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Teen Cleared In Father’s Death

April 29, 1986

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) _ A 16-year-old boy who stabbed his father to death acted in self-defense and has been cleared of all wrongdoing, officials say.

″The son’s initial claim of self-defense is consistent with his mother’s statements of self-defense,″ said Natrona County district attorney Scott Evans.

Officials said Melvin Beale was killed Feb. 10 as he beat his son in the family’s Casper home. Evans said the youth ″retreated as far as he could after a severe beating by his father,″ suffering a broken nose and a bruised torso before grabbing a knife to protect himself.

The boy, who was unidentified because of his age, faced a potential charge of second-degree homicide after stabbing his father seven times. Evans called him a normal youngster who was caught in an environment of stress and violence.

Evans told the Casper Star-Tribune that the father attacked the boy without provocation and threatened him with death.

Law enforcement officials said Beale was a heavy drinker whose blood alcohol level the night he was killed was 0.28 percent. A measurement of 0.1 percent is the point at which a person is legally drunk.

Dallas Laird, the boy’s attorney, said Monday that most of the violence in the home was directed at the mother.

″The father had a drinking problem and he would get quite combative while drinking. This was just one of those deals where all those factors came into being at one time,″ he said.

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