulding was arrested and jailed is still beyond me.

I covered this earlier here and here.

Per the e-mail:

Shooter, 71, won’t face charges at all

Prosecutors will not file an attempted murder charge against Melvin Spaulding, the 71-year-old man who shot a 20-year-old for allegedly attacking his friend in the street.

“That’s good,” Spaulding said after hearing the news Tuesday, as he smoked a Dutch Masters cigar in his mobile home.

Pinellas-Pasco Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett said evidence showed Spaulding was trying to prevent his friend George Lowe, 63, from being killed or suffering “serious bodily harm” as others attacked him.

The law allows people to intervene in such cases to protect others from harm, Bartlett said.

Spaulding said he fired his .22-caliber handgun Nov. 30 because three young men were attacking Lowe and he was afraid his neighbor was in serious danger. The bullet hit one of the men, James T. Moore, 20, in the arm.

Lowe said the episode began when he heard noise outside his home on 40th Street N in the Lealman area and went outside to investigate. He said he asked the men not to be so loud, which turned into an argument. Then the others began kicking him in the legs and back, he said.

After Spaulding fired his gun, sheriff’s deputies arrived and arrested him on an attempted murder charge. Later, the other three men were charged with misdemeanor battery.

But two of the alleged attackers dispute the description of the events by Lowe and Spaulding. They acknowledge having words with Lowe, but they say no one hit or kicked anyone before Spaulding fired.

Eric Palm, 18, said Lowe grabbed at his FUBU jersey, so he shoved his face to push him away. Palm said he then swung at Lowe and missed, and that’s when the shot went off.

Moore denies kicking or hitting Lowe. He said he wants people to know “that I’m not a damn old-person beater.”

“I’m a nice person, you know? I get along with everybody. When people get drunk, of course they’re going to get loud ’cause that’s what people do, but I don’t go around fighting people just for no reason.”

Moore and his friends had been celebrating his 20th birthday that night.

Asked about the sheriff’s deputies’ decision to arrest Spaulding, Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger said, “I think particularly in ones of this nature, they may want to call the State Attorney’s Office before they make an arrest.”

Gee, ya THINK?

Pinellas sheriff’s spokesman Tim Goodman said there was nothing improper with the arrest, even though the prosecutors have decided against filing charges.

Bartlett said the State Attorney’s Office was likely to file misdemeanor battery charges against the three men: Moore, Palm and James Curtis Ganoe, 18. Those three also were arrested by deputies.

Lowe said he was pleased with the decision not to file charges against Spaulding for coming to his aid.

“I think that’s excellent,” Lowe said. “I think that’s the greatest thing they could have done.”

Spaulding said he was relieved by the state attorney’s decision. While deputies were polite, he said, he did not enjoy his first trip to jail.

What if he hears a noise outside his trailer again and faces the same situation?

“I just couldn’t let them kill somebody,” Spaulding said. “I couldn’t do it . . . what they did was wrong.”

Yes it was, Mr. Spaulding. And you did the right thing.

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