Attorney says man fatally shot by his father struggled with mental health and drug addiction

Jessica Willey Image
Saturday, January 22, 2022
Man charged with son's murder says he shot in self-defense
The father's attorney said the man had absolutely no other choice after his 27-year-old son relapsed from a drug addiction and attacked him outside their home.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A father, who was charged with murder this week for the shooting death of his son, said he was desperate to get him help and only fired in self-defense.

John Iaens, 67, is out of jail on a $75,000 bond. He is accused in the shooting death of his 27-year-old son, Andrew Iaens.

According to police, officers were called to a home on Rollingbrook in southwest Houston just after midnight on Tuesday, where they found Andrew dead from multiple gunshot wounds on the front lawn. John remained at the scene and was arrested.

A witness told police the father and son were arguing when John shot and killed Andrew, but John's attorney told ABC13 that it's not that simple. Defense Attorney Wilvin Carter said Andrew had documented mental health issues and had been fighting drug addiction since his late teens.

"He absolutely had no other choice," said Carter. "It's a terrible position to be placed in. As a parent, it's a living nightmare."

John sat next to Carter during the interview, but did not speak, on Carter's advice. Carter said the father is grieving but also forced to defend himself.

"It was a split-second decision where he said, 'I have to protect myself against my child,'" said Carter. "Dad, on this occasion, said, 'We're going to get you back in rehab again.' He tried to calm him down. Andrew relapsed and started attacking dad."

The fight ended up on the lawn. Carter said John had a gun and fired when he felt threatened. Andrew was 6 feet and 8 inches tall, weighed 250 pounds, and had previously been charged with assaulting his dad.

"This is a clear case of self-defense," said Carter.

Carter also said they agreed to an interview because they are advocating for more help. They know there are many other families going through similar trying times with loved ones battling addiction and mental illness.

"We can't continue to ignore mental health issues. We can't continue to push drug addiction under the rug. We are begging, as a community, for more resources to be poured into these two issues," said Carter.

The murder case still has to go to a Harris County grand jury, where Carter hopes it will be no-billed based on the circumstances.

If you or a loved one is battling addiction or mental health, below are links some resources.


Mental health: Where to find help and resources in the Greater Houston area

5 ways you can support someone dealing with mental health issues

How neuroengineering is helping people fight addiction in Houston

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