Melvin Harris III beat Leon Armstrong to d*eath in August 2018 after he attempted to open a locked bathroom stall his daughter was using at the time. Harris claimed that he did not intend to k*ill the man with the punch, instead, he was protecting his daughter from a perceived threat. Through a plea deal with prosecutors, Harris pleaded guilty to ma*nslaughter and was se*ntenced to eight years in pr*ison.
Around 11:30 p.m., Harris drove to a QuickTrip store to get his daughter and her friend. That’s when the accident happened. Armstrong came up to his car and asked him for money while he waited in the parking lot for his daughter. Harris told the police that he gave the man some cash and then went into the store.
Harris’s daughter and her friend were already inside the store using the bathroom at the same time. Armstrong went into the bathroom for women and tried to open the stall door.
The event was not seen by Harris. He heard what his daughter said when they got out of the bathroom.
Daughter Identifies Man
His daughter went out to the car and told him that someone tried to open the door to her bathroom stall. Harris got out of his car and went into the store. The man was shown to him by his daughter. At that point, Harris told a security guard what had happened and told him to handle the situation before he did it himself.
That’s what he did.
It was said that the security guard told Harris that they would “take care of the situation,” but Harris didn’t wait for that to happen.
Armstrong was knocked down when Harris punched him in the face. Even after Armstrong fell, the man didn’t stop attacking. He kept punching Armstrong over and over again.
After the attack, Harris got back in his car and drove home. In the end, that’s where police found him and arrested him.
Armstrong Dies at Hospital
Armstrong wasn’t responding when he was taken to a nearby hospital with injuries that could kill him. He never woke up again, and a few days later he died from his injuries. During the attack, Armstrong got a traumatic brain injury and a broken nose.
Police originally charged Harris with second-degree mur*der. He admitted that he punched the man, sending him “curling into a ball” onto the ground, but denied kicking or “stomping” him after he was down, as witnesses claimed. Harris also stated to police that Armstrong “swung at him first.”
Harris is currently housed at ASPC Florence in Florence, Arizona. He has a projected pr*ison release date of 7/25/2025.