Shoplifting Teen Shooter Dodges Murder Conviction

( – A grand jury in Texas last week declined to bring a murder charge against the 17-year-old accused of fatally shooting a gas station employee in Humble, Texas in January, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Mario Young of Humble was arrested on suspicion of murder in connection to the shooting death of Sunoco gas station worker, 42-year-old Asif Maknojia on January 19.

Prosecutors alleged that Young and another teenager were shoplifting from the gas station’s convenience store when Maknojia followed after the two to confront them. When the pair walked away, Maknojia followed after them in his car as they walked along the highway. As they stopped to cross the street, Maknojia pulled up beside them.

Witnesses interviewed following the shooting said after Maknojia stopped the car, they heard gunshots and saw the two teens running away. One witness told police that she saw Mario Young fire at Maknojia’s car as he ran toward the woods.

Maknojia was struck on the right side and died at the scene.

Both teenagers turned themselves in to the Houston Police two days later.

Quanell X, a community activist who arranged the teens’ surrender, told reporters at the time that the boys believed they were defending themselves.

Young’s attorney Lott Brooks argued that the shooting was in self-defense.

After the grand jury refused to bring a true bill for murder, Brooks told reporters at a press conference last Thursday that Young and the other teen were exonerated by the grand jury.

He said the two teens “were not guilty of anything other than trying to protect themselves.”

Grand juries are empaneled by prosecutors to determine if there is enough probable cause to bring an indictment. The proceedings are held in secret. The no-bill notice did not include details about the grand jury’s determination.

For a grand jury to indict, a supermajority of the panel must agree on the charge.

The second teen involved in the incident was not charged.

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