A Washington state father is accused of killing his daughter’s boyfriend after finding the young man in her room, prosecutors said.
Charles Heller, 49, was charged with second-degree murder Monday in the fatal 2019 shooting of 20-year-old Dustyn Hunt — after he discovered his daughter tried to sneak Hunt into her room, the Seattle Times reported.
Prosecutors in Snohomish County said 20-year-old Lauryn Heller and her boyfriend had snuck into the family’s home earlier that day without her parents’ knowledge, but both Charles Heller and his wife told cops they heard their daughter talking and laughing with someone else.
Heller then texted his daughter to say her guest needed to leave by 10:30 p.m., but she didn’t respond and went outside as Hunt hid under her bed, Lauryn Heller told authorities.
When Lauryn Heller went back inside, she said she saw her father pointing a gun at Hunt as he was trying to get dressed, wearing only his underwear, she told detectives.
“[Heller’s] finger was on the trigger the entire time he was pointing the weapon,” prosecutors wrote in charging documents. “This point was important to Lauryn, and played a large role in her fear, because her father, formerly in the military, has training in handling firearms and had taught her that you do not put your finger on the trigger unless you are prepared to shoot.”
Lauryn Heller then put herself between her boyfriend and the gun, telling her father to “shoot her” if he was going to open fire, prosecutors said.
Hunt then pushed the gun away from his girlfriend, causing her father to fall onto a bed. Charles Heller later told detectives he shot Hunt in the shoulder and told his wife to call an ambulance after putting the gun on a kitchen table, charges show.
An autopsy determined Hunt died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
An attorney for Heller did not return a request for comment Monday, the Seattle Times reported.
It’s unclear what led to the charge nearly two years later, but sheriff investigators had previously said they were waiting on forensic results in the case, the newspaper reported.
His death was ultimately ruled a homicide.
Heller admitted to shooting Hunt and said he never thought about hitting him or using less-lethal methods since he thought the 20-year-old was “trying to choke him,” the News Tribune reported.
“This was what I was waiting for,” Hunt’s mother, Lisa, wrote the Seattle Times Monday. “This charge means so much … I started to lose any type of hope for justice. I felt like it was slowly being forgotten about and brushed aside.”