Michigan man charged in shooting of anti-abortion canvasser
ODESSA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan homeowner has been charged with shooting and wounding an 84-year-old woman who was canvassing door-to-door against a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right to abortion in the state.
Richard Harvey was charged Friday on charges of felonious assault and reckless discharge of a firearm causing injury charges, Ionia County Prosecutor Kyle Butler said in a statement.
Harvey surrendered to authorities Friday morning and was being held in the county jail.
The State Police investigated the Sept. 20 shooting at Harvey’s home in Odessa Township, a community about 130 miles (210 kilometers) northwest of Detroit, and submitted charging recommendations to the prosecutor’s office, Butler said.
Harvey was being represented by a public defender, who has not not responded to a message seeking comment.
The canvasser, Joan Jacobson, told investigators that she was asking a woman at the home to vote against Proposal 3 in November when she was told to leave. Jacobson told The Detroit News for a story Thursday that she was headed to her car when she “heard a shot” and “felt some pain.”
Jacobson said she then drove to a local police station and was later treated at a hospital.
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Harvey, 74, told WOOD-TV that he shot Jacobson accidentally while she was arguing with his wife, and that he told Jacobson numerous times to leave their property.
Harvey told the television station that he fired a warning shot at a tree with his wife’s .22-caliber rifle. He said the woman continued “ranting and raving” and waving a clipboard.
“I’m thinking she’s going to smack Sharon with it,” Richard Harvey said. “So without thinking, I went to club it away with the rifle and my finger was still in the trigger guard. It went off and hit her.”
Jacobson, a long-time volunteer for Right to Life of Michigan, said she never waved her clipboard.
The AP was unable to find a telephone number Friday for Harvey.
Abortion rights would be constitutionally guaranteed in Michigan if Proposal 3 passes on Nov. 8. A 1931 state law makes it a crime to perform most abortions, but the law was suspended in May and a judge this week struck it down as unconstitutional.