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Melvin Spaulding Won't Face Charges

by Nicki Fellenzer

December 17, 2003 -- This afternoon I received some great news.  I learned that the Pinellas County, Florida State Attorney's office will not file charges against the 71-year-old St. Petersburg man, who shot one of the thugs who was attacking his 63-year-old friend and neighbor.  Melvin Spaulding graciously called my home to give me the good news and thank me and for taking action on his behalf.  The prosecutor would not pursue the case, and Mr. Spaulding had his gun returned to him.

This news will come to the relief of dozens of people who, after having read my initial action alert about Mr. Spaulding's plight, contacted the authorities on Mr. Spaulding's behalf, urging that no charges be filed against this brave, kind man.  Many contacted me personally, informing me that they had placed telephone calls to not only the State Attorney's office, but the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office as well.  Others forwarded me copies of communications they sent to the authorities.  These ranged from angry to pleading, but all echoed the same theme:  Melvin Spaulding is a hero, who did what he had to do to save his friend's life.  He should not be charged.

"Anyone who believes that he should be charged with any crime, should suffer the same plight as Mr. Lowe, while the public stands around and watches.  (after calling 911, of course)  Are we to believe that we are powerless to assist victims of violent crime because the only power and authority rests with the State?  I think not.  We still live in a nation of  'We the People'," said one email on December 10.

"My concern is for the chilling effect that Melvin's predicament (arresting him for attempted murder and then holding him without bail until another judge could review the case) has on other honest citizens' ability to defend themselves. The sheriff's spokesman recommending that 'using a gun is the wrong way to respond to violence, he should have called 911' is part of the political agenda that disarms the populace making us dependent on (and subject to) the government police," stated another.

"Mr. Spaulding did what any person with a conscience would do - and came to the rescue of another person.  This act should be admired, not punished," asserted a third.

And yet another opined, "The law enforcement community failed to protect George Lowe and wants to punish the only man who made an effort to.  The 'justice system' is becoming just 'the System.' Only if we let it.  An email to Sheriff Rice and a letter to the CID are on the way."

The outpouring of support for Mr. Spaulding was heartening.  He is convinced that had he not taken urgent and immediate action, his friend would have been fatally injured.  He did what he had to do to save George Lowe, and Mr. Lowe has been vocal in his gratitude and his relief that his friend won't face charges for defending his life.  "I think that's excellent," Lowe told the St. Petersburg Times.  "I think that's the greatest thing they could have done."

Meanwhile, according to the report, the State Attorney's Office could be filing misdemeanor battery charges against the three men who allegedly attacked Mr. Lowe. 




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When liberty is taken away by force, it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default, it can never be recovered. DOROTHY THOMPSON

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