We’ve all made honest mistakes, but very rarely do they turn out to be harmful…let alone deadly. That’s unfortunately what happened in Raytown, Missouri. The suspect in the case is Michael G. Augustine, a man that had been drinking heavily during the day. When he arrived at what he thought was his home, he found that there was someone else inside.
Thinking that his home had an intruder, he strangled 60 year old Clifton King to death. It turned out that it was King’s home that Augustine had mistakenly walked into. Augustine was not quite close to his own home, and actually lived farther down the block. Augustine had actually been the one to call emergency services and gave police officers his correct address. The police arrived to Augustine’s home to find that there was nobody there, and the men were both at King’s house.
Police who responded to the call said that Augustine’s speech was slurred and that there was a strong scent of alcohol. Paramedics attempted to revive King for roughly 30 minutes, but unfortunately it was too late. One neighbor who witnessed the confrontation said that King was a veteran.
“He served our country and that was not an honorable way to treat him,” she said. “I think that it’s sad. It’s sad. Someone had to give up their life because someone was so messed up they didn’t know it wasn’t their home.”
Neighbors also noted that King was a gentle and good neighbor. They also expressed guilt for not having phoned in the incident earlier, thinking that there was a simple disagreement happening in their neighborhood.
As a result of strangling King, Augustine was taken into custody and was charged with first degree involuntary manslaughter. The story became a bit fuzzy for officers who were trying to sort out why Augustine was able to give his own address, but was found at King’s house. Raytown Police Captain Dyon Harper said that “Because Augustine chose not to speak with us about it, we’re missing that piece – whether he went to the wrong house or something else happened.”
Augustine had posted a bond of $150,000 and almost immediately moved from the area, according to reports. The neighborhood is now missing two of its residents, and are feeling the after effects of the incident. “Clifton (King) was a good man who loved his family,” said King’s sister-in-law Carla. “He was reserved and quiet, but could be very outgoing and kind of funny if he was comfortable around you.”
Upon looking at Augustine’s mugshot where he is seen smiling, she added that “We see no remorse. We feel that it is very smirkish. It’s like ‘you really don’t care if this is the life of an innocent man?’ We’re trying to let the justice system work, but it’s very difficult. It is very difficult looking at that picture. It’s like he’s laughing about it.”
If found guilty, Augustine faces up to 10 years in prison, with fines and court fees added. There is also the possibility of a civil suit on behalf of the King family, which could also add up to more than $1 million.