Melvin Harris, 40, has been charged with second-degree murder after Leon Armstrong was beaten to death in Phoenix, Ariz.
Harris attacked Armstrong on August 2 after the man allegedly tried to barge in on Harris’ 16-year-old daughter in a QuikTrip convenience store restroom
Prior to that, Harris had given Armstrong, a homeless man some money at the latter’s request
Harris later claimed that Armstrong had struck him first, and he denied kicking Armstrong on the ground
The victim was taken to the hospital with a broken nose and brain trauma – He died five days later
Harris has been charged with second-degree murder
Harris’ fiancée defended him, arguing that he was merely protecting their child
According to the Phoenix Police Department, on the night of August 2, Harris was picking up his 16-year-old daughter and her two friends from work when they asked him to stop off at the QuikTrip convenience store on 19th Avenue to buy soft drinks and use the restroom.
While he was waiting in the parking lot, Harris was approached by a man, later identified as Armstrong, who asked him for money.
Harris handed the panhandler some cash, and Armstrong went inside the store, reported ABC15.
When police tracked down Harris and questioned him, the man reportedly admitted to punching Armstrong, but insisted that the man had hit him in the neck first.
Harris also claimed he did not recall striking Armstrong as he lay on the ground.
Armstrong was taken to a hospital to be treated for brain swelling and a broke nose, but he died from his injuries five days later.
Harris’ fiancée, Diana Jackson, defended her partner in an interview with 3TV/CBS5, arguing that he was merely protecting their daughter.
‘I’m not mad at him, I don’t feel like he did anything wrong. I love him. He did what he was supposed to do for our kid. You cannot tell someone they’re wrong for protecting their children,’ Jackson told the station.
Jackson went so far as to say that she would have done the same as her fiance, but she conceded that she does feel bad that Armstrong ‘ended up dying in the process.’
Armstrong had a history of run-ins with the law related to shoplifting, trespassing and obstructing police, according to his criminal record.