Testimony: Man shot daughter’s ex-boyfriend then called police

In the wee hours of the morning on Feb. 3, Amos McGhee, 56, was roused from a deep sleep by his 21-year-old daughter Amy who came into his room crying and screaming.  McGhee said it sounded like his daughter's abusive boyfriend was in the house.  So he got dressed, grabbed a loaded .22 caliber pistol and walked downstairs. A few minutes later, McGhee shot and wounded Chase Dent-Wells, 25, in the basement of McGhee's Brooklyn Park home.

That's according to testimony today in the trial of Dent-Wells, who is charged with stalking, illegal possession of a firearm, terroristic threats and two counts of assault.  On the witness stand in Hennepin County District Court, McGhee testified that before he fired, he asked Dent-Wells to leave several times.  "What are you doing here?  And didn't I tell you not to come to my house?" McGhee said he told the defendant, with his gun pointed toward the floor.  McGhee said he even fired a warning shot near Dent-Wells that struck a lamp.

McGhee said he knew his daughter, who lived with him, had a volatile relationship with Dent-Wells.  And he testified he'd seen his daughter with scratches on her face and a black eye from violent encounters with Dent-Wells. McGhee said he saw Dent-Wells take a silver gun out of his waistband.  "I thought he was going to shoot me," said McGhee.

The court heard a different account from defense attorney Bobby Joe Champion.  In his opening statement, Champion said Amy McGhee let Dent-Wells into the house so they could talk.  The couple had recently split up and Champion says Dent-Wells was unarmed when he took a taxi to see Amy McGhee.  Champion said Dent-Wells told the taxi driver not to leave until he got in the house, because he wasn't sure Amy McGhee would let him in.

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"If you really don't want someone at your house, call the police or get a restraining order," said Champion. But no one in the house called 911 until after the shooting.

Amos McGhee is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm because of past criminal convictions; however, he was not charged for possessing a gun on Feb. 3rd.  Nor was he charged for shooting Dent-Wells.  Champion raised the possibility that the 9 mm pistol McGhee alleges was pointed at him by Dent-Wells may have actually come from McGhee.  Police searched McGhee's home two days after the shooting and found 9 mm ammunition in a bag in his bedroom.  McGhee denied ownership of that 9mm gun.

McGhee did admit to buying the .22 caliber pistol he used to shoot Dent-Wells, even though he knows he's legally prohibited from possessing it.  He testified he bought the gun for protection and he got it "off the street. From a personal owner," said McGhee. "I got the receipt for it."

Champion said evidence in the trial will show Dent-Wells was the victim, not the aggressor.  Dent-Wells was struck three times by bullets fired from McGhee's gun.  Champion says all shots hit him in the back of his body: one bullet hit Dent-Wells in the back of his head, another in his shoulder and the third struck his leg. He said that shows Dent-Wells was trying to get away when he was shot.

The trial continues this week.