COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A decision by the attorney general’s office means a Kershaw County woman will not be prosecuted for fatally shooting a mentally ill Army veteran she’d been trying to help, but who later entered her home and attacked her.
Attorney General Alan Wilson dropped the case against Sally Anne Memmert of Elgin for the 2012 shooting death of 29-year-old Petra Boykin, The State newspaper reported Saturday.
Evidence supported a circuit judge’s ruling last April that the state’s “stand your ground” defense law applied to Memmert, said Wilson spokesman Mark Powell.
“We did not believe there was an effective way to challenge some of those findings on appeal,” Powell said.
Solicitor Dan Johnson had appealed the ruling by Judge Robert Hood. But he told the newspaper he understands and accepts Wilson’s decision.
Memmert’s lawyer, Jack Swerling, said his client is “just totally relieved and happy about the decision.”
“Overwhelming evidence showed Sally Memmert did everything she could to avoid what happened,” Swerling said. “Although it is tragic because someone is dead, Sally clearly acted within her right of self-defense under the stand your ground law and should not have to stand trial.”
According to court documents, Boykin had post-traumatic stress disorder and a history of violence, suicide attempts, drug use and depression.
In fall 2011, Memmert invited the mother of two young children to live with her rent-free. But in January 2012, Boykin threatened Memmert with a knife. Memmert called 911 and — with deputies at the home — ordered Boykin to leave.
Memmert later put Boykin’s clothes on the porch and invited her to come get them. When Boykin returned about 3 a.m. on Jan. 17, 2012, she entered the home and began slapping and choking Memmert.
Memmert “had never been beaten like that before, was afraid, and was getting hurt,” Hood wrote in his ruling. “It was at this time, feeling like she had no other options, being afraid for her life, the defendant pulled out the pistol and shot Ms. Boykin one time.”
Prosecutors argued that, since Memmert had invited Boykin to get her clothes off the porch, she’d essentially invited Boykin inside. But Hood disagreed, ruling that Boykin was an intruder, and Memmert had the right to use deadly force in her defense.