An Arizona father was charged with second-degree murder after killing a man who tried to enter a bathroom stall that his daughter was using, said police.
Melvin Harris III faces the second-degree murder charge in the beating death of Leon Leevon Armstrong, according to AZFamily.com in an Aug. 14 report. He was taken into custody this month after the incident at a QuikTrip convenience store in Phoenix.
Harris’s 16-year-old daughter told him that a man tried to enter her bathroom stall by shaking the door, and she told an employee who then told the security guard about the matter.
The teen then identified Armstrong as the alleged harasser when she spotted him walking away from the store.
Harris approached the security guard and asked him to “take care of the situation, or he would do it himself,” and the guard told him that it’s being handled.
The irate father then confronted Armstrong about the matter before attacking him. Police alleged that he punched, stomped, and kicked the man before Harris fled the scene, according to the report.
Armstrong later died at a hospital, police said.
Harris later told police that he punched the man in the face, but he claimed the Armstrong swung at him first.
Harris’s Fiancée Speaks
Diana Jackson, Harris’s fiancée, told AZFamily.com that he was protecting the girl.
“I’m not mad at him. I don’t feel like he did anything wrong. I love him. He did what he was supposed to do for our kid. You cannot tell someone they’re wrong for protecting their children,” Jackson told the news outlet. “I would have done the same thing. I don’t feel bad at all for his actions. I feel bad that the man ended up dying in the process. I do.”
Armstrong has prior arrests for trespassing, shoplifting, and obstructing justice.
Police said that Harris is being jailed on $100,00 bond, KGUN reported. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer.
Witnesses told KNXV that Harris allegedly stood over Armstrong, hitting him in the face several times and allegedly kicked and stomped on him. Harris denied hitting the man when he was down on the ground. Armstrong was taken to the hospital with brain injuries and a broken nose.
A second-degree murder charge, according to Cornell University’s legal department, is “an unpremeditated killing, resulting from an assault in which death of the victim was a distinct possibility. Second-degree murder is different from first-degree murder, which is a premeditated, intentional killing; or results from a vicious crime such as arson, rape, or armed robbery. Exact distinctions on degree vary by state.”
Arizona has another stipulation: “Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, the person recklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death and thereby causes the death of another person, including an unborn child or, as a result of recklessly causing the death of another person, causes the death of an unborn child.”