Karey indicted on lesser charge in shooting death of Lake Charles pastor

Woodrow Karey Jr. (Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office)
Woodrow Karey Jr. (Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - There was a major development Thursday in the shooting death of a Lake Charles pastor.

The accused gunman will stand trial for manslaughter, not murder.

On Thursday afternoon, a Calcasieu Parish grand jury indicted Woodrow Karey Jr. for manslaughter instead of the second-degree murder charge he was originally booked for.

Karey, 53, is accused of killing Pastor Ronald J. Harris Sr. in his Lake Charles church during a revival service in September.

The grand jury's decision could mean a difference in jail time if Karey is convicted.

A second-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence.

A manslaughter conviction carries a sentence of between 10 to 40 years.

State law defines manslaughter as a homicide without any intent to cause death or as a homicide committed in the heat of the moment when a person was provoked beyond the point of self-control.

Attorneys for Karey, Adam Johnson and Todd Clemons, released this statement on Thursday:

"We are very pleased with the grand jury's decision. We felt all along that manslaughter was a more appropriate charge as opposed to second-degree murder for which our client was arrested. Of course, he is still constitutionally presumed innocent and we will continue to zealously represent him from that premise. The district attorney gave us his word that the case would be objectively presented to the grand jury and that they would decide the appropriate charge. We believe that is what happened. Based upon the charge, our next step is to attempt to get our client's bond lowered and freedom secured."

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