Arizona dad who killed man after he tried to enter daughter's bathroom stall sentenced to 8 years in prison
Witnesses said that the teen's dad had 'stomped, punched and kicked the man'.
A Phoenix father who beat an intruder resulting in his death has been sentenced to eight years in prison. 41-year-old Melvin Harris had gone to pick up his 16-year-old daughter and her two friends at QuikTrip near 19th and Dunlap avenues on August 2, 2018. When he met his daughter, she told him that an unknown man had tried to get into the women's restroom and its locked cubicle that she had been in, Arizona Central reported.
Security had been called and the man was brought out and the daughter identified him to her father following which Harris had told the guard to handle the situation or he would take matters into his own hands, court documents said. The man who had allegedly broken in was identified as 26-year-old Leon Armstrong. Harris punched him, according to witnesses and then knocked him down, continuing to beat him. Fox reported that he said "take care of the situation, or he would do it himself" the police said.
Harris told the police that Armstrong had started the fight and punched him first - and that he fell on his own and that he did not beat him after he was knocked down. Witnesses said that Harris had "stomped, punched and kicked the man" the news outlet reported. He then left the scene of the crime.
The incident left Armstrong with grave brain injuries and he succumbed to them a few days later. He also had a broken nose and his brain had reportedly swollen up. Harris was charged with second-degree murder in 2018. However, he took a plea deal and was charged with manslaughter.
A change.org petition was started that urged the authorities to drop all charges against Harris, saying that it would set "a dangerous precedent, as this man was only trying to protect his family."
AZFamily reported that Armstrong had a lengthy rap sheet that included shoplifting, trespassing and obstruction of justice. Harris' fiancee Diana Jackson had told the outlet that the time that he had done the right thing protecting his child. "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 station. "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.”