Ohio Police Fatally Shoot Teen, Charge His Girlfriend With Murder For The Shooting
The incident is reminiscent of what happened with Lakeith Smith, the Alabama teen who was charged with his friend’s murder even though the police killed him.
An Ohio teen was fatally shot by police officers during a sting operation but it’s his girlfriend who has been charged with murder for the shooting.
On December 7, undercover police set up a meeting on social media with Julius Tate Jr. to buy something from him but the meeting was actually a sting operation.
According to WCMH-TV, police claim that Tate drew a gun on an officer during the meeting.
“The suspect approached the officer, produced a weapon, robbed the officer,” Columbus police spokesperson Sgt. Chantay Boxill said. “At that time the cover officer fired at the suspect.”
The police accused Tate of committing at least two previous armed robberies.
However, Masonique Saunders, Tate’s girlfriend, has been charged with his murder, since she was with Tate at the scene of the crime.
“Under what historically has been called ‘felony murder,’ which means that you’re still responsible for a murder if you cause the death of another as an approximate result of committing certain kinds of serious offenses,” police spokesperson Denise Alex-Bouzounis told WOSU.
Danielle Williams, Saunders’ mother, told 10TV that the police are unfairly charging her daughter with murder.
“I don’t think that’s right. They shouldn’t be able to do that unless they actually physically murdered them. Unless they actually pulled the trigger and shot him. But, she didn’t,” Williams said.
Williams also believes the police are going after Saunders because her account of the incident differs from the police. Saunders claims Tate was unarmed and that the cops took him to a corner outside of his house. The officers then pulled the trigger and went back into the house to retrieve a gun, said the witness.
“I have a sworn affidavit from an eyewitness that says that this was done totally different than what has been put on the news. That he was basically shot in cold blood,” Byron Potts, the attorney who represents Tate’s family, said.
Tate’s family is also considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
The incident is reminiscent of what happened to Lakeith Smith. The 18-year-old was convicted of killing his friend A’Donte Washington and was offered a plea deal of 25 years but didn’t accept it, receiving 65 years instead.
Although Smith didn’t shoot Washington he was still charged with the murder as an adult under Alabama’s accomplice liability laws. Because of the laws, Smith “is legally liable for the behavior of another who commits a criminal offense if that person aids or abets the first person in committing the offense.”