Melvin Harris of Phoenix is accused of beating a man who tried to enter a bathroom stall occupied by his daughter August 3, 2018. The man later died.
Maricopa County Superior Court
A Phoenix father is accused of fatally beating a man who tried to enter his daughter’s bathroom stall at a Phoenix convenience store, officials said.
Melvin Harris III, 40, went to pick up his teenage daughter and her two friends at the QT near 19th and Dunlap avenues just after 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 2, according to court records.
Harris was waiting in the parking lot when a man approached and asked him for money, records show. Harris gave him change and the man walked into the store.
When Harris’ daughter and her friends left the store shortly after, they told Harris a man tried to get inside his daughter’s closed and locked stall in the women’s restroom, records show. A security guard escorted the man out of the store.
Police have identified the man as 26-year-old Leon Armstrong.
Records show that when Armstrong left, Harris’s daughter pointed him out to her father. Harris then went into the QT, telling a security guard they needed to take care of the situation or he would do it himself.
The security guard told Harris he would handle the situation, but Harris got into his car and drove to a gravel area where Armstrong had moved, court records show.
Witnesses then said Harris approached Armstrong and punched him in the face, knocking him down, records show. Armstrong was “moaning” while on the ground, according to witnesses.
While standing over Armstrong, Harris continued to punch him in the face and kick and stomp on him, records show. Following the incident, Harris got into his car and drove home.
Officers tracked Harris to his residence, where he admitted to being involved, records show.
Following his arrest, Harris said he punched the man but only after the man swung at him first. Harris said the man had fallen to the ground and curled up into a ball after being hit, records show, and he denied touching the man after he was on the ground.
Armstrong suffered a broken nose and severe brain injury that eventually led to his death on Aug. 7.
Harris is now being charged with second-degree murder.
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