Trial opens for father of girl, 12, shot by constable

WILLIAMSPORT (AP) — The trial has begun for a Pennsylvania man charged in the death of his 12-year-old daughter, who was shot by a constable serving eviction papers.

Perry County authorities accuse Donald Meyer, 60, of pointing a loaded rifle at the constable, who fired a shot that went through Meyer’s arm and fatally struck Ciara Meyer in January 2016.

District Attorney Andrew Bender told jurors Wednesday morning that although Meyer wasn’t “the trigger man,” he was responsible for his daughter’s death, PennLive.com reported .

“Parents are supposed to protect their children. Not put them in harm’s way,” he said.

Defense attorney Jerry Philpott, however, said his client feared his home was “being invaded.”

“He picked up a gun, which he was cleaning when this all started, and went to the door to protect his home,” something that he had a constitutional right to do, Philpott said. Meyer has blamed the constable for his daughter’s death.

Property manager Ashley Hill, who recorded the confrontation with her cellphone from about 20 feet away, testified that the girl stepped up behind her father.

“Ciara kept saying, ‘Dad, stop. Dad, stop,'” Hill recalled, dabbing tears from her eyes. She said the defendant had many anti-government views and “thought everyone was against him.”

Bender said the defendant pointed the rifle at the head and shoulders of the constable, who “thought he was going to die.” Philpott said jurors will have to take into account whether or not the constable acted appropriately.

In the trial, which is being held in Lycoming County, Meyer faces charges of homicide, aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment and a firearms charge. He also faces a firearms charge in Dauphin County.