Pastor's family disagrees with manslaughter indictment - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Pastor's family disagrees with manslaughter indictment

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According to witnesses Reverend Ronald Harris was shot first from a distance and then at 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's daughter Talisha Jacko 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.  The first shot he was laughing and when he shot him at close range he was also laughing," said Jacko.

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. They did their job and we cannot question that," said DeRosier.

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.  Now of course we maintain that Woodrow Karey is an innocent man," said Karey.

But Harris's 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 Jacko.

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.  Our position is he's being penalized as if he's been convicted of something and he hasn't been convicted of anything.  So, I don't like the fact that my client is currently being deprived of his freedom," said Clemons.

Karey is being held in the Calcasieu Jail.

Normally a manslaughter conviction brings 0 to 40 years in prison, but DeRosier says because a firearm was used, if convicted, Karey faces a minimum of 20 years.

To hear more of our interviews with Pastor Harris's daughter and the attorneys look for our web extra at www.kplctv.com

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