Followup on Negative Outcome (Part I)

It’s useful to track a Negative Outcome incident from start to finish. In this case, the Negative Outcome was an Unjustifiable Shooting.

Man who killed teens trespassing on property sentenced to prison

A quick summary of the events is:

  • Two individuals were on a Michigan man’s property, early in the morning.
  • Most likely their intent was to steal. They were on a ‘crime spree.’
  • The man heard them and came out on his porch with a .22 semi-automatic rifle.
  • He challenged them.
  • At least one of them began to run away.
  • He shot both of them and killed them.
  • An investigation followed.
  • Months later, he was arrested and charged with two counts of second degree murder.
  • More than two years later, he was convicted and sentenced to a long prison term.

Just as with the Duel at the Dumpster, there are a number of lessons to be learned from this unfortunate incident.

8 responses

  1. But, but, . . . it’s the imminent commission of a (vehicle) burglary, a forcible felony, to which I may respond with deadly force to prevent its commission. Hear it all the time from those who think they know the Florida law of justification. Might seem so, but not what most prosecutors likely believe, or the case law suggests, nor is it what most of the judges would rule. As for the fact that the malefactors were in flight — to quote you – well there’s that too.

    And then there’s another provision of Florida law which would seem to make using deadly force against somewhat committing a crime on the curtilage of your home justifiable. Ah, but the Standard Jury Instruction for that one requires (even though the statute does not) “the defendant reasonably believed that the force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.”

  2. Sarcasm alert.

    So, it’s either the Uncle Joe Biden model “use a shotgun and shoot them through the door” or the rural justice model ” Shoot, shovel and shut up.” right?

    Criminality pays and there are virtually no consequences; if it goes south, just walk away, just kidding.

    Specifically, what is a Law Abiding Citizen supposed to do? Just take it up the ass when they come back tomorrow morning?

    1. Revenge is a dish best served cold. Firing once they start running is just revenge and this guy obviously wasn’t cold about it.

  3. The law is stacked against the law abiding. To cite the instance cited above, if the individuals had just raped and killed the man’s wife but presented no threat to anyone, currently, would he have been justified in what he did? To any sane individual the answer is clear. To hear the monkeys of the law, no you are taking the law into your hands. Well my answer to all of this is where was the law when your wife was killed? Will the law provide redress for your loss?

    The law is the undertaker. It provides aid and comfort to the guilty and buries the law abiding.

    1. I think that’s a rather extreme view of a case where the shooter put a round into a man’s back at 112 yards while the individual was running away.

  4. Rev Andrew Marcell

    It’s hard to justify shooting a fleeing person. If a person is running away they are no longer threats.

    1. Your reasoning only applies IF the fleeing criminal(s) are not already under Citizens Arrest. The Law allows the level of force necessary to retain control and custody of your prisoner (who must have committed a felony, preferably against you, or in your presence). An escaping prisoner is fair game. Few citizens know about this. And, like the jerk who is going to jail for decades, face harsh consequences. Any body using a firearm for ‘protection’ would do well to research the law on deadly force. Of course, if in doubt, hold your fire. Also, the reason attorney’s say other than identifying yourself, and providing an overview of what happened, don’t make any comments. After talking with a really helpful attorney, the details about the ‘Citizen’s Arrest’ would come out, precluding any charges against the homeowner. On the other hand, there would be no use for a Trial Attorney if there were no charges. So, is your Attorney working for you or his own best interest. Just because a citizen is legally allowed to possess a firearm, doesn’t mean it is a good idea for everyone.

      1. With reference to “Citizen’s Arrest,” what state’s law do you purport to be stating? That state confirms this? – – “An escaping prisoner is fair game.”

        I think you expressed a concern that an attorney might forego asserting a viable defense because a trial or other proceeding serves the attorney’s interest (more fee I suppose you think), while terminating the case earlier does not, although it is better for the client. If that’s what you stated, you are mistaken. Woefully mistaken. When an attorney fails to assert a defense that might be viable to an onlooker, it is usually because it is not viable (citizen’s arrest is rarely for example), because the attorney knows facts and law that the onlooker does not.

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