When the District Attorney wants to be a di***.

Why are all Self Defense laws so important? When the prosecutor is an asshole.

The 13 bullets that riddled the pickup of a Yoakum man initially charged with murder were powerful evidence of self-defense for grand jurors, a district attorney said.
“That kinda clinched it,” said District Attorney Rob Lassmann, who serves DeWitt, Goliad and Refugio counties.
After reviewing the case’s evidence, grand jurors chose to clear Hallettsville resident Dakota Wayne Kirkman, 19, of all criminal charges during a specially convened session Oct. 11, Lassmann said.

Kirkman was held at the DeWitt County Jail on a murder charge after an August shootout in which he shot and killed Manuel Martinez III, 36, at his home on Bootlegger Lane near Yoakum. Kirkman was imprisoned for 55 days in lieu of a $500,000 bond.
Lassmann said his office prepared indictments for both manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and murder, a first-degree felony. Grand jurors were free to pick an appropriate charge – or clear the man completely.

Prosecutor: 13 bullet holes showed self-defense for man cleared of murder charge

Mr. Kirkman gets a barrage of fire directed at him and he responded. According with the article, this is the evidence:

Investigators documented 11 bullet holes made by a .223-caliber rifle and two from a .40-caliber pistol. An AR-15 and .40-caliber pistol were found near Martinez’s body along with 15 rifle and 12 pistol casings. One of the bullets passed through the truck’s frame near the driver’s seat belt fastener, said Lassmann, who added if Kirkman had not been crouching in his seat, he likely would have been shot.

So what kind of return fire did Mr. Kirkman use?

The number of bullets fired by Martinez stood in stark contrast to the single, fatal shot from Kirkman’s antique, bolt-action .22-caliber rifle. Additionally, evidence showed Kirkman went to the home on Bootlegger Lane with only a single round chambered in his rifle and no other ammo in his vehicle.

I tried to find everywhere mention of where was the gunshot wound that stopped Martinez but could not find it. Maybe an ocular shot lodging in the brain? Wherever it landed, it was a great shot placement and subject for discussion another day. What we can discuss is who in the heck thought it was a good idea to charge this man with murder. From what I read in other local papers, four different police agencies responded to the call but although the article says it was one of them who presented charges, I could not find which one.

It is bad enough that a LEO department decides to play the “Charge everybody, let the DA sort it out” game, but that the Prosecutor not only did not give a damn about the evidence, but it was preparing itself to go full Zimmerman on the guy? If 14 shots against you are not enough to respond with deadly force, how many does the Prosecutor feel must be the standard? 15? 25?

After seeing this, I have to conclude that they wanted this kid behind bars for reasons other that the shooting. I bet there is a much deeper story we have not been told and might include the possibly past encounters with the local law or even a slight to some local elected official.

Hat Tip Rob R.

7 Replies to “When the District Attorney wants to be a di***.”

  1. Regarding the Grand Jury’s decision to clear Mr Kirkman “ ‘I think they made the right decision,’ the district attorney said.”

    If that is true, why was he charged in the first place, and why was he held for nearly 2 months in lieu of $500,000 bond? This whole case stinks on ice. Fortunately Mr. Martinez was as poor a shot as Mr. Kirkman was good.

  2. This, in TEXAS?

    I’ve worked for a prosecutor who believed, even on a clear self-defense case, that it was up “up to the jury to make that call.” She took it to trial, and was relieved to have lost.

    No, it’s not their call. It’s yours, prosecutor. That’s what you’re hired for. You only take the case to prosecution if you are convinced of guilt. I initially thought this DA was attempting to make his liberal bona fides for a political run, but Yoakum Texas is in normal land, not the bizarro-world of Austin or a college town.

    I note that this is a “grand jury,” not a petit (or trial) jury. This is a probable cause determination. This is not a determination of guilt, just one of probable cause.

    You realize, of course, that prosecutors are all but immune from all liability, and hold hear absolute power. They are ripe for abuse, and it happens more often than one would think.

  3. If I’m reading this correctly, Kirkman went to Martinez’s house and killed Martinez. We don’t know why he went there, and we don’t know why Martinez opened fire on Kirkman first. But I can see how a prosecutor might say that was murder.

  4. I’m actually from Victoria. Hadn’t heard about this case but reading around, it appears there was a well known history of hostilities between the two men. Also alcohol was involved. It was 2 am. The young man fled the scene. Etc.

    I can see the DA sending this to the grand jury. That way he doesn’t take any heat or get accused of showing favoritism. I imagine both men had families in the area and this could simmer or escalate.

    As for sitting in jail for 2 months? Chances are no money or collateral to make bail. The guy is driving around in a $500 truck. No way he’s got bail money. I’ve known more than a few people who chose to spend a few months in jail rather than pay to get out. Welcome to BFE, Texas.

    1. I understand the need to investigate all aspects of this case, and perhaps in this state a Grand Jury is required for all homicides. My concern is that if the prosecutor really believed that the Grand Jury made the right decision i.e. that Mr. Kirkman was innocent, why insist on such high bail that he was forced to stay in jail until the Grand Jury met. Why even charge him prior to being indicted? Was the prosecutor just providing CYA by shifting the decision to the Grand Jury or is there something deeper going on? Either way the prosecutor screwed this guy royally when according to his own admission, he didn’t think the guy was guilty.

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