By Andria Simmons
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
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Voluntary manslaughter: Judge notes accused attacker had been told his daughter had been moelsted by victim.
John Steakley's Note:
Mr. Hayes was charged with the beating death of Mr. Harrison, whom Mr. Hayes suspected of molesting his stepdaughter. The problem for the proseuctors - other than the obvious sympathy that a jury may have in a case like this - was that Mr. Harrison was transported to a hospital, examined, and RELEASED between the beating and his death. The hospital failed to notice that Mr. Harrison was a lifelong alcoholic susceptible to hemorrhaging. Sadly, Mr. Harrison was found dead the next day from a cerebral hemorrhage. The prosecutors blamed the hemorrhage on Mr. Hayes, but it was just as likely that Mr. Harrison had fallen, hit his head, and died from the fall. Even if Mr. Hayes was the cause of the injury, had the hospital noticed Mr. Harrison's vulnerability to hemorrhages and kept him for observation, he likely would have survived. In an additional twist, Mr. Harrison didn't know who beat him. He initially named his neighbor, Clyde, as the attacker. The prosecutors had started building a case against Clyde for murder before turning their attention to Mr. Hayes. When Mr. Hayes was arrested, he very wisely refused to answer any questions before consulting with an attorney, so he never admitted even being at the scene. We resolved the case with a plea to manslaughter, which does not carry the mandatory life sentence like murder or felony murder. Mr. Hayes will be eligible for parole soon.