Melvin Harris III was sentenced to 8 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter

By Harriet Sokmensuer
December 17, 2019 04:38 PM
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Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

A Phoenix father has been sentenced to prison for fatally punching a man who tried to enter his teenage daughter’s locked bathroom stall at a convenience store.

On Monday, 41-year-old Melvin Harris III was sentenced to 8 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter for fatally hitting Leon Armstrong outside a convenience store in August 2018, KPNX, Arizona Republic and Fox10 report.

Harris was waiting in the parking lot of a QuikTrip to pick up his daughter and her friends when Armstrong approached him and asked for money. After Harris gave him money, Armstrong went back inside the store.

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When Harris’ daughter and her friends left the shop, they told him that a man had tried to enter the locked women’s bathroom stall with Harris’ daughter.

Security then escorted Armstrong out of the store and Harris’ daughter pointed him out to her dad.

Upset, Harris “told a security guard he needed to take care of the situation, or [Harris] would do it himself,” according to police documents obtained by KPNX.

Harris then punched Armstrong in the face, knocking him to the ground. He told police he did not hit Armstrong after that, however police documents state the father continued to punch and kick Armstrong before driving off.

Armstrong was taken to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to a fatal brain injury days later.