This whole thing sounds hinky. There are just so many things that don't add up; clearly we're not getting the whole picture from this one article.
First, I'll say up front I tend to favor the castle doctrine and believe an individual should be allowed to use deadly force to protect themselves if they believe their life is in danger.
On to this story though. let's look at it piece by piece. The intruders were family. That makes me think twice to start with. Was there bad blood between them? Did the home owner have a specific reason to fear these two? Or did he have some sort of grudge against them? Did the kids think they were 'just visiting a relative'? Did they have a key/know where the home owner kept a key? Or did they break in?
Next, the homeowner says he shot the first person on the stairs and they fell. Then he went over and finished him off. More than likely the first shot was justifiable (again, under the limited information we have here) but I don't think any state allows you to then go over and kill the now disabled person where they lie. If I wanted to make a defense for his actions I could suppose the home owner felt trapped as he was in a basement and most likely his only way out was past the now fallen invader, and theoretically the invader may have been down but not out and if armed still capable of killing the home owner. That does seem like quite a stretch though, doesn't it.
Then after killing the first person he doesn't call the police or even check the rest of the house. He stays in the basement and sits back down in a chair. This strikes me as an odd thing to do - why did he do it? Without knowing the exact situation I could easily imagine this as a sign of mental instability. I just killed one of my relatives. Hmm...wonder who's on Conan tonight?
We also have the comment from the home owner of 'I wanted him dead'. Again, how do we take that? I wanted him dead as in - 'I never liked that kid and always wished I had a reason to kill him'? Or 'I wanted to make sure the perp was 100% incapacitated as I feared for my life'?
Then we have the girl who comes in after the first person has been killed. Why did she come in now? Was she concerned about the first guy? Did she think that because this was a relative's house they were welcome to come in and was worried about the gun shots? Was she stoned out of her mind? Who knows? Though that last part might tell us a bit about why she laughed at the home owner after being shot but not killed.
Now we have that laugh and 2nd killing shot. We're taking the home owner's word for the laugh, but I don't know what he would gain by making this up. It does make me think that not only might the home owner have been unstable, but the invader as well. You've just been shot; you've fallen down the stairs and are laying there gasping for breath and the man who shot you (your relative) is standing over you tying to shot you again but his gun jams. And you choose to laugh. Not plead with him, not cringe, not try to get away or continue your (supposed) attack. You laugh. I guess if you watch a lot of a certain type of movie that might seem cool - laughing at death - but in real life who does that?
And once again the home owner, clearly not in fear for his life, takes out a second weapon and shoots the 2nd invader (his relative remember) under the chin to ensure she's dead. The best thing I can give him here is maybe he saw it as a mercy killing if she was in such bad shape from the initial shots. Still, this simply isn't justifiable under any law I can imagine. This unquestionably pushes the home owner's actions well beyond self defense.
And lastly we have the gap in time where the home owner leaves the dead in his home and waits until the next day before calling his neighbor to ask for advice about an attorney. Again, not the actions of a typical self-defense case in any way, shape, or form. I can't really even think of a way to spin that in the home owner's favor.
So, looking at everything point by point, I suspect the home owner is going to jail for murder and rightly so. I don't think this comes down as a capitol case as I can't see any way this falls under 'premeditated' unless somehow he set the kids up by telling them to come over that night - again quite the stretch of imagination.
There are many things we don't know, but I think the deciding factor for the home owner's fate will be the fact that he killed each invader after they were no longer a threat to him.
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Last edited by zelatore; 11-27-2012 at 01:44 PM.