A Michigan man is facing a felonious assault charge with a four-year maximum prison sentence after shooting an 84-year-old pro-life volunteer during a dispute at his home Sept. 20.
Richard Harvey, 74, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and careless discharge of a weapon causing injury or death, both felonies, as well as a misdemeanor charge of reckless use of a firearm, for allegedly shooting Right to Life Michigan volunteer Joan Jacobson, 84, during a dispute at his Odessa Township home, Michigan's WOOD TV 8 reported Friday.
According to the report, Jacobson went to the home around 1:30 p.m. Sept. 20 to get signatures for a petition opposing Proposal 3 in Michigan that would codify the right to an abortion in the state's constitution.
Harvey's wife Sharon called 911 complaining that Jacobson would not leave the property when she refused to sign the petition.
"Some lady over here wouldn't leave my property, and she should be arrested," Sharon Harvey said on a recording of the 911 call obtained by the news outlet. "She drove on my grass. She's trying to get me to sign a petition, and I won't do it. And I told her to get off my property, and she wouldn't go. My husband nicked her with a gun."
According to the report, Ionia County Prosecutor Kyle Butler said that Harvey heard a disagreement between his wife and Jacobson and fired "a warning shot" into a tree with a .22 caliber rifle when Jacobson refused to leave.
"There's allegedly requests by the homeowners, including the defendant, for the victim to leave the property," WOOD TV 8 reported the prosecutor telling the judge during Friday's arraignment. "When apparently the victim was not leaving the property either fast enough or at all, the defendant decided to fire what was characterized as a warning shot towards a tree on the property."
Butler said that the gun accidentally went off a second time when Harvey tried to use it to knock Jacobson's clipboard from her hand because she was "waving" it around and almost struck his wife.
"He (Richard Harvey) allegedly made a movement to knock the clipboard out of the way with that firearm, allegedly in order to keep the victim from hitting his wife with the clipboard," Butler told the court. "The firearm discharged into the clipboard, leaving what appears to be gunshot residue on the clipboard, indicating the firearm was discharged in very close proximity to the clipboard."
Jacobson denied "waving" the clipboard around to the station and said she heard a shot and felt pain but did not yet realize that she was hit.
Jacobson then drove herself to a Michigan State Police station and discovered she was shot in the shoulder.
State Police investigated the incident and asked for the charges.
Harvey turned himself in on Friday and bail was set at $10,000 during his arraignment, the news outlet reported.
If convicted on the felony charges, Harvey could spend a maximum of four years in prison under state law.
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