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Man who shot pro-life canvasser gets probation

by | May 24, 2023

By Dave Andrusko

Having pleaded “no contest last month to felonious assault, careless discharge of a firearm causing injury and reckless discharge of a firearm,” Richard Harvey received probably the lightest possible punishment for shooting Joan Jacobson.

Jacobson, who is 84, was going door-to-door on September 20 on behalf of Right to Life of Michigan to talk to absentee voters about Michigan’s pro-abortion Proposal 3 ballot proposal (which subsequently passed) when Harvey, 75, shot her in the shoulder.

Harvey, of Ionia County in Western Michigan, will get 12 months probation and must complete 100 hours of community service. Judge Suzanne Hoseth Kreeger also imposed a suspended sentence of two months.

“Harvey will not have to serve two months in jail if he abides by the conditions of his probation,” which is essentially to have no contact with Jacobson, according to Evan Sasiela of the Ionia Sentinel-Standard.

Harvey insisted the shooting was accidental—that he had even first fired a warning shot. He said “he was trying to get Jacobson to leave his property after she fought with his wife,” Hannah Riffell reported for Fox News 17.

When Harvey appeared for a preliminary examination in Ionia County District Court on September 20, Jacobson told her side of the story which was wholly different. Reporting for the Daily News Elisabeth Waldon quoted Jacobson as testifying

“I turned and looked to see where she was and then I saw there was a man standing beside her. It just happened so fast. I saw he had a gun, it was a long barrel. By the time it registered in my brain that there was a man with a gun, I heard a shot and I felt the pain. I said to myself ‘did he shoot me?’ I was just in shock and I just started proceeding to get to my car, which was not too far away at that time.”

The shot also struck the clipboard that Jacobsen was holding. Jacobsen said she feared for her life as she got into her car and looked out her window, seeing the Harveys standing there looking at her as Richard was still holding the gun.

“I thought this guy’s gonna shoot me again, right through the window of my car,” she said. “The pain was so intense in my back. I was in shock. Stunned.”

Jacobsen drove herself to the Lake Odessa Police Station, From there, she was taken by ambulance to a Grand Rapids hospital. She was discharged from the hospital later that day.

“The bullet went in and out,” she said. “They said it narrowly missed my spine, it went into the soft tissue.”

Right to Life of Michigan noted at the time that “While Mr. and Mrs. Harvey publicly claim the shooting was an ‘accident,’ Sharon Harvey’s public social media posts raise questions about the motive. Mrs. Harvey’s Facebook page reveals very strong opinions on abortion, the issue the volunteer was canvassing about, and vitriol for prolifers and anyone who disagrees with her.

“Her extensive history of demonstrated hatred for people who disagree with her draws her account into question.”

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