Suspect Charged In The “Murder” Of His Accomplice By A Homeowner

There is a controversial criminal case out of Danville, Illinois this month where Reggie Haywood, 30, has been charged with first-degree murder stemming from a house invasion. The charge is not strange but the underlying facts are. The person “murdered” was the alleged accomplice of Haywood and he was shot not be Haywood but the homeowner.

The home invasion occurred on January 19 when a group of men broke into the house wearing ski masks and carrying guns. The homeowner resisted and fired multiple shots at the intruders. He hit and killed Jordan Valdez-Parrish, 29.

Police arrested Haywood and charged him with first degree murder, home invasion, and armed robbery.

Here is the provision:

§ 9-1.  First degree murder;  death penalties;  exceptions;  separate hearings;  proof;  findings;  appellate procedures;  reversals.  

(a) A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits first degree murder if, in performing the acts which cause the death:

(1) he either intends to kill or do great bodily harm to that individual or another, or knows that such acts will cause death to that individual or another;  or

(2) he knows that such acts create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to that individual or another;  or

(3) he is attempting or committing a forcible felony other than second degree murder.

It is not common for felons to be charged with felony murder when a person is killed in the course of the crime but that person is usually a victim not an accomplice. In reality, Valdez-Parrish was not “murdered.” He was slain in the course of a crime with justification. Yet, we have seen the continued expansion of the scope of murder charges. That has led to concern over the loss of definition in this once narrow crime.

What do you think?

42 thoughts on “Suspect Charged In The “Murder” Of His Accomplice By A Homeowner”

  1. How could it be permissible for Mr. Haywood to answer for the actions of anyone else: including the home owner? How could any of us, for that matter? Conversely, each individual member of a group acting illegally can and should be held accountable for the actions of the group (i.e.: the get-away car driver mentioned elsewhere in the thread).

    In point of fact, and by definition, the homeowner was not in the group of invaders. Therefore his actions are entirely separate and distinct from Mr. Haywood’s et. al. Indeed, his actions were entirely legal, assuming a Castle Doctrine or equivalent. So, again, how can the actions (lawful, in this case) of one person form the basis for charging someone else for criminal conduct?

    That seems very clear to me, but I don’t have years of law school education to muddle my thinking ability (kidding–levity makes the world go ’round).

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