Dillon Beach shooter will face lesser charges

07/03/2014

The man who shot and killed a teenager in Dillon Beach in March should not face murder charges but instead be charged with manslaughter, a Marin judge ruled last week. Ken Neville, 56, who has no previous criminal history, killed 19-year-old Stachaun Jackson in what he has said was an act of self-defense after Mr. Jackson tried to attack him at a trailer where Mr. Neville lived with Eric Gillespie, Mr. Jackson’s lover. (Mr. Jackson split his time between the trailer and a place in Guerneville.) Mr. Gillespie committed suicide a few days later. “The evidence showed that Mr. Neville and his co-tenant were held hostage in their own home by a man who broke in after they locked him out and held a knife on Mr. Gillespie to demand they call off the police,” said one of Mr. Neville’s public defenders, Michael Coffino. “The judge determined that the evidence did not establish this was a murder. He held Mr. Neville to answer only on a manslaughter charge.” Mr. Coffino added that the judge didn’t specify whether it should be voluntary or involuntary manslaughter; the former could land the accused in jail up to 11 years, the latter, up to four years. A suicide note left by Mr. Gillespie described incidents during which Mr. Jackson had assaulted him and threatened him with a knife; the note also said, “Ken and I were both afraid of Stachaun.” According to the Marin Independent Journal, Mr. Jackson’s mother said her son was trying to leave the relationship but that Mr. Gillespie pressed to remain in contact.