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Law Office of Kevin Teets Blog

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A 26-year old with Attempted Murder Charges, A Homeless Man Fighting for His Life, and a Trial Lawyer Father That Needs To Stop Talking

From One Lawyer to Another: Mr. Quackenbush, Keep Your Mouth Shut and Stop Talking to the Police and the Media

Katie Quackenbush, 26, an aspiring artist from Texas, claims her life was threatened after a homeless man, Gerald Melton, approached her Porsche SUV; Mr. Melton states he asked Quackenbush to turn down the music and then she got out of her car and shot him twice in the stomach

This week media in Nashville and around the country have reported on what is a tragic and bizarre situation that has left a homeless man, Gerald Melton, fighting for his life after he was shot twice and has left a 26-year-old woman, Katie Quackenbush, facing charges of attempted murder.

As the saying goes, there are three sides to every story, but something about Quackenbush's story just doesn't' make sense. And, the irony of it all, is the public is being fed Quackenbush's version of what occurred by her trial lawyer father out of Texas, Jesse Quackenbush. Trial Lawyer Dad is talking to every media outlet that he can about his daughter's charge of attempted murder and the facts just don't add up, the claims hurt her chances of a successful legal defense, and the claims have brought national attention to this story.

From one lawyer to another: Mr. Quackenbush, keep your mouth shut and don't talk to the police or to the media. 

To be fair, it seems that Mr. Quackenbush is a successful attorney.. After all, he presumably sent his daughter to Nashville to make a career in music and gave her a $60,000 Porsche SUV to do so. And, somebody is picking up the costs for Quackenbush's  five year old young son (Whose name is Ripp, not to be confused with R.I.P.) to attend a private school.

Or, maybe Quackenbush is making enough money for a $60,000 Porsche and a private education on her own with songs like this one, called "Tips Up Hoes Down." You can decide, but I'm gonna go with, "No."

But, even a successful attorney (who in this case I believe practices mostly in personal injury) can be blinded by their own bias. I'm sure that Mr. Quackenbush feels like he's helping his daughter's case, but he is not. Hopefully he retains local counsel in Nashville for his daughter as soon as possible and stops talking. 

To get a full account of what's been reported thus far, check out this article from The Tennessean or this article from the Daily Mail. Now, let's take a look at some of the things that the trial lawyer father has said about this case thus far: 

  • Telling the Daily Mail that the victim is schizophrenic. The Daily Mail quotes Mr. Quackenbush as stating, "The guy's obviously schizophrenic in the opinion of my daughter and her friend and other people." First off, a professed trial attorney is opining on someone's mental health based on the account of his daughter, her friend, and 'other people.' Unless one of those 'other people' happens to be a licensed psychiatrist, this is nothing more than a smear campaign against the homeless victim that is now fighting for his life. Further, Mr. Melton's mental condition, even if he were schizophrenic, would not be relevant to any of the elements of attempted murder, nor a claim of self defense
  • Claiming that the Police are Using Her Daughter's Case as a Poster Child for the City's Ongoing Homeless Population. This is also contained in the Daily Mail article. Wait. What exactly is her father saying, here? Sure, homelessness is a problem that Nashville and other city's face. But, perhaps one of the "problems" comes from the statements that Mr. Quaackenbush has made when he chose to diagnose the homeless man with a mental health disorder without knowing any of the facts concerning the man's mental health state at all, and then, used that ill-informed diagnosis as a way to justify that his daughter acted in self-defense, or that, she was justified in shooting Mr. Melton twice in the stomach. 
  • Claiming that his daughter saw the homeless man yelling at another group of girls and caused a physical altercation with them. Quoting from the Daily Mail again, Mr. Jesse Quackenbush says that his daughter and her friend saw the homeless man yelling at another group of girls and that it seems "he was getting into a physical altercation with them." Here's where the real problems start with what Mr. Quackenbush has stated.

    First, most reasonable people would call the police if they saw a group of young females being physically assaulted by someone, or so we would all hope. But, Katie Quackenbush didn't call the police. She, in fact, didn't even call the police after she fired her pistol twice. This statement will present problems for the defense, because a reasonable person would have avoided the situation all together. Instead, Katie Quackenbush appears to have parked her SUV near the location of someone that her father now describes as being violent and yelling. And, she apparently hangs out in her SUV after parking it near someone she says is violent and blasts her music. And, on top of that, she then says she's approached by this person she says is violent while she is still inside of her vehicle and THEN decides to leave her vehicle and arm herself. Assuming everything that Katie Quackenbush says is true, how many opportunities did she have to remove herself from the situation? It's clear that the alleged claim of self defense was not the only choice she had, when in fact, she had many many chances to avoid the situation all together
  • And, through her father, she states that she closed her eyes when she pulled the trigger and didn't even know that she had shot Mr. Quackenbush: This is hardly believable for a variety of reasons. But, this statement likely hurts the defense's self-defense claim. Exactly how far away would Mr. Melton, the victim, have to be from Katie Quackenbush for her to NOT know that she shot him twice in the stomach? Assuming that the victim didn't make a sound when he was shot twice in the stomach (Not believable), the victim would have reacted physically in many ways to include bleeding in front of her. If she was not able to see or hear how Mr. Melton responded to being shot twice in the stomach, then how could the unarmed homeless man be of any real threat to Katie Quackenbush and her friend, especially when she had a fully operable SUV that she RETREATED FROM in order to get out of the vehicle and arm herself with the pistol? 

    This case will undoubtedly be covered by the press. Hopefully Mr. Melton recovers from his injuries. The latest media reports that I can find show that he is still in critical condition. As for the attorney father in this case, Jesse Quackenbush, he's not going to be able to take back the many statements he has already made to the press and police. But, he could stop talking further and retain a local attorney to represent his daughter. As I stated earlier, even the most experienced of attorneys have their own bias, and in this case, Mr. Quackenbush needs to trust his daughter's legal defense to someone else.

    Here's the text contained in the affidavit of arrest for Quackenbush: "The probable cause is as follows:

    On 08/26/2017 the victim observed a white SUV park in front of 901 19th Ave S. The victim approached the vehicle in regards to the loud music coming from the vehicle. The vehicle was occupied by two females. During the interaction the victim and the driver of the vehicle got into a verbal argument where both parties were yelling at each other. The victim did not impede the defendant’s ability to leave the area. The victim walked away from the vehicle, and returned to the area he was attempting to sleep for the night. The defendant retrieved a handgun from inside the vehicle and exited the driver’s side to walk to the back of her vehicle. Once at the back of her vehicle the defendant observed the victim back on the side walk near the building at 901 19th Ave S the car. A verbal argument began between the two. During this argument the defendant raised her handgun and pointed it in the direction of the victim. The defendant did fire two shots at the victim striking him. The victim was transported to Vanderbilt hospital where he received treatment for his injuries. The passenger of the vehicle identified the defendant as the person who shot the victim. This incident occurred in Nashville Davidson County.

The Law Office of Kevin Teets represents clients in the areas of Davidson, Sumner, Williamson, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford and Wilson Counties.

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