Prosecutors: Man who was 16 when arrested for murder to plea to lesser charge

VIDEO: Prosecutors: Man who was 16 when arrested for murder to plea to lesser charge

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A murder suspect may be allowed to plea to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter after newly-released court documents suggest the incident may have been a case of self defense.

Charleston police say Harold Champaigne shot and killed Jaquan Moore at a James Island Park in July 2016. Champaigne was 16 at the time of the shooting.

Police said the shooting stemmed from an argument over money.

The victim’s parents, Nathaniel and Paula Moore, said on Tuesday they were angry after being told by prosecutors that Champaigne would try to get the murder charge dropped. The Moores said they were told Champaigne would be using the Stand Your Ground defense.

The law allows anyone who is attacked to use deadly force if necessary to protect themselves from death or serious injury.

Charleston Police say Jaquan Moore, 19, was fatally shot at a James Island Park in August 2016.
Charleston Police say Jaquan Moore, 19, was fatally shot at a James Island Park in August 2016. (Source: Moore family)

The new court documents filed buy the solicitor’s office paint a much different picture about what happened that night at Thomas Johnson Park on Seccessionville Road.

According to the paperwork, prosecutors are supporting a plea agreement by Champaigne to voluntary manslaughter instead of murder.

Prosecutors say they do not have enough evidence to disprove self-defense.

The documents state evidence suggests Moore hit Champaigne in the face with a gun, then put him in a chokehold.

According to the paperwork, Champaigne admitted he shot Moore but in self-defense.

Champaigne told investigators Moore dropped a gun during a struggle and that he, Champaigne picked it up and started shooting out of fear.

Prosecutors said evidence would support that Moore was in possession of the gun at the park.

In the documents they say a photo on Facebook showed Moore holding a pistol and pointing to the camera.

And prosecutors say an expert witness for the defense showed a gash to Champaigne's nose matches the butt of the gun from the Facebook picture.

Prosecutors said self-defense issues and a lack of cooperation from witnesses led them to allow Champaigne to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter in Family Court.

According to the documents the gun used in the shooting has not been recovered.

There is no word when Champaigne will enter his plea.

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