By: Ryan Dickstein
BALTIMORE — A Howard County jury has cleared a father of all charges in the 2019 death of his son.
During an interview submitted to police, Stephen Dwight Tucker, 68, admitted to fatally shooting 38-year-old Stephen Michael Tucker, in self defense.
It sheds light on a father torn between protecting his family and himself or allowing them to potentially be harmed by one of their own.
The elder Tucker describes in great detail the struggle his son faced over the years with drug addiction.
Despite that, the two were very close but would fight on occasion over the younger Tucker’s inability at times to stay sober.
On September 28, 2019 one of those fights turned deadly.
It all started when the father and son duo were pouring concrete at their home on Marriottsville Road.
Stephen Michael took exception to a comment his dad made about how the work they were doing was stupid, and not working out as planned.
The situation continued escalating throughout the night and came to a head when the two finally came face to face again in an upstairs bedroom.
Stephen Dwight described his son as having “out of control rage in his eyes.”
“I knew he was gonna try to kill me,” he told police. He recalled pulling out a gun to keep his son at bay.
Stephen Michael allegedly told his father “oh yea, you’re gonna shoot me,” before advancing and forcing a split second decision.
“You mother******, you shot me,” Stephen Dwight recalled his son saying before he tried again to attack.
Then all of a sudden, Stephen Michael went limp and died.
“My intention was that he would stop,” Stephen Dwight told police. “Any normal human being would just back off, just back away, I never expected him to charge at me or lunge at me.”
On October 29 — nearly two-years later, a jury agreed and found Stephen Dwight Tucker not guilty of all charges.
“The only thing remotely close to the grief and anguish of losing our son was sitting through this week-long trial.” Tucker said in a statement through his attorney to WMAR. “I am eternally grateful to the men and women of the jury who listened to the facts, saw the truth, and refused to criminalize my nightmare.”
Attorney Andrew Jezic defended Tucker in court, describing him as a gentle honest man whose life was in danger.
“Most of the dozen of character witnesses testified that Mr. Tucker is one of the most gentle and honest people they have ever met,” said Jezic. “He intensely feared for his life. The jury was resoundingly quick and decisive. He was clearly innocent.”
This story was originally published Nov. 2, 2021, by WMAR in Baltimore, an E.W. Scripps Company.