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Texas Deputy Killed in Dawn No-Knock Drug Raid

Adam SowdersA Burleson County sheriff’s deputy leading a dawn, no-knock drug raid was shot and killed by the homeowner last Thursday. Sgt. Adam Sowders becomes the 40th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

Although Sowders was killed early last Thursday morning, we delayed reporting the story because the sheriff’s department refused for several days to release search warrant information that would have verified it was indeed a drug-related search warrant.

According to the Bryan-College Station Eagle, Sowders had obtained a search warrant for the residence after obtaining information that the homeowner was growing marijuana and possibly had stolen guns. The warrant was a “no-knock” warrant, meaning police could forcibly enter the residence without giving residents a chance to respond.

Sowders, the first officer through the door, was shot and killed by homeowner Henry Goedrich Magee, 28, who has now been charged with capital murder. But Magee’s attorney, famed Houston defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin, said Magee and his pregnant girlfriend were sleeping in the home when they heard “explosives” going off and loud pounding at the door. Moments later, the door burst open and a person Magee couldn’t identify entered the residence. Magee grabbed a rifle leaning against his bedroom door frame and shot Sowders. According to DeGuerin, Magee shot him because he “believed the man rushing in was an intruder and he needed to defend himself.”

Magee has a felony and a misdemeanor drug conviction, but DeGuerin said all investigators found inside the trailer were a few marijuana plants and four guns that were all legal. DeGuerin pointed at the no-knock warrant as a contributing factor in Sowder’s death.

“The danger is that if you’re sitting in your home and it’s pitch black outside and your door gets busted in without warning, what the hell are you supposed to do?” DeGuerin said.

via StoptheDrugWar.org

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 28 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas and serves as Deputy Director for NORML of Waco. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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  1. tophtml
    January 1, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Expanded news coverage by the Western Center For Journalism* states the following:

    “The “no-knock” warrant was issued at the request of Deputy Sowders who was proceeding according to information provided by an investigator who told the officer that Magee “…was growing marijuana and possibly had stolen guns, as well as other drugs inside his home.” According to Magee’s attorney, Dick Deguerin, four weapons were recovered by police; 3 legally owned by Magee, one legally owned by Magee’s mother. Also according to Deguerin, the only drugs found in the home consisted of a small number of marijuana plants, constituting “…a misdemeanor amount.””

    No doubt that this case will fuel the fires of the “No-Knock” warrant controversy, however it is the prosecution that must prove that the actions of the elements of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt” and “Capital Murder, the offense alleged, may be an over-reach by prosecutors.

    Sec. 19.03. CAPITAL MURDER. (a) A person commits an offense if he commits murder as defined under Section 19.02(b)(1) and:

    (1) the person murders a peace officer or fireman who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer or fireman;

    The section under which Henry Goedrich Magee stands accused requires his knowledge that the Deputy, Sgt. Adam Sowders, was a peace officer “acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty” at the time he shot the deputy. Conveniently, for the State, nobody on the invading SWAT team was wearing body cameras and, allegedly, there was no video recording of the encounter. However, Magee reports that explosives (flash bangs) were deployed and detonated within his home at the time of entry and this, along with the ensuing pandemonium, will raise “reasonable doubt” that Magee knew the individuals entering his house were peace officers at the time he fired his weapon. This knowledge is a requisite element of the crime alleged. This positive identification is further complicated by the prevailing lighting conditions and even whether or not Sgt. Sowders was wearing a regular uniform which clearly identified him as a peace officer.

    It seems that the failure of prosecutors to further charge Magee with Section 19.02 (b)(3), a homicide committed in furtherance of a felony, is a strong indication that Magee was not in the commission of a felony at the time he shot Sowders.

    Based on the current knowledge, the only reason to take this to trial is politics. Texas is a “Stand-Your-Ground” state.

    * http://www.westernjournalism.com/swat-team-deputy-killed-serving-knock-warrant/?utm_source=wysija&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewMainEmail

  2. Helen
    January 15, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    He has no felonies! All guns found were registered & EVERY last piece of information the informant gave the police was WRONG! He never meant to kill a cop, he meant to shoot an unidentifible intruder that broke into his home!