Why Are the Detroit Police Charging Antwan Hall With Felony Murder?

Last week, Edward Bell fired his handgun twice. Both bullets missed their target. The second projectile went through the living room wall of a nearby house, where it hit and killed Geraldine Jackson, 69. So who is Antwan Hall and why is he charged with murder? Hall was the object of Bell’s ballistic ire. And for good reason. “Authorities say [Antwan] Hall allegedly spoke briefly to Edward Bell, 65, about 1:45 p.m. May 12 before pulling and ordering Bell into the basement of a house in the 18300 block of Evergreen,” the Detroit Free Press reports. “Bell was ordered at gunpoint to lie on the basement floor where the defendant took his wallet, keys and cell phone before trying to flee in Bell’s GMC Suburban . . .

Emerging from the house, Bell went to the street, saw the man in his car, and drew a handgun and fired, striking the vehicle. Hall crashed into a tree, bailed out of the vehicle, dropped his handgun and fled on foot, according to investigators. As Hall ran west at Pickford and Vaughn, Bell fired again, the bullet entering Jackson’s home in the 18400 block of Vaughn and struck Jackson.” Police department spokesman John Roach almost explained: “People get charged for murder even if they’re not the ones who pulled the trigger.”

Yes, well, two days later, the Freep returned the metaphorical scene of the crime with some critical info:

Jim Watson, who teaches classes for carrying concealed weapons at Target Sports in Royal Oak and Orchard Lake, said the 65-year-old carjacking victim was blatantly wrong if he was chasing the alleged 19-year-old robber down Pickford Street in Detroit when he fired the gun.

Watson said he teaches his students they are only to shoot if their life or the life of another is in imminent danger of death, great bodily harm or sexual assault.

“I tell students they’re not the police, and you don’t chase people because it’s hard to say you’re in imminent danger if you’re chasing them,” Watson said Friday.

Case open? Hardly.

Troy lawyer and former federal prosecutor John Freeman, who specializes in self-defense cases involving gun owners, said the man who killed Jackson may be able to defend himself in court if he solely shot at the 19-year-old as the teen got out of the stolen SUV.

“It is certainly possible that that person, upon seeing that person coming out of the vehicle, needed to use deadly force,” Freeman said. “Potentially, you’re the sole eyewitness. All of a sudden you’re in a self-defense situation.”

Freeman said ultimately, liability rests with the carjacker.

“What’s important to remember is who started that chain of events — and it was not the person who was lawfully in possession of the gun,” he said. “Essentially, that person’s victimized twice.”

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