Benton Harbor, Michigan

From the South Bend (IN) Tribune of May 9, 2007

No charges in teen’s shooting death in Benton Harbor

While the man who fatally shot a Benton Harbor teen during an attempted break-in will face no charges in the death, authorities say they will pursue a misdemeanor weapons charge against him.

On the morning of March 26, Jammie Parker, 31, was at his girlfriend’s home in the 200 block of Hastings Avenue when Corey Napier Jr., 18, and three others reportedly attempted to enter the home, the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office said.

After a review of the police investigation and physical evidence at the scene, Berrien County Prosecutor Arthur Cotter said in a written statement that “it is abundantly clear” that Napier was shot “while he was in the process of breaking into the residence.”

Cotter noted in the release that Michigan law was amended last year to allow self-defense when an individual in such circumstances has “an honest and reasonable belief that there was an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm.”

Parker reportedly told authorities that he went into a bedroom and saw the drawn shade of an open window moving as someone attempted to climb in, the release said. Parker said he shot three times at the window with a .40 caliber pistol and then ran outside and fired into the air to scare the remaining teens away.

In police interviews, two of the three youths involved in the attempt admitted they had gone to the home to steal money and marijuana they believed was inside, the release said.

Cotter said he found insufficient evidence that Parker shot at a fleeing youth, and noted that an uninvolved witness saw Parker fire the weapon into the air.

Because the gun was not registered, Parker will be charged with failing to register a firearm, a 90-day misdemeanor.

Two of the youths with Napier face charges stemming from the break-in attempt. Maurice Ray, 17, faces charges of conspiracy to commit a home invasion second degree, a 15-year felony, and attempted home invasion second degree. Another youth is being petitioned in juvenile court on similar charges, and Cotter’s office has asked that he be waived to adult court for trial. The investigation into possible charges against the fourth youth is still under way.

A 16-year-old who lives at the home where the shooting occurred is being charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver after police reportedly found about 90 grams of the drug in his bedroom, the release said. He is a classmate of the youths who broke into his home. Cotter’s office is petitioning to have his case moved to adult court, as well.

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