DA: Man was ‘justified in using deadly force’

February 8, 2014

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Thomas Lynn Scrimshire, 56, accused of murder in last month’s shooting death of his stepson, was no-billed by the grand jury on Wednesday.

Scrimshire, a deCordova resident, was released from jail late Wednesday afternoon and will not go to trial, District Attorney Rob Christian said.

Christian explained that the investigation by the Sheriff’s Office and two Texas Rangers revealed that Scrimshire “was justified in using deadly force” when he shot his 39-year-old stepson Michael Brian Hampton of Crowley with a handgun after Hampton entered his stepfather’s home and kicked in the door to the bedroom following an earlier disturbance between the two.

“The fact that the suspect, Scrimshire, was in his residence behind his locked door would have made it impossible for the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not justified in shooting his stepson,” Christian told the Hood County News late Thursday afternoon.

Little information surrounding the shooting was released by the Sheriff’s Office in the aftermath of the shooting. Officials provided a news release that stated Hampton was found dead when deputies responded to Scrimshire’s home in deCordova in response to a 911 call reporting a shooting at the residence, and that Scrimshire was in the Hood County Jail charged with murder.

Christian said that the law concerning self defense in a situation when someone breaks into a home has been around for years.

“It’s either murder or it’s justified,” Christian said. “This law is nothing new.

“This has been the law for a long time. You don’t have a duty to retreat inside your home.”

THE DISTURBANCE

On the evening of Saturday, Jan. 11, several people were gathered at the home of Scrimshire and his wife to watch a football game on television.

Some of the adults were drinking alcohol leading up to an allegation that led to a 911 disturbance call from the address at 11:20 p.m., according to Christian.

“People at the house accused Scrimshire of pinching a teen girl on the butt,” Christian said. “That led to a disturbance, and deputies were called. Authorities determined that no sexual offense had been committed or even alleged, and they separated the parties.”

The deputies dispatched to the home for that incident advised Hampton to sleep there overnight in the RV he had driven in from Crowley, Christian said.

When Hampton entered the Scrimshire home and broke into the bedroom after midnight, Scrimshire used a five-shot .38 revolver to shoot him once in the shoulder and once in the abdomen before Hampton spun around and took the third shot in the back.

Hampton tried to leave the residence, investigators found, but finally collapsed in a doorway leading outside.

“Scrimshire then left and went to another residence, where 911 was called,” Christian said, explaining that Scrimshire’s cell phone had been broken during the initial altercation with Hampton.

Christian said that shoe impressions were found on the bedroom door indicating that it had been kicked in.

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