June 6th, 2007 04:31 PM
Grand jury clears shooter in March Metro fatality
As reported by The Houston Chronicle:
Grand jury clears shooter in March Metro fatality
June 5, 2007, 11:21PM
Grand jury clears shooter in March Metro fatality
Grand jurors find an unarmed bus rider's death was self-defense
Etta Francis, seen holding her granddaughter Whitney Ann Francis, 8, says she has forgiven Garrett William Mallot in the death of her son and Whitney's father, Otis James Francis, in the picture at left.
Mayra Beltran: Chronicle
By MIKE GLENN and BRIAN ROGERS
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
The deadly shooting of an unarmed man on a Metro bus two months ago was justified, a prosecutor said after a grand jury declined to indict the shooter, because the man appeared to be a threat. But the man's family said the recent decision to drop the murder charge was an "outrage."
Harris County prosecutors had charged Garrett William Mallot in the death of Otis James Francis after an altercation March 28. Assistant District Attorney Katherine McDaniel said Mallot originally was charged with murder because someone had been shot and authorities needed time to investigate.
While the investigation eventually indicated the shooting was justified, McDaniel said the case needed to be presented to the grand jury for review.
The Metro bus had about 30 passengers when Mallot, who had a license to carry a concealed handgun, climbed aboard shortly before noon in the 11700 block of Westheimer. As he boarded, the two men bumped into each other and began arguing. Mallot continued to the back.
McDaniel said several witnesses on the bus said Francis then walked from his seat at the front of the bus to Mallot in the back while saying he was going to beat Mallot.
"That guy said he was going to kick my ass," Mallot has said.
"He (Francis) made verbal threats, then I believe, started clinching his fists and moving in the direction of Mr. Mallot," said Mallot's attorney, Alvin Nunnery.
As Francis approached him, Mallot believed he was in "imminent danger" and pulled out a pocket knife with a 3 1/2 -inch blade, McDaniel said.
Nunnery said his client drew the knife in the hope that it would cause Francis to keep away from him, "but it had no effect at all."
Because Francis was continuing to move toward him, Mallot dropped the knife, pulled out a pistol and shot him, McDaniel said.
Francis rushed to the front of the bus, where he collapsed and died, authorities said. Mallot remained aboard, his hands raised in surrender, until Houston police officers arrived.
McDaniel agreed with Nunnery that Mallot was significantly smaller than Francis.
McDaniel cited a legal doctrine called "apparent danger" that allows the use of deadly force if a person feels he is in imminent danger and no retreat is available.
"I believe that Mr. Mallot did have a perception of apparent danger," McDaniel said. "And I believe he was reasonable in using deadly force."
Etta Francis said she didn't believe Mallot's claim that he fired out of fear for his own safety.
"How can you call something 'self-defense' when the other person didn't have a weapon at all?" Francis said.
She has been in counseling to help her deal with her son's death.
Uncovered during the investigation, McDaniel said, were complaints about Francis being involved in other bus altercations. On Tuesday she couldn't say if any resulted in criminal convictions.
Francis also had a Harris County criminal record, with past convictions for charges ranging from assault to drug offenses.
"He may have had a (criminal) background, but it didn't warrant him to be shot down like a dog," Etta Francis said.
Nunnery made his client available to speak to the grand jurors during the hearing.
Etta Francis said she has forgiven Mallot and prays for him and his family.
"But, everybody has to be held accountable for anything that they do wrong," she said. "I didn't expect him to just get a slap on the wrist, and that was it."
Mallot's lawyer said it was "merely happenstance" that his client is white while Francis was black.
"There was absolutely no racial component to this (shooting) at all," Nunnery said.
On Tuesday, community activist Quanell X called for the case to be presented to another grand jury with a new prosecutor.
"This is a disgrace," Quanell said. "It's a slap in the face to the entire African-American community, and we have a right to be outraged."
On Tuesday, Mallot could not be reached for comment. "They want this behind them so they can move on," said Nunnery, who plans to file a motion within the next few days to have the arrest expunged from his client's record.
Chronicle reporter Kevin Moran contributed to this story.
The story can be found at; http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4865492.html
Personal Note: I had thought this case and situation was sketchy, and still do. But looking at the evidence on the face of things it was Mr. Otis' conscious decision to not only verbally threaten Mallot but to aggress toward him to assumedly follow through on his verbal threat that was the catalyst toward the result of his being shot.
Lesson learned...don't bet that a dog won't bite.
"Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy
"A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing
June 6th, 2007 04:39 PM
As we all know, "unarmed" does NOT equal "incapable of causing death or grave bodily injury." It appears that the grand jury understands disparity of force, even if Ms. Francis (and Quannel X) do not.
That being said, I think the investigators were wise in immediately filing charges so that a full, complete investigation could be completed. Hopefully, that is exactly what happened, and the correct determination was made.
A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.
June 6th, 2007 05:06 PM
I seem to remember reading/hearing somewhere, that in Texas, (or Houston at least), if you are involved in a shooting it goes to a grand jury anyway as a formality. Wish I could remember where I saw this.
You need to realise also that gun friendly as Houston seems to be, it is the Houston DA who said he would charge anyone carrying a weapon in their car without a permit, despite the changes in the last legislative session which said you would now be presumed to be travelling if in your car and consequently do not require a permit.
At least the travelling requirement gets zapped once and for all come Sept 1.
June 6th, 2007 05:11 PM
Absolutely. But I think she is talking about the wrong party here. As far as I see it, the 'wrongdoer' got far more than a slap on the wrist. But he won't be doing it agian.
Originally Posted by Janq
June 6th, 2007 05:29 PM
In Texas everything does go to a grandjury. In another forum, additional information was given that the grand jury was told of the BG's background which included a couple assaults and an assault on a LEO and that there were several witnesses who testified that Mallot should have been in fear of his life and acted in self defense. Given that prosecutors control testimony in grand juries, this prosecutor must have believed that Mallot acted in self defense.
June 6th, 2007 09:33 PM
It seems that mr. Francis was a bully who was looking for someone smaller to beat up. His back ground check says it all. Can you still call this road rage sinse it happened on a bus?
June 6th, 2007 10:15 PM
Another "my baby wouldn't hurt a fly"....despite convictions for drugs and assault.
Social Darwinism--weeding out the dumb criminals
June 6th, 2007 10:39 PM
What I simply cannot understand is how can this woman brag about the fact that even though her son has a criminal history, AND history of bullying people on a bus, why is she surprised that action was taken. She did not even address the fact that her son placed himself into that situation. Not everyone is a simple
As the old 80s movie line from "The Breakfast Club" goes: "You mess with the bull, you sometimes get the horns"...
I hate the fact that she is having to bury her son, but his actions are what placed him there.
June 6th, 2007 10:45 PM
Hey! Kinda like "My pitbull would never attack someone", right? ;)
Originally Posted by SIGguy229
The perp got what he was asking for, a fight, and he lost it for good this time.
June 7th, 2007 12:03 AM
I am still getting used to "Texas Justice". I was raised in the Peoples Republic of Maryland, and worked in law enforcement there for fifteen years. I am soooo glad I moved here! Back in my old neighborhood they would have gone after the shooter for everything they could think of, probably including some environmental violations for "lead emissions"!!!
June 7th, 2007 12:24 AM
Sounds to me that the mother may have been part of the problem not holding her son accountable for his deeds. He made a choice and we now see what the consequences of that choice was.
Semper Paratus (Always Ready)
June 7th, 2007 08:03 AM
Seems that attacking someone who is defending himself with a knife shows felonious intent as well.
"Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18
Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
Paramedics With Guns Scare People!
June 7th, 2007 01:11 PM
Common problem. There's not a momma's baby in the congregation who's broken faith with Jaysus.
Originally Posted by Spionen
June 7th, 2007 06:39 PM
Notice that the "community activist" immediately attempted to turn it into a racial thing. This kind of attitude is one of the main reasons I carry. It's worse up here in MI.
June 7th, 2007 08:07 PM
Another prodigy of the "culture of welfare" bites the dust.
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