A Zachary homeowner accused of fatally shooting a fleeing 15-year-old burglar two years ago and dragging his body into another yard is now under indictment for second-degree murder.
Terry L. Flanagan, 60, was not justified in using deadly force against Chadarion Brooks Spurlock, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Friday.
Flanagan, a convicted felon, allegedly caught Spurlock and two other boys burglarizing his Willow Creek Drive home on Oct. 21, 2017.
Spurlock, a Zachary High School ninth-grader, jumped out of a window and landed in the yard, where Flanagan shot him once in his side and then again after Spurlock had fallen to the ground, Zachary Police Chief David McDavid said at the time. Flanagan then dragged the boy's body into another nearby yard, the police chief said.
McDavid said investigators did not believe Flanagan’s life was in danger during the burglary and that he had “ample opportunity” to call police instead of taking action against the intruders himself. The burglars were not armed during the incident, he added.
Under Louisiana law, a homicide is justifiable if someone “reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm.”
The state’s “stand your ground” law also allows killing to prevent an intruder from entering a building or vehicle if the occupant “reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the entry or to compel the intruder to leave.”
“In this case it is alleged that the unarmed 15-year-old victim was fleeing from Mr. Flanagan’s residence through a window and shot as he was jumping out of the window,” Moore said. “Therefore it is alleged that it was not necessary for Mr. Flanagan to use deadly force to prevent his entry into his residence or compel him to leave.”
An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury indicted Flanagan on Thursday. Moore said the investigation into the fatal shooting took longer due to the surrounding circumstances and individuals involved in the case.
“Based on our review of this case we believe that the homicide was not justified under Louisiana law and Mr. Flanagan did not have the right to `stand his ground’ given the victim was fleeing from his home,” the district attorney added.
Spurlock’s aunt, Lashonda Brooks, has said Flanagan “didn’t have the right to take the law into your own hands.”
Flanagan, who remains in custody, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.
His attorney, Carson Marcantel, declined to comment specifically on the indictment but did say, “We look forward to presenting our case in court.”
Flanagan was previously sentenced to life in prison under the habitual offender statute for past convictions, but was released on parole in February 2016. Flanagan was in and out of prison between 1978 and 1998 on separate convictions for attempted armed robbery, distribution of cocaine, simple criminal damage to property and simple burglary.
The burglary that ended with the shooting death of Spurlock helped authorities uncover a “mini crime spree” that had plagued the otherwise quiet community, McDavid has said.
The two other teens who were with Spurlock that ill-fated day — his cousin Melvin Brooks, now 20, and Dwighttess Thomas, now 21 — have pending simple burglary charges in the 19th Judicial District Court.
Melvin Brooks and Thomas had burglarized Flanagan’s home earlier on Oct. 21, 2017, and later called Spurlock and picked him up before returning with him to the same residence to break in again, authorities have said.