Texas: Charges dropped against teen who shot gas station employee to death after stealing bag of chips

The jury indicated that the accusations against the suspect were not sufficiently supported by the evidence presented. A second minor was never even charged.

A Harris County (Texas) jury decided to drop charges against Mario Young, a 17-year-old teenager accused of shooting to death the employee of a gas station that Young and another minor had previously robbed. The defense used self-defense as an argument for their client not to be charged, alleging that the murdered worker chased them.

A bag of chips

The events occurred at a gas station in Humble on January 19. Young and a second minor entered the store and stole a bag of chips, hiding it in their clothes, as seen in the security camera images. They then exited out onto the street. Asif Maknojia, a gas station employee, came out behind them, scolding them to return what was stolen or pay for it.

According to court records cited by the Houston Chronicle, the police report indicates that Maknojia got into his car and followed them down the highway. Maknojia then stopped next to the teens as they were preparing to cross the street. Several witnesses said that after the stop they heard gunshots and saw Young and the other teen flee, according to charging documents. A witness claimed to have seen Young open fire with a gun at Maknojia's vehicle as he ran towards some nearby woods. Maknojia was found dead in his car.

The two teenagers turned themselves in to the police two days later, with activist Quanell X acting as a mediator. From the first moment, both he and the defense lawyer alleged that the young people had defended themselves when they felt in danger and assured that the victim also had a weapon: "These youths were not guilty of anything other than trying to protect themselves. They did what they thought would have been best to save their own lives."