Man Avoids Charges After Fatally Shooting Elderly Man With Alzheimer’s
A man who fatally shot an elderly Alzheimer’s patient will not face any criminal charges for his actions. Georgia native Joe Hendrix, 35, shot and killed 72-year-old Ronald Westbrook last November after he entered the home of his fiancee and believed he was a robber. Hendrix has openly regretted killing Westbrook, but has insisted that he acted in self-defense.
Hendrix reportedly yelled at Westbrook to stop, but the elderly man made no verbal response advanced towards him in a “quick and aggressive manner.” Once he got within striking distance, he pulled out his gun and fired four shots before killing the Alzheimer’s patient. But because of a Georgia state law that allows homeowners to use deadly force if they believe their lives are in danger, Hendrix will walk away without charges to his name.
“In Georgia, the prosecution bears the burden of disproving a self defense claim beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Walker County District Attorney Herbert Franklin. “After looking at the facts from Hendrix’ perspective, it would be impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hendrix did not reasonably act in self defense.”
Tragically, unnecessary fatal shootings involving home intruders have become far too common lately. Last year, Theodore Wafer shot and killed a 19-year-old girl seeking help after a car accident. Outrage was sparked after it was initially believed that Wafer would escape any criminal prosecution, but he was ultimately charged with murder.