A Virginia teenager who authorities said intervened when his mother was being attacked by her boyfriend — fatally shooting the man — has been charged with second-degree murder.

Police said the son, who is 15, shot and killed John Conroy Jr., 37, as Conroy physically attacked his mother during an argument at their house.

The teen faces charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Duncan Minton said. The teenager’s name is not being released because he is charged as a juvenile.

Minton said every homicide in Virginia is “presumed to be murder in the second degree,” but that the charge can be reduced or increased as the investigation goes on.

“Because of the fact that he’s a juvenile and because there may be extenuating circumstances, there is a whole wide range of things that could happen,” Minton said.

 This is so screwed up!  Why must we presume that the killing is murder in the second degree?   It sounds to me that like the boy did the right thing.  He saved his mother from being attacked.
Tell me in what bizarro world this behavior is wrong?  It sounds to me like instant self defense or mother defense.
Wait!  Why am I acting so shocked?  I know someone this happened to.  Anytime you shoot someone, the burden of proof is very high, at least in Virginia.
I hope the kid gets off.  It sounds like he has been traumatized enough.

Is the boy in custody? Is he out on bond? The news video raises many unanswered questions.

6 Thoughts to “Son saves mother, faces murder charges”

  1. Ed Myers

    We want the burden of proof to be high. It is very easy for the woman and son to conspire together to kill the boyfriend and then claim self defense based on spousal abuse. Maybe it was justified, but the main witness is dead and no weapon was mentioned and the mother did not receive injuries sufficient to require medical treatment. I’m having trouble figuring out who was in imminent peril other than the shooting victim.

    We want to encourage only non-violent or at least non-lethal self defense in all cases. Killing someone is not an acceptable response to typical domestic violence. Calling the police, helping the mother escape, blocking or locking the door to prevent a drunk from getting in are all valiant and valid responses to curb abuse. Killing the abuser is not. It indicates the juvenile fails to respect the lives of others.

    My comments are based on the assumption that the dead man is un unsympathetic POS that had been abusing his family for a long time and was probably drunk at the time. I’d probably be lenient as a jurist, but as society we want to discourage kids using guns to solve family issues and putting him on trial might educate other children not to go down this path.

    1. Kid vs grown man. Most kids can’t defend themselves against a man in his prime, much less someone else.

      I am not saying it was a good idea or a bad idea to shoot the guy but…I don’t like this notion of presumed guilty. It doesn’t seem American.

      I totally disagree that it indicates the juvenile fails to respect the lives of others. It indicates to me that he protects his mother.

      You say killing someone is not an acceptable response to domestic violence? I don’t know about that. How about Bobbitting them? I thought that fit the crime.

      I would like to know more but I do not like the presumtion of guilt rather than innocence. I hope the kid isn’t behind bars unless he has a history of violence himself.

  2. middleman

    Moon, they’re charging murder 2 as a placeholder while the investigation takes place. It appears likely that the charges will be reduced later.

    He probably won’t get off completely, but he may get away with a manslaughter charge. Regardless, that’s gonna be one goofed up kid. I hope he can get some good counseling- he’s gonna need it.

    1. He could easily go to prison for 10 years on a manslaughter conviction and carry a felony label the rest of his life.

      I am not sure I like this idea of ‘place holder.’ If they find evidence to charge him, then do it but none of this “default to murder 2” business.

  3. middleman

    Ed, we can second guess till the cows come home, but when you have a kid who’s seen his mom beat up repeatedly emotions sometimes take over. If a gun’s handy who could blame him for pulling the trigger.

  4. Steve Thomas

    middleman :
    Moon, they’re chargng murder 2 as a placeholder whle the nvestgaton takes place. It appears lkely that the charges wll be reduced later.
    He probably won’t get off completely, but he may get away wth a manslaughter charge. Regardless, that’s gonna be one goofed up kd. I hope he can get some good counselng- he’s gonna need t.

    Self-defense is an affirmative defense. Ability, Opportunity, Intent. If he has a lawyer that specializes in deadly force, he can be acquitted. What he will need to demonstrate is his mother was in danger of death or grave bodily injury, that a disparity of force existed, and the attacker demonstrated intent, either verbally or physically.

    From what has been reported, the youth stands a very good chance of acquittal. A 37 year-old healthy male, vs. a 15 year-old, or a woman, is considered disparity of force. If he was in the process of physically assaulting the mother, the opportunity is satisfied. If there was a previous history of assault, was another weapon present (even if not used) OR, if the assailant verbally expressed an intention “B*cth I’ll kill you!” or “I’ll knock your head off”, this satisfies intent. Hit all three, and acquittal is possible.

    Miss one, and he may be found guilty of a lesser/included offense. Was the man disabled, or was the teen physically bigger or stronger. Was this a case where mom slapped the boyfriend, and he responded with like force (slapped her back).

    If the prosecutor’s knee-jerk (and it appears so) to charge every homicide as unjustifiable, that’s just how he rolls. If there is an acquittal, he will have wasted the court’s time, and the peoples money. He can answer for that at reelection. If he waits until the police investigation is complete, and drops the charges, he was just being thorough. If the investigation concludes that AOI was not satisfied, using the “reasonable person standard”, which is, a reasonable person would have reacted the same, in the exact same circumstances, then the prosecutor is upholding the law.

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