Saturday, December 20, 2014

WI: Disparity of Force, Fleeing the Scene, in Mitrel Anderson case

After seven hours of deliberation, the jury found Mitrel Anderson not guilty of all charges in the stabbing death of DeMario Lee.  The incident occurred in Lacrosse, Wisconsin last year.  Anderson did not deny killing Lee, but had always contended that his actions were in self defense.

Anderson was confronted by three men in the bathroom of a convenience store.   Anderson and Lee had known each other since childhood, but the relationship had soured.  Lee had publicly threatened Anderson and told him that he would kill him.   From, the prosecutor stated in closing arguments:
"When you're getting roughed up in a bathroom you have no justification for stabbing someone in the head, none."
The defense emphasized other points:
Defense attorney Elizabeth Wright brought up Lee's violent past and direct threats he had made to Anderson. "Do you not think he [DeMario Lee] would overpower you, finish you off?" Wright asked jurors.

"You don't have to wait until you're nearly dead if you believe your life is in danger," Wright said. In asking the jury to remember the self defense case, Wright reminded jurors that three men followed Anderson into the bathroom, that Anderson was attacked, and that DeMario Lee told another man to guard the bathroom door
Given the defense arguments, why was the prosecution so intent on going for a first degree murder charge?    I have not talked to the prosecution, but I suspect that it was primarily three things:  First, Anderson fled the scene.  Police tracked him down with cell phone records.   Second, he refused to plead to a lesser charge.  Prosecutors routinely threaten harsh penalties to pressure those who are accused into plea deals.  Third, there were other people in the bathroom, and I did not read that anyone but Lee actually attacked Anderson.

I was not at the scene in the convenience store bathroom in 2013 when the attack took place.   One punch can result in death, and does so with some regularity.  The man killed, DeMario Lee, had a blood alcohol level of .128, and THC in his blood as well, when he was killed.  It is hard to make good judgments when you are drunk and high.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

1 comment:

Texas TopCat said...

Another case where our justice system worked as designed.
Too bad it is so hard and costly to get justice.
More and stronger SYG laws are needed. Innocent people should not be forced to spend large amounts of money when there is no evidence to support that a crime was committed.