In a special called meeting Thursday, a Hopkins County Grand Jury refused to indict 30-year-old Clint Weldon Wilson on first-degree murder charges in connection with the Dec. 6, 2011, death of Justin Daniel Pawlik.
District Attorney Martin Braddy said he called the special grand jury session after receiving the final autopsy results on Pawlik. Those findings, along with other information gathered in the investigation was presented to the grand jury.
The grand jury’s finding, Braddy said, was based on the penal code.
“The particular circumstance of this case involved the 'stand your ground' and 'Castle Doctrine self defense' law that Texas passed in 2007,” Braddy said Friday morning. “The grand jury — and rightfully so — had no other choice under the law but to no-bill him for the murder.”
Police were called to Wilson’s residence in the 200 block of Bill Bradford after 10 p.m. Tuesday, ; Dec. 6. Two people found Pawlik’s dead body in the road a block away. He had knife wounds to his throat and chest and other injuries on his hands. Pawlik's former girlfriend and Wilson were at Wilson’s residence and had both sustained lacerations.
The district attorney said there were clear facts in the case that could not be disputed.
“Mr. Pawlik made a phone call as he was going to Mr. Wilson's house and threatened him with harm and threatened to use a knife to do harm to [Wilson],” Braddy explained. “This particular set of facts indicates to me and, I think, any reasonable and rational person, that the law is going to result in a pretty severe injustice.”
While Braddy said he feels the death was “a really terrible thing, morally wrong, ethically wrong thing,” he is also of the opinion that “the law pretty much allows for it, so it's not illegal.”
“Under Texas law, Wilson was justified in killing him, and that's unfortunate,” he said. “I think there ought to be some changes to the way that law is worded so that it can achieve the actual desired result as opposed to some absurd results and injustices, and this is one of those cases.”
Although the grand jury refused to render an indictment on the murder charge, it did return an indictment for a third-degree felony offense.
“The grand jury chose to render an indictment for tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony,” the district attorney said. “Whether or not we are going to successfully go forward with that or not, I really can't comment on right now.”
He said that decision will rest largely on whether or not there is some type of justification or explanation that applies in the case, “and there are many of those legal justifications in the penal code as well as in some court decisions,” Braddy said.
The district attorney also said he did not know when or if his office would prosecute Wilson on the indictment because Wilson has been in custody since the murder on a parole violation. Any action would depend on decisions made by the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles in Austin.
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