Father accused of killing man who followed his daughter into bathroom

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- Bail is set at $100,000 for a man who is accused of severely beating a person at a convenience store earlier in August.

According to court paperwork, Melvin Harris III, 40, is charged with one count of aggravated assault resulting in serious physical injury. However, according to Harris' inmate information page on the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office website, Harris is now facing a second-degree murder charge.

In a court hearing on August 4 involving Harris, the presiding judge was heard saying there is a "strong possibility" that the victim will not survive, citing police officials. According to Phoenix police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune, the victim died on August 7.

The incident happened at around 11:36 p.m. on August 2,  at a QuikTrip convenience store on the 9000 block of N. 19th Avenue. Harris was picking up his teenage daughter and her two friends, and later, the girls left the QT, went to Harris' car, and said a man inside tried to get into a locked bathroom stall Harris' daughter was in. The person was then identified by the daughter as he left the QT.

Harris, according to court documents, then went into the business and told a security guard he needed to take care of the situation, or he would do it himself. Security told Harris they would handle the situation, but Harris got back in his car and pulled up to a gravel area near the parking lot, where the person had moved to.

According to witnesses, Harris approached the man and punched him in the face, causing the victim to fall. The man, witnesses say, was snoring and moaning while on the ground. Harris then stood over the victim, struck the victim in the face several more times, and also kicked and stomped on him.

Harris, according to court documents, then left the QT and went to his home. Meanwhile, the victim was described in court documents as having sustained swelling to the brain and a nasal fracture, and suffered loss of oxygen to his brain for an extended period.

Court documents say Harris admitted during a police interview to punching the victim in the face, but that he only did so because the victim swung at him first. Harris also denied recalling any further strikes to the victim.

Harris, according to MCSO, is set to be arraigned on August 17.

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