DALLAS (AP) — A Central Texas man accused of capital murder for killing a sheriff's deputy thought someone was breaking into his home when he grabbed his rifle and opened fire, the suspect's attorney said Monday.
Henry Goedrich Magee gunned down Sgt. Adam Sowders on Thursday while Sowders and other investigators executed a search warrant, the Burleson County Sheriff's Office said. A district attorney described the warrant as being drug-related.
But Magee's attorney, Dick DeGuerin of Houston, called the fatal shooting a tragic accident. He said Magee was asleep and didn't know sheriff's deputies were entering his rural home near Somerville, about 90 miles northwest of Houston.
"Hank, like any homeowner, defended himself and his pregnant girlfriend," DeGuerin said Monday.
DeGuerin said sheriff's deputies did not knock on the door or announce who they were when they entered the home just before 6 a.m. Thursday.
"This is something that could have happened to anyone protecting their home at night," he said.
Christine Labertew, spokeswoman for the Burleson County Sheriff's Office, said Monday she did not know if or how deputies announced their entrance into the home. She said they were not wearing body cameras during the incident.
Labertew also did not know if dashboard camera video from their vehicles was available.
Julie Renken, the district attorney for Burleson County, said she could not respond to DeGuerin's allegations about the deputies due to the ongoing investigation.
"I would just keep in mind that he's getting all of his facts from his client," Renken said.
The Burleson County Sheriff's Office said Monday that investigators recovered the semi-automatic rifle used in the deputy's shooting death.
DeGuerin said authorities left a copy of the search warrant at Magee's home, as required by law. He said his client had two marijuana plants and several seedlings in his home for "personal use," along with the rifle used in the shooting and several other guns, which the attorney said were all owned legally.
"This deputy died over that," DeGuerin said, adding that Magee's family knew Sowders and they were "devastated that this deputy was killed."
Renken said the search warrant being executed Thursday was related to drugs, but said she could not comment on the warrant until it was officially filed in court records, which could be later this week. Labertew declined to comment on the warrant, and the Burleson County district clerk's office did not have a copy Monday morning.
Magee is being held in the jail in neighboring Washington County. Renken said she expected to seek an indictment against him in the next 90 days.
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