Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against a man charged in the May shooting death of a Killeen, Texas police officer.
Marvin Louis Guy, 49, has been indicted for capital murder after shooting and killing police Detective Charles Dinwiddie during an early morning police raid on his home. Guy also stands charged with three counts of attempted capital murder.
At a court hearing earlier this month Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza said he will seek the death penalty in the charge related to Dinwiddie’s death, according to KWTX.
Dinwiddie, 47, was an 18-year veteran of the Killeen Police Department and 15-year veteran of the department’s SWAT team. He died of wounds sustained while serving a no-knock search warrant on Guy’s apartment at 5:30 a.m. on May 9.
Another officer, Odis Denton, was shot in the leg. He was treated at a local hospital and released, KXXV reported at the time. Two other officers were hit by gunfire but sustained only minor injuries because of their protective gear.
Although Garza plans to proceed with seeking the death penalty, some question whether or not the officer’s life could have been spared.
Radley Balko, who writes about criminal justice and the drug war for The Washington Post, notes that no drugs were found in Guy’s apartment upon execution of the warrant.
The police, Balko wrote, were acting only on the information of an informant who claimed to have witnessed bags of cocaine being transported in and around the house.
But given what police did find in the home — a glass pipe, a grinder, and a safe — it was unlikely that Guy was running a major drug operation out of the apartment. He might have been a drug user, given the suspected paraphernalia, but there was nothing in the home linking him directly to drug dealing of any sort.
Balko argues Guy likely opened fire on police simply because he was surprised to be awakened by armed men climbing through his windows that morning in the no-knock raid. He certainly had nothing in his home so incriminating that he would risk death in a shoot-out in order to conceal it.
Instead the raid on Guy’s home, carried out in the manner that it was, precipitated a good deal of unnecessary violence.
“It’s yet another example … of how using this sort of violence to enforce the drug laws not only unnecessarily puts citizens at risk, but puts law enforcement officers at risk as well,” Balko wrote.