A 12-person Catahoula Parish jury found a Harrisonburg man guilty on Friday, Oct. 4, in the 2018 murder of his father.
The jury announced its 10-2 verdict at 11 p.m. Friday in the Catahoula Parish courtroom in Harrisonburg, where Judge John Reeves presided. Jurors deliberated for two and one-half hours before convicting Charles Bradley Dosher, who was 40 at the time of the murder on January 28, 2018.
Dosher was convicted of three charges in all – second-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and aggravated flight from an officer.
Sentencing is slated for Oct. 24.
Dosher, represented by New Orleans attorney Martin Regan, was accused of shooting his father, 64-year-old Charles Virgil Dosher, with one blast from a sawed-off .410 shotgun.
District Attorney Brad Burget in his opening and closing arguments provided jurors with a chronology of the homicide, including the events leading up to the shooting.
He said that the Catahoula Parish Sheriff’s Office (CPSO) received a call from Carol Dosher that her husband, Charles Virgil Dosher “had been accidently shot” by the couple’s son, Bradley Dosher.
At the scene, officers found the victim had been shot through the back of the neck behind the ear. His body was lying in the doorway between the carport and washroom at the family residence at 15161 Hwy. 124 between Harrisonburg and Jonesville.
The son had fled the scene in his Jeep.
In a statement at the time of the shooting, CPSO Chief Detective Bubba Roy said officers believed that Bradley Dosher was possibly in the Manifest area near Heard’s Cemetery. Roy along with detectives Amy Franklin and Kelvin McKay went to the area but did not find Dosher.
“Once back on Hwy 8 in route back to Harrisonburg,” Roy said, “Sheriff (Toney) Edwards encountered Dosher pulling off Wright Road onto Hwy 8, turning towards Manifest. At that time, the pursuit began he made a U-turn, and fled back into the hills.” The sheriff then “called other units to assist in the pursuit, which took a lengthy route into the hills, and coming out on Rex Poole Road, where deputies encountered Dosher.”
Dosher soon abandoned his vehicle, Burget said, and took off on foot, eventually arriving at the home of Harrisonburg attorney Jackie Owens, where Dosher was arrested.
In his initial statement, Dosher told authorities that he knew nothing about his father being shot.
But on the witness stand at the trial, Dosher testified he and his father had argued at the family home. Later, according to Bradley Dosher’s courtroom testimony, his father armed himself with a shotgun and he, the younger Dosher, decided to take the gun from his father. During the struggle, Dosher claimed the gun went off and struck the elder Dosher.
“But that was contrary to the physical evidence,” Burget said.
He said blood splatter was consistent with the father standing straight up in the doorway and there was no evidence of a physical struggle at the time of the shooting.
The murder weapon was a sawed off .410 Stevens shotgun found in the yard behind a shed, Burget said. Both the barrel and stock of the gun had been sawed off.
The other gun – a double-barrel .410 shotgun that was not sawed off -- was found on top of the victim’s body. Mud was discovered at the end of the barrels that contained one live round and one spent round.
“It was a bad staging of the scene” on the part of the younger Dosher, Burget said. The shells in the double-barrel shotgun found on top of the body were not consistent with the wound on the victim. But the sawed off shotgun found behind the shed had one spent round number 4 shot consistent with the wounds on the victim’s body.
Additionally, a doctor testified that no gunpowder was found on the elder Dosher’s skin.
The metallic shot fired from the shell of the murder weapon passed through the victim’s shirt and then into the neck, according to a firearms expert, who also testified that the gun was fired from four to nine feet from the victim. That indicated, Burget said, there was no physical struggle at the time the weapon was fired.
According to Burget, father and son had a violent history.
One year earlier, Bradley Dosher had beaten his father with a lamp and had cut the tires on his father’s truck. When law enforcement offices arrived at the scene, Bradley Dosher had fled but returned.
Refusing to obey the direction of officers to remain still during this event a year prior to the murder, Burget said Dosher barricaded himself in the bathroom before using force to unhinge the door and slam it onto the policemen outside. He fought and scuffled with police and was tased.
During the episode, Burget said Dosher cried for his mother.
Dosher’s attorney said that years prior to the murder, Bradley Dosher had been beaten severely in the face, a circumstance that adversely affected him mentally.
Burget said the mother, Carol Dosher, gave authorities inconsistent statements. During cross-examination, she admitted that she was not an eyewitness to the accident, but she said she was certain it was an accidental shooting.
Burget said there had been an ongoing argument between Bradley Dosher and his father, Virgil Dosher, over the sale of some property in 2016.
Bradley Dosher was prone to anger and lacked self-control, Burget said.
Burget said he appreciated the work of law enforcement in the case and also thanked jurors.
“I’m very happy that citizens of Catahoula Parish showed up for jury duty,” he said. “It was a long and tedious process, but justice cannot be served without our citizens coming forward and serving as jurors. And I appreciate everything that they did. The criminal justice system worked properly.”