Sep 30, 2013 11:22 PM by Steven Albritton

Man Charged In Pastor's Death Could See A Reduced Charge

The Calcasieu Parish man charged with second degree murder could see those charges could change in the near future. Deputies say, Woodrow Karey, Jr. walked into the Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center and allegedly shot Pastor Ronald Harris twice, killing the pastor. Karey was arrested a short time later and charged with 2nd degree murder.

After a weekend full of speculation as to why Pastor Ronald Harris was shot and killed in front of his congregation, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso gave a glimpse into what could have led to the incident. He says there are allegations of an inappropriate relationship between Pastor Harris and the alleged shooter's wife.

"He stated that he had received inappropriate text messages from his wife to the pastor," Sheriff Mancuso said.

At that point, Mancuso says the suspect's wife filed rape charges against Harris. She filed those charges just two days before Harris was shot to death. Deputies reiterated these were only allegations.

"If you found out your wife or whatever was having an affair with someone and you knew about it for three months and then you walked out and killed the guy, I don't know that you're going to be able to make it fly that her infidelity caused you to get a sudden passion," Lafayette District Attorney Mike Harson said.

As of Monday night, the 2nd degree murder charge against Karey stands.

"Could it be dropped down to a lesser charge? I think at this time the charges against Mr. Karey are appropriate based on the information we do have," Mancuso said.

Harson says a manslaughter charge may be an option for a jury. He says the charge involves "heat of the moment" crimes, and circumstances which cause you to get so angry you lose control.

"And that's what the test is, whether or not a reasonable person would have had sufficient time to reflect and cool down and so forth to judge what they were going to do," Harson said.

Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John Derosier declined comment because his office will be receiving the case.

Deputies say the investigation could take weeks to complete because each of the over 60 people who witnessed the shooting must be interviewed and many of them are from out of town.



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