MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A Shelby County grand jury will decide if an East Memphis man will stand trial for killing his son.
Patrick Jorgensen, Sr.'s lawyer, Leslie Ballin, waived a preliminary hearing on Friday, October 7, 2011, in order to get the case moved before the grand jury.
Jorgensen has been in and out of court since June trying to fight a voluntary manslaughter charge. Ballin says this is a heartbreaking case of self-defense.
"It's unimaginable to have been put in the situation that Mr. Jorgensen was put in," Ballin tells abc24.com. "It's our position that he, unfortunately, did what he had to do."
52-year-old Jorgensen waited outside the courtroom as Ballin requested the grand jury proceeding. The jury could dismiss Jorgensen's charge, but Ballin doesn't anticipate that happening.
"We expect the charges to be brought," he says. "Certainly, it's always an option for the grand jury to return a not true bill, but I'm really not expecting that."
Jorgensen told abc24.com last month he had no choice but to shoot his son. 24-year-old Patrick Jorgensen, Jr., was schizophrenic and bi-polar. Jorgensen says his son went into a rage and he feared for his life and his daughter's. Ballin says Jorgensen grieves every day.
Ballin's been in close communication with the Shelby County District Attorney's Office trying to get the charge dropped. However, he says, the two sides aren't on the same page, largely because police records say Jorgensen fired multiple shots at his son, even as he lay in the flowerbed outside the family's house.
Ballin says the number of shots shouldn't change the facts of the case.
"You can consider one shot," he says, "or you can consider 100 shots. This was one act that Mr. Jorgensen was reacting to. I believe that he would have kept firing if there had been more bullets. It's just out of fear that he was reacting, and just shooting, not really thinking about each shot, but shooting to defend himself from further attack."
Jorgensen is out of jail on a $50,000 bond.