HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - All of the charges have been dismissed against a Saucier man accused of killing his toddler while firing multiple shots at another man in self defense.
Billy Jack Roberts walked out of Harrison County Jail on Monday after a grand jury determined there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him in the shooting deaths of his two-year-old son and David Garcia.
According to Roberts’ attorney, Michael Crosby, Roberts was trying to defend himself which led to the shooting death of David Garcia and Roberts’ son.
“Unfortunately the deceased kicked the door down and came in the room ready to cause serious bodily injury to my client, who had just gotten his nose broken when he was trying to restrain and subdue the assailant,” Crosby said. “We know there is no way on the face of the earth my client would intend to shoot his own son, but that’s what happened as a result of the struggle and the fight that ensued in his own bedroom.”
Roberts was initially charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of murder after reportedly telling police that he shot Garcia multiple times in self-defense. One of those shots went through Garcia and struck Roberts’ two-year-old son, said authorities. Roberts said he didn’t know his son was in the room when he fired the fatal shots.
A grand jury entered a no true bill in the case on Monday, dismissing all of the charges against Roberts. Roberts, who has been held on a $1.5 million bond since Feb. 9, 2019, was released from jail once the no true bill was entered.
On Tuesday Crosby took objection to Roberts’ bond being set so high.
“If a person has to spend all of their resources and assets in borrowing to put towards the bond, then there’s nothing to defend the case with, and I think that puts a person at an enormous disadvantage,” Crosby said.
At a hearing held two weeks after the shooting, Roberts told the court he feared for his safety after Garcia attacked him. The two men were fighting over the infant child of Garcia.
According to Sheriff Peterson, the two men were boyfriends of the two women who lived in the home on Riceville Road where the shooting took place.
Roberts said he went to his bedroom while Garcia banged on the locked door yelling that he was going to kill him. Shortly after, Roberts said Garcia broke down the bedroom door, which is when Roberts said he shot him.
Authorities say a total of ten shots were fired by Roberts. The first three shots hit Garcia in his hand in what appeared to be self-defense, according to court testimony. The fourth shot went through Garcia’s abdomen and struck the toddler.
According to the report, Roberts told deputies he did not realize that his son was standing on the bed or that the child had been shot. Roberts then shot Garcia six more times to make sure he was dead.
A no true bill is entered when a grand jury decides that there is not enough probable cause to determine that a crime has been committed by the accused person.