On Christmas day of 2012, 34-year-old Darwin DeMarcus Weathers died at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital following a domestic dispute in which he was shot at least one time by his girlfriend, 30-year-old Taneesha Inez Smith. Smith admitted to shooting Weathers, however Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth determined in his ruling on January 28 that Smith will not be charged in the case.
The domestic dispute occurred at around 7:30 in the evening at 57 Leonard St. NE. News reports state that three young children, one believed to be a biological child of Weathers and Smith, were upstairs at the residence when the shooting took place. All three children were said to be younger than 10.
Upon responding to the scene, Grand Rapids police found Weathers in the driveway. Smith told them that she had shot her boyfriend, and was taken into custody. Initially, police sought a warrant to charge Smith with felony homicide, but Forsyth decided against it, saying that he felt she acted in self-defense.
Weathers and Smith had began dating about three years ago, but had known each other prior to dating, according to Smith. The prosecutor outlined several domestic violence incidents in a nine-page opinion, including two in which the victim threatened to kill Smith while pointing a gun at her head.
In September the two lived in Saginaw, where Smith called police following an incident in which Weathers held a gun to her head after shoving her to the ground and telling her, “I’ll blow your (expletive) head off if you move.” Weathers was charged in an 11-count warrant with felonious assault, domestic violence third offense, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, although he had not been arrested. Throughout her relationship with Weathers, Smith sought assistance from shelters for sexual assault and domestic violence victims, however Weathers found her after she moved to Grand Rapids.
In early December, news reports claim that Weathers struck Smith on the head after becoming upset about the Saginaw arrest warrants, and told Smith she needed to get the warrants dropped because he wasn’t going to prison. He also pulled a gun on her at that time according to Smith, who told police Weathers said, “I’ll burn you right now.”
Christmas day was a day of reckoning after Weather verbally and physically abused Smith following the departure of guests who were in their home. Ultimately, Weathers pulled a Glock from his pocket and said to Smith, “I got something for you,” after pointing the gun at her head. As he was attempting to put the gun back in his pocket, it slipped out of his hand and to the floor; this is when Smith recovered the gun as both she and Weathers scrambled for it. Smith told police she closed her eyes and pulled the trigger.
Weathers’ history of abuse and assault against Smith led the prosecutor to believe that she was justified in shooting the victim. Forsyth said that Smith had reason to fear great bodily harm or death. She will not be charged in the death of Weathers.
Felony homicide is a serious criminal offense leaving individuals who are convicted facing harsh consequences. Michigan criminal defense attorneys understand that there are many cases like this one, in which one individual is physically or verbally abused and assaulted repeatedly over time.
If you have been arrested for homicide, manslaughter, or any violent or serious crime, consult with a capable and aggressive Michigan criminal defense lawyer at once.