Criminal Justice

Justice of Peace Apologizes in Newspaper Ad for Harsh Words re Dead Suspect in Texas Shooting Spree


A justice of the peace who was quoted in a local newspaper disparaging the body of a dead suspect in a Texas shooting spree has taken out an ad in the same paper and apologized.

In the ad, Brazos County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Michael McCleary said he had apologized personally to the mother and stepfather of suspect Thomas Alton Caffall III, 35. He also said his “harshly spoken words” quoted in the Aug. 15 newspaper article were spoken out of “anger, grief and frustration,” reports the Bryan-College Station Eagle. It is the same newspaper that published the comment by McCleary that is at issue.

Caffall reportedly shot and killed a constable who was trying to serve an eviction notice, as well as a College Station resident, and injured several others. He himself was also shot and killed during the Aug. 13 incident.

Explaining why “family” were the only ones authorized to pick up Caffall’s remains, Cleary had told the newspaper: “I’m not going to let the county be out the expense of going and picking up his nasty-ass body. If it cost us $200 to go pick him up, I’m not going to pay for it. The family can take care of that. I have no sympathy for him or the family.”

The shooting spree ignited discussion nationwide of the dangers of serving eviction notices and other court process. Even a jury summons reportedly can elicit an explosive reaction.

Hat tip: Houston Chronicle.

Related coverage:

The Eagle: “Police: Bachmann may have been shot before reaching door”

Houston Chronicle: “Eviction’s deadly turn no surprise to law officers”

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