A Central Texas grand jury chose not to indict Henry Goedrich Magee with capital murder. Magee shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy who entered his home to serve him a warrant.
Burlson County Sgt. Investigator Adam Sowders, 31, entered Magee’s home in December with a team of eight deputies to serve a warrant for suspected illegal possession of guns and marijuana. Magee shot Sowders with a rifle he kept leaning against his bedroom door frame.
Magee, 28, was charged with capital murder. His defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin, claimed self-defense. He said that Magee was alarmed when a stranger came through his door at 6 a.m. when he was in bed with his girlfriend, who was five months pregnant with Magee’s baby.
"The danger is that if you're sitting in your home and it's pitch black outside and your door gets busted in without warning, what the hell are you supposed to do?" DeGuerin said.
Magee had been held in Burleson County Jail on $1 million bail awaiting trial. Capital murder is punishable by life in prison or lethal injection in the state of Texas.
A grand jury decided Thursday that there wasn’t enough evidence to support a murder charge, the Associated Press reported.
Burleson County district attorney Julie Renken said she believed the deputies were doing their job correctly when they served the warrant.
“I believe the evidence also shows that an announcement was made,” Renken said. “However, there is not enough evidence that Mr. Magee knew that day that Peace Officers were entering his home.”
“This was a terrible tragedy that a deputy sheriff was killed, but Hank Magee believed that he and his pregnant girlfriend were being robbed,” DeGuerin said Thursday.
The jury did charge Magee, who has previous felony and misdemeanor drug convictions, with possession of marijuana and a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony.
Sowders had served in the sheriff’s department since 2006 and was well-liked on the force, beginning his career with the Somerville Police Department. He was promoted last year to sergeant-investigator.