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Louisiana Pastor shooter indicted and charged with manslaughter

CNN
Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 12:46pm

The family of a slain pastor disagrees with a grand jury's decision to indict the alleged killer for manslaughter.

The victim's family wants the convicted man to go on trial for murder.

According to witnesses Reverand Ronald Harris was shot first form a distance and then at a close range as members of his church looked on in horror.

Woodrow Karey was initially arrested and booked for second degree murder, but the grand jury decided to indict him on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Harris' daughter, Talisha Jackson, says the family disagrees that manslaughter is the appropriate charge and wishes they would have been allowed to testify before the grand jury.

"Manslaughter would be like a crime of passion, but in our statements to the detectives we did state that he was laughing when he walked through," said Jackson. "The first shot he was laughing and when he shot him at close range he was also laughing."

District Attorney, John Derosier, won't discuss the facts of the case but says the grand jury saw the evidence.

"They heard all of the evidence and made their decision based on the evidence that they heard. I'm certainly not going to comment on the proceedings or anything that took place within the grand jury," said Derosier. "They did their job and we cannot question that."

Defense Attorney, Todd Clemons, says manslaughter is the appropriate charge.

"Woodrow Karey may have killed a man but he's not a murderer. And I think the grand jury evidently, under the circumstances, heard evidence that would make them believe that it was a manslaughter evidently committed in the heat of passion," said Clemons. "Now of course we maintain that Woodrow Karey is an innocent man."

But Harris' family says the two men had a history.

"Days before threatening text messages that was sent to my father as well, so I think they needed to hear both sides," said Jackson.

Next, defense attorneys will try to get Karey's million dollar bond reduced.

"Mr. Karey's not a flight risk. He's not a danger to any body else in this community. So, we don't feel it's appropriate for him to be in jail," said Derosier.

Karey is being held in the Calcasieu jail.

Normally manslaughter brings up to 40 years in prison, but the D.A. says because a firearm was used, if convicted, Karey faces a minimum of 20 years.

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