WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man was convicted on all charges in the death of his 12-year-old daughter, who was shot by a constable serving eviction papers.
Jurors in Lycoming County deliberated for about 2½ hours Friday before convicting 60-year-old Donald Meyer Jr., of Duncannon, of third-degree murder, aggravated assault and other counts.
Perry County authorities said he pointed a loaded rifle at the constable, who fired a shot that went through Meyer’s arm and killed Ciara Meyer in January 2016.
District Attorney Andrew Bender told jurors in final arguments that Meyer didn’t pull the trigger but was responsible. “Parents are supposed to protect their children. Not put them in harm’s way,” he said, according to PennLive.com.
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Property manager Ashley Hill, who recorded the confrontation with her cellphone from about 20 feet away, testified that the girl stepped up behind her father.
“Ciara kept saying, ‘Dad, stop. Dad, stop,'” Hill recalled, dabbing tears from her eyes. She said the defendant had many anti-government views and “thought everyone was against him.”
Defense attorney Jerry Philpott argued that Meyer feared his home was “being invaded” and picked up a gun he had been cleaning to try to protect the residence. Meyer blamed the constable for his daughter’s death.
Meyer, in a wheelchair recovering from a stroke, criticized his court-appointed attorneys after the verdict, saying jurors didn’t hear other witnesses he had. Philpott declined comment. Meyer was the only defense witness and testified against the advice of his attorneys.
Family members said they were relieved by the outcome of the trial, which was held in Lycoming County.
“We still talk about her today, every day actually, and this is a good day for her,” said Jason Gehman, Ciara’s uncle.
Meyer, who still faces firearms-related charges, remains in custody without bail pending sentencing, which hasn’t yet been scheduled.