Man Lurking in Yard Beaten to Death by Homeowner with Metal Pipe: Police
We all think that home intruders deserve justice — sometimes of the most final variety. Often, these thoughts aren’t borne out of support for self-defense but a desire for retribution.
The serious problem with these impulses can be seen in a case out of the Wakefield neighborhood of the New York City borough of the Bronx, where one homeowner stands charged with murder, manslaughter and weapons possession.
According to the New York Post, Troy George was described as “a nice neighbor” and “quiet.”
The 54-year-old was anything but quiet when he allegedly went after a would-be intruder and killed him with a metal pipe during a confrontation late Thursday night and into Friday morning, however.
“Cops said George’s wife called 911 just before midnight, saying she heard or saw someone prowling in the couple’s backyard on East 223rd Street near Bronxwood Avenue in Wakefield,” the Post reported.
“George, a lifelong postal worker, confronted the man, who fled, according to police.”
And then came the problem: Instead of letting him go, George allegedly decided to follow the man, taking a metal pipe with him.
He reportedly would chase the alleged intruder — later identified as 29-year-old Harold Bates — past several houses on the block, finally hitting him in the head with the pipe and knocking him unconscious.
Priscilla Ford, the 53-year-old next-door neighbor who described George as being “quiet” and “nice,” recalled being in the bathroom when she heard George’s wife yelling, “Oh no, motherf—er.”
“I came to the window right here and I seen her come out. She was on the phone saying to ‘call the police. There’s a robbery in progress,’” Ford told the Post, adding that she saw George running toward her after that.
“He had a pipe in his hand. It was a long pipe,” Ford said.
As for Mrs. George, Ford said she was saying, “Oh my husband. He’s getting ready to kill him. He’s getting ready to kill him.”
“There was a lot of yelling between a women and a man,” Ford’s son Ethan, who witnessed Bates poking around the property and the subsequent confrontation, told the Post. “All I heard was rustling and something got dropped down — something like a plant — so I guess the man went on the property.”
After that, he saw “a man chasing down somebody with a pipe. It was like a vacuum pipe of some sort like a metal vacuum pipe.”
Another neighbor who was in front of where Bates was hit in the head told the Post: “I heard a loud ‘pow’ sound, then when I stepped out I saw the man lying on the street curled up. From what I saw he wasn’t moving or breathing.”
“Another neighbor said the victim ‘was bleeding from his mouth, from his head and his jeans were all ripped,'” the Post reported.
Bates was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The facts of this case will eventually come out, but I can tell you one thing for certain: The alleged intruder doesn’t seem like a particularly good guy.
Speaking ill of the dead isn’t something I enjoy, but I think we can safely say the fact that he was poking around a property he wasn’t supposed to be in likely meant he intended to inflict some sort of ill upon the homeowners.
However, when Troy George allegedly confronted him, whatever chance he may have had to do ill disappeared. From all accounts, he ran away. And instead of being happy with this outcome, George allegedly decided to chase him.
By doing so, George ended up allegedly killing someone there was no reason to kill. And, from all appearances, he allegedly did it to inflict the worst kind of vigilante justice upon him.
The reason for the social contract is that we don’t take the law into our own hands. Yes, the justice system serves to keep dangerous people away from the public for a suitable period of time and, if possible, rehabilitate them.
However, it also serves to mete out retributive justice.
We turn over the role of punishment to the government trusting that they’ll impose an appropriate sentence. Else, to quote Hobbes, life would be nasty, brutish and short.
George allegedly took the law into his own hands — and his alleged actions ended with the death of an unarmed man who may not have posed any serious threat to him.
Even if he was a would-be burglar, Bates was still a human life. He may have taken a risk that could have ended with his death. The circumstances of his death strongly still suggest a grave crime was committed.
Priscilla Ford may have said it best: “He’s not on your property no more … the man actually came out so I figured … he’s not on your property no more, you’re no longer in danger.”
Because of that, Troy George is behind bars in lieu of $100,000 cash bail or a $150,000 bond. He’d better get used to his surroundings, because if he’s convicted, he’s going to be spending a lot more time in those environs.
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