BROOKSVILLE — Four months ago, after Joshua Harth fatally shot 68-year-old George Avedissian, detectives would say only that the shooting happened during an altercation between the two men.
The case was turned over to the State Attorney's Office for review. On Monday, Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino said the shooting appeared to be a case of justifiable homicide and that Harth, who was 24 at the time, will not be charged with a crime.
"From the materials submitted by law enforcement and other related agencies, it was determined that the death of Mr. Avedissian was caused by justifiable use of deadly force as a result of deadly combat," Magrino said.
A memo Magrino penned for his office's file includes Harth's account of what happened on May 23 and some evidence in the case that led to Magrino's decision not to charge him.
Harth was renting a room at Avedissian's home at 8743 Ostrom Way, north of Weeki Wachee. About 8 p.m. that evening, Harth was awakened by Avedissian banging on the bedroom door. Harth said Avedissian was complaining about an open can of soup left in the kitchen as he kicked in the door.
The argument escalated. Avedissian left and returned with a 9mm carbine rifle and told Harth to leave the house. Harth said he went out to the back yard and Avedissian fired the rifle and ran at Harth with the gun still pointed at him. There was a struggle, and Harth took the rifle and fired.
Avedissian was hit once in the lower abdomen and once in the lower back. Harth tossed the gun down, called 911 and said he shot Avedissian during a struggle. In an interview with detectives, Harth was "crying and upset at times while also stating on more than one occasion that he thought (Avedissian) was going to kill him," Magrino wrote.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
9/23/13 Tampa Bay Times: