|Updated: 1/11/2008 9:44 am
||Published: 1/10/2008 3:00 pm
A man now charged with manslaughter for killing a teenager is defending his actions. Larry Staley says he accidentally killed Bryant Cross when he fired warning shots as he tried to protect his home from intruders. FOX16 also talked with the attorney representing the dead teenager's family, they want Staley punished for what he did.
"Assuming there was a theft that was occurring, a theft does not necessitate the death penalty," said Attorney Mark Leverett.
But Leverett, attorney for the estate of Bryant Cross, says that's just what the 18-year-old got the night he was shot and killed by Larry Staley. Staley, who is now charged with manslaughter in Cross' death, told FOX16 at his court appearance that his burglar alarm went off on the morning of October 23rd. He looked out and saw two men run from his yard but they later came back.
His wife called police but Staley claims when he heard his daughters screaming and saw one of the men at their bedroom window, he couldn't wait for police to arrive. He thought they were coming back to hurt his family, so he grabbed a gun.
"I couldn't leave it up to them to come in the house. There are too many stories about too many people dying in their homes by people unaccounted for."
Staley says he came out of his back door and he encountered a man on the steps so he started firing toward the tree line. The next day Bryant Cross' body was found in a creek face down. The night before a police search turned up nothing.
"I didn't see him at all. If I had been shooting at anybody there'd been a dead white man there. The man I engaged was a white man," says Staley.
The next day Sherwood police arrested 18-year-old Lamarcus Dunn. Investigators believe Dunn and Cross, two black men were the only ones in the yard that night.
Leverett says regardless of why Cross was there, he didn't have a weapon and he was trying to leave the scene and the shooting was a reckless act. "There's no evidence Bryant was ever a threat too Mr. Staley and that's what concerns the family the most is that they've lost an 18-year-old who had all of his life to live."
The Cross family plans to file a civil lawsuit against Staley. Staley was also charged with possession of a firearm because of a prior felony. Staley posted his $25,000 bond.