ST. LOUIS - Viewers have asked why a St. Louis police officer doesn`t face stiffer criminal charges in the shooting death of his own colleague.
Defense attorney Paul E. Sims explained the burden of proof in the case of Officer Nathaniel Hendren.
Hendren faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the shooting death of fallen officer Katlyn Alix. A judge recently said he had a problem calling the fatal shooting an accident and that`s led viewers to wonder why these charges aren`t stronger.
Defense Attorney Sims points out that the court record is very specific, that the officers were playing with a gun. He explained, “There was no allegation that there was any anger involved and I don`t think that they can say or there would be a more difficult task for the state to prove that he intended to kill her or intended to do bodily harm.”
Katlyn Alix died January 25th after being shot in a duplex on Dover Place in South City. She was off duty there. Officer Nathaniel Hendren and his partner were on duty when they arrived during their shift to hang out. Though Sims says there may not be evidence of anger, the reported derelict behavior will make it easier to convince a jury the officer was reckless.
Sims said, “The first thing they teach you in handling firearms, you always treat a firearm as if it`s loaded. It`s going to be hard to convince them that this was not a reckless thing especially with (the officer’s) training and background.” He added, “No matter the outcome, two lives have been ruined. One has been taken and another guy’s life will never be the same.”
Sims said it`s tough to predict what a jury will do, but he said if prosecutors can prove 'recklessness' they should get an involuntary manslaughter conviction.
March 4th is the next scheduled court date.