WASHINGTON COUNTY A Burleson County Grand Jury declined to indict the man who shot and killed a Burleson County Sheriff's Deputy who was serving a search warrant in December.
Investigators were executing a search warrant at Henry McGee's mobile home near Snook when the shooting happened.
News 3 takes a look at why deputies had targeted McGee's home.
28-year-old Henry Magee is no longer charged in the shooting death of Burleson County Sheriff's Deputy Adam Sowders.
A grand jury decided there wasn't enough evidence for him to stand trial on the capital murder charge.
McGee admitted to shooting Sowders before sunrise on December 19th while the deputy and other investigators were serving a no knock search warrant for drugs at McGee's mobile home near Snook.
Magee's Defense Attorney Dick DeGuerin says his client thought someone was breaking into his home and fired to protect his pregnant girlfriend and himself.
"Well we feel that the grand jury acted fairly and reasonably and had all of the information that it needed to make the decision that it did. That is that this was a justified shooting and, but we need to say that this is a tragedy," Dick DeGuerin said.
The SWAT Team found less than five pounds of marijuana plants growing inside and the grand jury indicted him for possession of marijuana while in possession of a deadly weapon.
"It need not have happened. They could have walked up to his house in the daylight and he would have let him in or they could have stopped him as he left his house to go to the store," said DeGuerin.
Our attempts to reach Sheriff Dale Stroud were unsuccessful.
The District Attorney's office released a statement saying,
"The Burleson County Sheriff's Office would not have been there that day if Mr. Magee had not decided to live a lifestyle of doing and producing illegal drugs in his home. Therefore, we will fully prosecute the drug charges against him."
Sowders had recently been promoted and had requested the search warrant after a tip from an informant.
Burleson County District Attorney Julie Renken wouldn't say if she'll present the case again to a different grand jury.
Magee remains in jail on felony drug charges.
His bond has been lowered to $50,000.
A Somerville man, charged with Capital Murder in the shooting death of a Burleson County Sheriff's Deputy, has been no-billed by a Grand Jury.
28-year-old Henry Magee was charged with Capital Murder, but Magee's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, confirmed to News 3 Thursday morning that the charge is being dropped.
Magee was indicted for Possession of Marijuana by the same grand jury. He is now waiting on bond to be set at the Washington County Jail.
Magee was accused of shooting and killing Burleson County Sheriff's Deputy Adam Sowders in a "no-knock" raid on Decemeber 19, 2013. Information released January 14th on the raid near Somerville, revealed what deputies were searching for inside Magee's mobile home.
In the process of executing that search warrant, Sowders was shot and killed. The Burleson County Sheriff's Office says the search warrant was issued after an informant claimed Magee had stolen guns and illegal drugs inside his mobile home. The informant had been arrested days earlier, but said he had been in Magee's home as recently as the day of his arrest and saw the drugs.
On December 13th, court documents show an informant told a Burleson County Sheriff's investigator he saw 12 to 15 marijuana plants growing inside Henry Magee's home on County Road 278 near Somerville.
According to the informant, Magee was a known dealer who had grown drugs in his home and, quote, "supplies numerous people around the Snook area with marijuana." The informant also claimed he saw rifles, along with a handgun that had "Washington County Sheriff's Office" etched on top, possibly a weapon stolen in a home burglary months earlier.
Deputy Adam Sowders filed for a search warrant, and requested to enter Magee's home without knocking or announcing law enforcement's presence. He gave multiple reasons based on what the informant had told investigators, including the fact that Magee had been overheard saying he wasn't afraid to use his weapons, he may have an aggressive dog, and that Magee could potentially destroy the drugs.
Sowders said he thought giving Magee notice would be, quote, "dangerous, futile, or would inhibit the effective investigation." A Burleson County Judge approved the warrant on December 18, 2013, and in the early morning hours of December 19, a SWAT team made the entry into Magee's home.
The court documents say quote, "By Magee's own admission he heard and observed the entry made by the SWAT team."
Deputy Adam Sowders was shot and killed.
Magee's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, has said Magee fired shots in an effort to defend himself, his pregnant girlfriend and his property from unknown intruders.
Texas Rangers were called in to collect evidence. Inside Magee's home, they say they found a sophisticated marijuana grow operation and several firearms.
DeGuerin has said all weapons found were legally owned.
Press Release from the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office
On February 5, 2014, the 21st Judicial District Grand Jury returned a No Bill on Capital Murder charges against Henry Goedrick Magee, II, who was the individual who shot and killed Investigator Sergeant Adam Sowders on December 19, 2013 in Burleson County, Texas. Sergeant Sowders was a member of the Burleson County SWAT team that executed a “no-knock” search warrant on Magee’s residence. The Grand Jury did, however, return an indictment for “Possession of Marijuana more than 4 oz. but less than 5 lbs.” while in possession of a deadly weapon, a third degree felony. A third degree felony has a range of punishment for 2-10 years.
Statement from Julie Renken, 21st Judicial District Attorney:
“December 19, 2013 was a tragic day for the Sowders’ family and Burleson County, Texas. Investigator Sergeant Adam Sowders was a law enforcement officer who was passionate about serving his community. He was generous, respectful and admired in Burleson County and by our office.”
“The events on December 19, 2013 are tragic. In my opinion, the Burleson County Sheriff’s Office did nothing illegal by securing and executing a “no knock” search warrant that day. I believe the evidence also shows that an announcement was made. However, there is not enough evidence that Mr. Magee knew that day that Peace Officers were entering his home. The events occurred in a matter of seconds amongst chaos. The self-defense laws in Texas are viewed in the mindset of the actor, not the victim, which allows for tragedies to occur when one party is acting lawfully, but it can be reasonably seen as a threat of deadly force by another. However, the Burleson County Sheriff’s Office would not have been there that day if Mr. Magee had not decided to live a lifestyle of doing and producing illegal drugs in his home. Therefore, we will fully prosecute the drug charges against him. This event should wake the community up that drug crimes are not victimless.”