District Attorney Concludes Charges Are Not Supportable in Dimond Mall Shooting Death
August 26, 2005
(Anchorage) - Today representatives from the Anchorage District Attorney's Office and the Anchorage Police Department announced that charges will not be filed in the death of fourteen year old Calil Gross-Mininall at the Dimond Mall on March 1, 2005.
The evidence collected by the Anchorage Police Department showed that a group of three young men and the victim, Gross-Mininall, left the Dimond Mall and went into the parking lot at about 5:00 p.m. on March 1. Gross-Mininall was armed with a handgun. One of the group of three men was also armed with a handgun. There was an exchange of gunfire in which Gross-Mininall was killed by a bullet fired by one of the group of three. One of the men in the group of three suffered a leg injury caused by a bullet fired by Gross-Mininall.
When there is an exchange of gunfire between two sides, it is difficult to prove which side fired first. It was more difficult in this case, because the only statements came from one of the two sides. The statements from that side were that Gross-Mininall fired first. Furthermore, the statements of the other three young men differed as to who on their side did the shooting. There were no other eyewitnesses or physical evidence to prove which of the three fired the shot that killed Gross-Mininall.
The law requires the prosecution to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. On this evidence, the prosecution cannot disprove that the group of three were not entitled to defend themselves from the gunfire of Gross-Mininall. Even if the prosecution could overcome self-defense, the evidence does not show who fired the shot that killed Gross-Mininall.
A claim of self-defense cannot be used when a party claiming this defense is engaged in a felony involving one or more persons. This is called the "gang" exception to self-defense. But there was no evidence that the person who shot Gross-Mininall was affiliated with a gang. In fact, the evidence showed that Gross-Mininall was affiliated with a gang. So the "gang" exception does not apply to this case.
Earlier in the week detectives from APD and lawyers from the District Attorney's Office met with Gross-Mininall's mother to explain their decision. "Our hearts go out to Calil's mother, said Linton. "Sometimes the facts surrounding the death of someone make prosecuting a case unfeasible. If, however, new evidence or witnesses are discovered that add to our understanding of this matter, we will consider whether to go forward with criminal charges."
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