Dallas Man Faces Homicide Charges for Failing to Help Friends

Although many Texans might automatically link the word "homicide" with the extreme murder cases, it refers to a number of different crimes under Texas law. One of these, criminally negligent homicide, occurs in some surprising circumstances. As a result, many Texans have found themselves facing high-profile homicide cases - even when they did not intend to hurt another person.

One of these cases is currently unfolding in Dallas. Prosecutors charged a 22-year-old man from Grapevine with criminally negligent homicide after two of his friends died from apparent drug overdoses. Like all violent crimes, negligent homicide charges carry severe consequences for convicted defendants.

To convict this defendant, the prosecution will have to show that he acted with criminal negligence. This standard requires a showing of an obvious and serious risk - a big enough risk that to ignore it constitutes "gross" misconduct. In this case, the government claims that the defendant did numerous drugs with two friends and found them unresponsive later that night. Instead of calling for help, he moved them into another room, perhaps planning to let them sleep off the drugs.

A Grapevine police spokesman summed the case up like this: "Any reasonable person, had they found somebody in that condition, would call 911 and try to get some medical aid to that individual."

Source: Dallas Morning News, "Grapevine man faces charges in suspected overdose deaths of teens," Tanya Eiserer and Sarah Mervosh, Jan. 6, 2013

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