Patterico's Pontifications

9/28/2008

Jury Acquits Texas Man in Death of 13-Year-Old Intruder (Updated)

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 5:37 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Last April, I posted on a case in which a Laredo, Texas, homeowner was indicted for murder after he shot and killed a 13-year-old who, with three friends, had broken into the homeowner’s mobile home looking for snacks.

Last week the Houston Chronicle reported the homeowner, Jose Luis Gonzalez, had been tried and acquitted of murder. Not surprisingly, defendant and his counsel were pleased with the verdict while the prosecutor and the deceased’s relatives were disappointed. For our purposes, what’s interesting is that the facts developed at trial paint a more detailed picture of what happened that night:

“The 63-year-old Gonzalez had endured several break-ins at his trailer when the four boys, ranging in age from 11-15, broke into the mobile home in July 2007. Gonzalez was in a nearby building at the time.

Gonzalez went into the trailer and confronted the boys with a 16-gauge shotgun. Then he forced the boys, who were unarmed, to their knees, attorneys on both sides say.

The boys say they were begging for forgiveness when Gonzalez hit them with the barrel of the shotgun and kicked them repeatedly. Then, the medical examiner testified, 13-year-old Francisco Anguiano was shot in the back at close range. Two mashed Twinkies and some cookies were stuffed in the pockets of his shorts.

Another boy, Jesus Soto Jr., now 16, testified that Gonzalez ordered them at gunpoint to take Anguiano’s body outside.

Gonzalez said he thought Anguiano was lunging at him when he fired the shotgun, claiming he feared for his life.”

Gonzalez’s defense counsel is running unopposed for DA in November. He was quoted strongly supporting the homeowner’s right to protect his life and property, not only in this case but “across the board.” Apparently Laredo residents share his view since the linked article states many local residents supported Gonzalez. The article suggested the community reaction was related to the widespread drug-related violence that has spilled over the border into Laredo from Mexico.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor is an assistant DA. His closing argument focused on when a homeowner is justified in using deadly force to protect property, and he described this as a case of vigilantism in which a “13-year-old boy was killed because a man was enraged.”

As an outsider, it sounds like there is truth to both sides of this story and that this may be a more complex tale than the Joe Horn case.

UPDATE 9/29/2008: I’ve found several links to earlier stories in the Laredo Morning Times, including this one in which the homeowner tells his side of the story:

“Isidro R. Alaniz – [the attorney] who Gonzalez hired Thursday after initially requesting the services of attorney Eduardo Jaime earlier in the week -said the shotgun blast that killed Francisco Anguiano, 13, was an accident. He said the shot came only because his client was defending himself and his property.

“He came face to face with four individuals ransacking his home,” Alaniz said. “He ordered them to stop, and he ordered them to get on their knees. Mr. Gonzalez feared for his life in this moment. When he ordered them to their knees, they refused.”

A standoff ensued. One of the teens, Alaniz said, made a motion toward Gonzalez. Alaniz said that it was then that Gonzalez began to strike the teens with the barrel end of the shotgun and, while trying to get Anguiano to kneel, the gun went off.

Anguiano refused to kneel, Alaniz said. “In the commotion, the weapon went off and he was shot.”

During most of the meeting Thursday afternoon, a tired-looking Gonzalez remained quiet and rarely spoke. He nodded or shook his head when questions were asked, preferring to let Alaniz speak.

Alaniz said that recent statements made by one of the survivors were false.

Tuesday the teen in question said that while Anguiano lay bleeding on the floor, Gonzales continued to point the weapon at the other teens and strike them. Those allegations, Alaniz said, were not true.

“That, we maintain, is a fabrication,” Alaniz said. “We maintain those statements are self-serving statements.”

He added that although the sheriff’s department interpreted the allegations as true, he is confident that a jury would not.

“I myself do not understand the rationale being used by the sheriff’s department, plain and simple. They are taking the word of these kids,” Alaniz said. He added that he was surprised that the teens have not been charged with any crime.

Alaniz also said that the entire event took less than a minute, not more than five as the teen said.

“When the gun went off, everyone was in shock,” he said. “It happened so fast.”

I haven’t found an article that verifies whether Gonzalez testified at trial but I suspect he must have. If he did, the jury clearly found his story credible.

— DRJ

115 Responses to “Jury Acquits Texas Man in Death of 13-Year-Old Intruder (Updated)”

  1. I bet the kid had a mustache

    jimboster (364ef3)

  2. Then, the medical examiner testified, 13-year-old Francisco Anguiano was shot in the back at close range.

    It does sound different than the Joe Horn case. Shot in the back at close range, but on their knees asking for forgiveness. Did this guy report the previous break-ins (on police logs). Did he know these 4 kids from previous encounters. Need to read your original post but it doesn’t sound like this homeowner was threatened – maybe just enraged. He may have even known them, and it could’ve involved more than junk food. This guy more or less got the Twinkie defense with a twist. Not sure I agree with it.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  3. VN,

    I don’t think it’s clear the 13-year-old was on his knees when he was shot, just that he had been on his knees at some point. I wish we had more on the testimony but I haven’t been able to find it.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  4. The asshole had a shotgun, the kids were unarmed, and he was out of harm’s way to begin with. But with me, the decisive factor is that the kid was only 13. Well, he escaped this world’s justice but another world’s justice awaits him. Were I Minos, a shotgun blast in the back, every second for eternity, would be an almost just punishment for taking a child’s life over Twinkies and cookies.

    nk (5335a4)

  5. DRJ, thanks. After I go back and read the initial post, it might answer some questions. Especially if they were local kids and if he knew them beforehand. (Drug deal or something worse.)

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  6. I think both articles suggest Gonzalez was upset at repeated break-ins.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  7. nk, I think you’re off base here. The homeowner had no way of knowing for sure that the punk kids were unarmed.

    There is a tragedy here, but the tragedy is that these teenagers were willing to risk their lives over snacks.

    If I had to guess what _really_ happened, as opposed to what the defense attorneys coached the kids into saying what happened, the miscreant decided to make a run for it rather than to face justice for his actions. He made a series of stupid decisions, first, to break in in the first place, and second, to run to try to avoid being arrested. He rolled the dice and came up short.

    Skip (522b21)

  8. “Gonzalez said he thought Anguiano was lunging at him when he fired the shotgun, claiming he feared for his life.”

    I would have liked to see the demonstration of how you shoot someone in the back with a shotgun who is lunging at you. If the stock and barrel were sawed off I could see it.

    I’m all for people being able to defend themselves and their property, but this sounds no where near that.

    Unfair punishment is about the most provoking thing you can do. There are several friends of the dead boy who are likely to not rest until they see Mr. Gonzalez on his knees and begging… before he is shot from the front and his shotgun is found at his side and 3-4 witnesses describing self-defense. I’m not saying that would be justified, but apart from the grace of God working forgiveness in the hearts of those boys this will happen. If not it will because the boys destroyed their own lives first in one manner or another.

    No matter how tough the streets of Laredo, as presented this sounds unbelievable.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  9. One 60 year old guy vs 4 teenage boys who already demonstrated a willingness to break the law, in a state KNOWN for the Castle doctrine?

    I’d be pretty worried for my life if they left the control stance, too.

    But then, I’m highly biased against felons of any age…..

    Foxfier (15ac79)

  10. Skip #7,

    I guess we disagree as to under what circumstances we’d kill a thirteen-year old.

    And I also wonder just how hard the prosecutor fought for his case against the defense attorney who will be his new boss in five weeks.

    nk (5335a4)

  11. I don’t buy the separate system for violent juvenile offenders. Let’s have fewer victims down the road. Too many punks have their records sealed and also get slaps on the wrist.

    Maybe Jack Klompus recalls what happened to the Philly punk who copied wrestling moves and killed a little girl. The kid promised to be good but continued to be a criminal miscreant.

    Parents bear some culpability if they make no effort to teach right and wrong. I’ve heard too many stories about kids in middle school being very assaultive in the classrooms with the teacher standing right there. Might be quite sad to lose your life over small nonsense, but how many victims suffer from coddling of so-called youthful offenders? In this case that kid won’t be a recidivist. How many punks will kill someone because they had an attitude and thought they were dissed? Maybe the Saudis have the right idea with the hands lopped off for thievery? And how about pulling a loreena bobbit for forcible rapists.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  12. I’m not for coddling youthful offenders either.

    Had the kids been a recurrent problem, I guess I would’ve seen buckshot scattered among 4 backsides at a distance perhaps more just.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  13. Buckshot in the backside at any distance under 70 yards will cripple or kill. I think you meant rock salt or powder shot.

    nk (5335a4)

  14. I bet it’s a given that those kids, had they had the time would have taken more than just snacks. Still, this is not a case I would submit as the poster example of the castle doctrine.

    Shodo (dbfcb4)

  15. Going on the facts as reported, I would deny self-defense if the kid was shot execution style on his knees, as that’s what has been asserted.

    Without background, speculation becomes increasingly difficult, as partial blame for this could rest in so many areas. I’m actually quite incensed at the simplistic way that so many stories are presented by the media, as the impairment of the citizenry to make informed decisions leads to the inability to prevent occurrences such as this one.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  16. First – the US atorney maybe charging Joe Horn – he’s not off the hook especially since

    Neither victim was on his property

    Horn expressed a desire to kill them on the phone with police dispatch

    This case will be retried and the guy will get at least 10 years

    The Castle doctrine – according to the author – is going to be removed as SOON as the legisature convenes

    Everyone did not intend it to mean wholesale executions

    EricPWJohnson (c00a5d)

  17. The only injustice here is that he stopped with after the first.

    Soronel Haetir (2fa914)

  18. I haven’t seen a 16-guage shotgun in regular use since 1957. Did Gonzalez actually use the gun on occasion, or was it an antique snatched from a display case in the heat of the moment?

    The local gunshops here don’t stock 16 or 28 guage shells, although both were popular years ago. (The 28 makes for a great upland bird gun.) Gonzalez could be a reloader, however paper shells went out in the early 60s, and you just don’t get all that many reloads from plastic. Maybe it’s different in Lorado.

    That aside, shooting a kid in the back at close range requires a lot more of an explaination than what’s available so far. I see in the linked article that Gonzalez said “the gun went off.” I’ve heard that one before, way too many times.

    Guns don’t just “go off” by themselves, someone puts their finger on the trigger and pulls it, that’s the way guns go off. Notice that whenever someone says a gun “went off” it’s never when the gun is unattended, it only seems to happen when someone is holding the gun, with their finger on the trigger. Strange how that works.

    There’s got to be more to the story to even begin to justify an acquittal, otherwise it stinks to high heaven.

    Ropelight (1be620)

  19. I guess in Texas you don’t have a duty to retreat before using deadly force. Minnessota has concealed carry, but you can’t advance towards danger, you can only use your weapon when no alternative exists. It recognizes the right of self-defense, while admitting that in civilized society we have delgated the right to execute the law to the police.

    Fritz (2d9fe6)

  20. There’s a little more detail here.

    Fritz – As I understand it, Texas law was changed last year to eliminate the duty to retreat.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  21. Eric,

    There’s no way Texas will eliminate the Castle doctrine, but it wasn’t the issue in these cases. It may be that the person you heard was referring to last year’s change in the duty to retreat.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  22. I see the defense lawyer is a Democrat. Any chance we can get some Dems to comment here who share similar views on the right to protect private property?

    Ropelight (1be620)

  23. To nk- yes, I was using a term generically that had a more specific meaning. I was thinking about shot that would widely scatter and not be life-threatening.

    It would be interesting to know if there was physical evidence corroborating the teens’ story about being kicked and hit with the gun barrel- sounds like there should have been bruising, cuts, etc.

    Counselors, 4 teens break into a trailer to steal snacks. Owner of trailer confronts them with shotgun, orders them on the ground, starts kicking them and hitting them with the steal gun barrel. At that moment who is more justified in being afraid of being killed? One of the 4 either lunges trying to get out of the trailer or at the feet of the homeowner while he is beating on one of the others. Since he is on the floor already, the best he hopes for is grabbing the shooters feet/lower legs to knock him down. He doesn’t reach the target in time, homeowner has time to point gun almost straight down and fires inches away from the boys back. Shooter orders other boys to drag body out, hindering the investigation of what actually happened. Perhaps if the fellow was charged with something other than murder he would have been convicted- (yes, all speculation).

    I would suggest Mr. Rodriguez move to another area. If “shooting a teenager over a Twinkie” is considered ok by some, shooting an adult who killed a teen over a Twinkie will be considered ok by others.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  24. Perhaps if the fellow was charged with something other than murder he would have been convicted- (yes, all speculation).

    Yup. That’s one way for the prosecution to throw the case while looking hard as nails. Bring the most difficult charge to prove and not include something easier such as voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. The judge is bound to instruct the jury according to the indictment and lesser includeds not charged are not instructed unless the defense asks them to be.

    nk (5335a4)

  25. I can hear it now: The ringleader says to his co-conspirators, “Let’s break into that old man’s trailer and steal some twinkies.” And I’m the flying nun.

    tmac (7d180f)

  26. Sally?

    Apogee (366e8b)

  27. If you believe I’m Sally you also believe every work printed in the New York Times, the LA Times and the Houston Chronicle.

    tmac (7d180f)

  28. every word not work

    tmac (7d180f)

  29. “The judge is bound to instruct the jury according to the indictment and lesser includeds not charged are not instructed unless the defense asks them to be.”

    That’s not how it works in California. Judges must instruct on lessers on their own motion, if there is evidence in the record from which the jury could acquit of the greater but convict of the lessers.

    It’s a little tough to have a firm opinion without hearing the evidence, but it does seem quite difficult to imagine how this could be self-defense given the facts described. Sounds like a first-degree murder to me, and a terrible tragedy.

    Patterico (d33aec)

  30. Our Host-
    I can see a situation where it would be self defense, from my (rather basic) intrusion training in the Navy:
    The guy realizes he has home intruders, gets the drop on them, and tells them to go to the standard control position. (Kinda like the cops saying “get on your knees and lace your hands behind your head.” There’s just not much you can do from that position.)

    Since he’s outnumbered four to one against teenage males, he’s jumpy. A grandfather aged man just doesn’t stand a chance with those sort of odds, even with a gun, unless he can keep the invaders from overpowering him.

    One of the teens gets stupid and gets up, to either attack or run; the nervous older man shoots him, because when you’ve got four invaders in your home, against just you and your gun, you have your finger on the trigger and a surge of motion going to be read as an attack.

    Now, the young felons say that he was beating on them– I’d be very interested to find if there is ANY evidence of this, beyond their word. Frankly, it sounds like something you’d come up with to make the guy who shot your buddy while you were robbing his place look bad.

    I don’t like the situation myself, but I can see where the home owner was coming from– my dad is younger than him, and in great shape, but I wouldn’t pit him against, say, my brother and three friends at age 13.

    Foxfier (15ac79)

  31. Horrible.

    What kind of mentality does it take to shoot a 13-year old kid in the back? Some extreme form of malice or cowardice, but either one is contemptible…

    Leviticus (41975c)

  32. Patterico #29,

    I was going by Illinois law, myself. In Illinois all degrees of homicide, except vehicular homicide, are automatically lesser includeds of murder but the trial court has no authority to interfere with either the prosecution’s charging discretion or the defense’s strategy. Either side must request the instruction. There is an Ilinois Supreme Court case which threatens trial judges with removal for reducing charges on their own motion. (Somewhat paradoxically, there is an appeals rule which allows the appellate courts to reduce a conviction to a lesser included without remand for retrial.)

    Whether that is the rule in Texas … oh well.

    MD in Philly, gun-geekiness is irrepressible.

    nk (5335a4)

  33. #18 beat me to it, a 16 GAGE?? Not a very commonly used caliber, my Grandfather hunted rabbits with one. I not only wouldn’t convict Mr. Gonzalez, I’d give him a reward, but then I think car thieves should be hung.

    Frank Drackman (af2a6b)

  34. His closing argument focused on when a homeowner is justified in using deadly force to protect property, and he described this as a case of vigilantism in which a “13-year-old boy was killed because a man was enraged.”

    No, a 13-year-old boy was killed because he and his idiot friends broke into a guy’s trailer.

    Everything after that is a result of that initial decision.

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  35. DRJ

    Its being withdrawn it already has the votes the bills author and the Governor are withdrawing it

    The comments were made immediately by the bills author after it became apparent that Horn felt he had law enforcement authority to use deadly force and nearly killed an undercover police officer who was on scene.

    Its been responsible for over 20 deaths including children. Some examples a mom retrieving a soccer ball and a kid cutting through a front yard to catch a school bus.

    It will be re-introduced with stricter rules of engagement

    Louisiana and Montana have the same laws but not outside the house and the culprits clearly have to be armed or a reasonable standard that they could do harm.

    Horn gunned them down, now we have a guy executing a kid

    One way or another this is a bad application of a horrible law

    EricPWJohnson (c00a5d)

  36. Horn gunned them down, now we have a guy executing a kid

    In your opinion, based upon the words of a group of children who have many reasons to lie like cheap whores.

    Way to take the said the only involved group we know to be criminals…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  37. Way to take the side of the only

    Must… Get… Caffeine…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  38. Scott

    As a former law enforcement guy – There is NO reason to execute an unarmed person – this just happens to be the UNITED STATES of AMERICA

    We the People exercise the right to try criminals in a court of law.

    Its emotional I know but there is no reason to nearly blow a guy in half over a twinky

    Even in Texas

    EricPWJohnson (c00a5d)

  39. Its emotional I know but there is no reason to nearly blow a guy in half over a twinky

    Ok. I’ll just send 4 people you don’t know to break into your house. You will have no idea what they are carrying on their person or what their intentions are. You will only know you’re out-numbered 4 to one.

    Sorry. I have 4 people of anything over toddler age that just broke into my house, and my natural reaction is going to be “shoot them”.

    Then again, I tend to side with the safety of the homeowner.

    I’m silly like that.

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  40. Also, “nearly blow a guy in half” is damn near impossible with a 16 gauge unless he pumped out several rounds.

    Hell, even point blank 12-gauge would take at least two…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  41. Our esteemed host wrote:

    Sounds like a first-degree murder to me, and a terrible tragedy.

    First-degree? It hardly seems as though it could have been premeditated, in that the punks broke into his house, not vice-versa. If such a case occurred in your area, would you prosecute on first degree, or would such a charge be placed looking to plead down?

    I’ve got to agree with NK on this one: it seems a huge stretch to the notion of self-defense, if the killing actually occurred as described. But the fact is that the prosecution did its job in bringing the charges and the defense did its job in presenting a defense; it was the jury which decided that Mr Gonzalez was not guilty.

    Was this jury nullification?

    The amused Dana (3e4784)

  42. Hmmm, I guess that I should have changed the handle from the last time; “The amused Dana” isn’t appropriate for this case.

    The saddened Dana (3e4784)

  43. Did you read the story, Scott? He was not in the trailer when the kids broke in. He was at a neighbor’s home. He was perfectly safe. Just what was in his trailer that’s worth a 13-year old’s life?

    nk (5335a4)

  44. Mr Jacobs: It seems to me that you are arguing the wrong case. You are arguing from the perspective that the homeowner is actively defending himself from an immediately impending attack. But if, as the story states, the boys were “on their knees,” in a basically helpless position. If that is the case, the homeowner is no longer engaged in self-defence, but has the criminals under control. In forcing them down with his firearm, he had already defended himself.

    The appropriate action at that point is to call the police to come and haul the miscreants away, not call the hearse.

    The saddened Dana (3e4784)

  45. At least the homeowner, who never sought to have his home invaded by these vermin, is alive and physically unharmed. Better to be judged by a jury than carried by pallbearers. And it is now a certainty that poor widdle misunderstood cretin kid won’t replicate his genes. Might even send a message to respect private property, but I doubt it. Why couldn’t they get their snacks at home? Would they have passed on material wealth or boozes, drugs if they were present?
    I see no mention of race or ethnicity so can we assume this is not a “hate crime” thing?

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  46. I see emotionalism is clouding people’s judgement here. How did the homeowner know that the criminals breaking in his home were looking for snacks?

    The homeowner was out numbered 4 to one. Were these in shape kids? What would all of you be saying if these 4 had killed the homeowner in their criminal desire for free snacks?

    Where the hell is this society where we are excusing breaking and entering to begin with?

    PCD (1df2b5)

  47. I’ve been to a War, a World’s Fair, and a Rodeo, but I’ve never trespassed in someones house, I don’t know, that neurotic Jewish upbringing I guess. My only gripe is he let the other 3 live, thats why they make guns with High Capacity Magazines.

    Frank Drackman (af2a6b)

  48. Was this jury nullification?

    I would like to know the racial and socio-economic makeup of the jury. “Trailer trash killing trailer trash (or n-words killing n-words) so who gives a hoot?” does happen. But rarely. Jurors who care enough to serve care enough to try to do justice.

    nk (5335a4)

  49. If that is the case, the homeowner is no longer engaged in self-defence, but has the criminals under control

    And if one were to lunge forward, what would you think?

    Personally, I would think “attack”, but I think we’ve long since established I care little for the well-being of criminals, most especially ones that may be in my house…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  50. NK’s point #43 is correct: if the events are accurately described, Mr Gonzalez was not engaged in self-defense at all, in that he had to, in effect, charge the burglars to come within a reasonable self-defense radius.

    He very specifically took a property defense situation, and by his actiopns created a situation in which he claimed self-defense.

    Mr Jacobs: is it your contention that the defense of property alone is sufficient to justify the use of lethal force?

    The saddened Dana (3e4784)

  51. It seems madmax333, frank, and I would get along well sittin’ at a bar. 🙂

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  52. Scott

    Shot in the back at point blank range with a shotgun is:

    shot in the back point blank range with a shotgun

    EricPWJohnson (c00a5d)

  53. Mr Jacobs wrote:

    And if one were to lunge forward, what would you think?

    Given that the boy was shot in the back, if he lunged forward, he would have been trying to escape, not to attack.

    I understand your point, and the position from which you come, but I’d say that this isn’t a very good case on which to make your point.

    The saddened Dana (3e4784)

  54. Mr Jacobs: is it your contention that the defense of property alone is sufficient to justify the use of lethal force?

    It is my contention that anyone who enters my home without my express permission has given me permission to shoot them.

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  55. Shot in the back at point blank range with a shotgun is:

    and

    Given that the boy was shot in the back, if he lunged forward, he would have been trying to escape, not to attack.

    If the boys were facing him, and kneeling, and they lunged forward, they would have been well below the height for a straight ahead shot. The homeowner would have had to lower his aiming point downward, and this would have put the target on the “victim’s” back.

    Try it with a paintball gun. It will be impossible to NOT shoot the kid in the back, while still having been lunged for.

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  56. It seems madmax333, frank, and I would get along well sittin’ at a bar.

    You’d get along with me too, Scott. I have a mirror for when I want to talk with somebody who always agrees with me. 😉

    nk (5335a4)

  57. Imagine you’re standing at the Pearly Gate and Saint Peter asks how you happened to kill that 13 year old kid back in Lorado.

    You explain 4 kids broke into your trailer and took some snack food. It had happened before so you were ready. Hearing the commotion, you grabbed your trusty shotrgun, closed in, and got the drop on all 4 perps.

    As you held them at gun point, the kids were on their knees praying for forgiveness. But while you were kicking them and beating with your gun to teach them not to mess with you, the one kid “lunged,” so in fear for your life, you blasted him in the back.

    The other kids said you made them drag the cadaver outside. So, you got a good lawyer and he took it from there. Anyway the jury acquited you, and that’s that.

    Saint Peter then informs you that you’ll have to wait while a higher authority takes a close look at your case. The waiting room is in the basement.

    Ropelight (1be620)

  58. But seriously, doesn’t it scare you to know that there are people who breathe the same air you do who will kill you over Twinkies and cookies?

    nk (5335a4)

  59. Break into a home in texas and expect to get shot fool kid should have stuck with playing NINTENDO

    Krazy Kagu (34b826)

  60. I crossposted with Ropelight. Ropelight’s comment is the superior one.

    nk (5335a4)

  61. It seems our opinions need some additional information to become conclusions.

    IF there is physical evidence on the boys of being beaten as they described, it seems likely that he did have all four on the ground and under control. If so, when he chose to beat them he was not acting in self defense, and it seems unlikely that he shot someone in the back in self defense.

    IF NO physical evidence of the beating as described, there is little point in arguing against self defense, I think.

    If you are talking about a 67 year old man confronting 4 youth in his home and he shoots one when he makes a move instead of “staying put” I agree with those sympathetic to the home owner. But no excuse for anything except calling the police if all four on their knees in front of you with a shotgun.

    Otherwise you are saying that there is no logic behind proportionality of a crime and the punishment. Injustice breeds resentment, resentment triggered becomes rage, rage unfettered gives escalating violence. True with 3 year olds, 13 year olds, _3 year olds.

    My son is a young officer on the Philly police force. When searching a suspect the other night his hand hit the butt of a sawed-off shotgun in the guy’s belt. He did not shoot him in the back claiming the guy made a move to get the weapon to fire at him, because thugs with such weapons deserve to die anyway. He ordered him down, put a knee in his back as he disarmed and cuffed him. Yeah, the guy is a thug that needs to be off the street for awhile, but street execution is not the just punishment for someone who had used the threat of violence (“only”) for a few robberies.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  62. Mr Jacobs @ #55:

    If the boys were facing him, and kneeling, and they lunged forward, they would have been well below the height for a straight ahead shot. The homeowner would have had to lower his aiming point downward, and this would have put the target on the “victim’s” back.

    Actually, in such an event, the most likely wound would be to the top of the head and straight down the back. The story makes it sound as though this was a perpendicular shot, which, under your scenario, could be accomplished only if the boy was face down on the floor.

    In any other event, there would be a serious angle to the entry wound.

    The saddened Dana (3e4784)

  63. Must remember to never “pop in” to visit Scott! Always call first.

    Scott, Frank, madmaxx333, you guys must be a blast come Halloween. Just sitting on your porch and muttering “keep moving” to the trick-or-treating” crowd? That’ll show those ingrates!

    Oh, Frank, I’m amused your “neurotic Jewish” upbringing never included the concept of mercy or “an eye for an eye.”

    timb (a83d56)

  64. Actually, in such an event, the most likely wound would be to the top of the head and straight down the back.

    Really? When kneeling you are able to lunge at shoulder level to someone taller than you while is standing?

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  65. Always call first.

    No need to call ahead.

    Just don’t come in without being invited.

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  66. Scott at #55, I agree with your description (but not your conclusion) and included it in my post # 23.

    What is at issue for Mr. Gonzalez and society? Defense against bodily harm? Defense against theft of property? Teaching a bunch of punks a lesson not to break into peoples houses? Teaching a bunch of punks that when you break into houses you better have a gun to blow the homeowner away if you are confronted?

    As I said above in # 61, final judgement I think is highly dependent on just what happened. I am not justifying burglary and theft. But I am also not justifying beating teenagers at gunpoint for burglary and theft.

    If Gonzalez did not have the situation under control and felt threatened, even if mistakenly so, I side with him. But if he had the situation under control he had no authority to “inflict justice” himself. Even if he lost control of the situation as he was beating them, he bears some responsibility as the teens had more reason to fear for their lives than he did.

    If the story is closer to what the teens said, this is what you have taught them:
    Damn! It was a stupid thing for us to do, he had a right to pull the shotgun out on us, but when we were on the ground begging for him not to shoot he had no reason to beat us and kill “Johnny”. And the whole f— town let him get away with it. There’s no justice in this world, so we’ll see that we take good care of ourselves, and that Gonzalez guy as well…

    Following up on Ropelight above, in the Psalms we read, “With God there is mercy, that He may be feared.”

    I think we do the concept of self-protection a disservice when we protect examples of “overkill”. It just gives opponents reason to say, “All you want is lawlessness where everyone takes the law into their own hands”, so others overreact against the self-defense principle.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  67. The kid was not killed over Twinkies and cookies, he was shot for breaking and entering the mans home and the man had no way of knowing what they were there for, except illegal activities.

    I really doubt the homeowner shot the kid after he discovered the kid took his Twinkies.

    To assume that someone would break into your home and not intend to harm you is absurd. Its also absurd to suggest the kids feared for their lives once they broke in and that could then somehow justify their actions against the homeowner.

    What the perpetrators were stealing is nothing but sideshow crap, the value of what is being stolen does not determine the force you can use against a intruder inside your own home.

    Oh, your only here to steal my toilet paper, well then help yourself.

    ML (14488c)

  68. crossposted with timb at #63

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  69. Scott,

    I did a quick search on two other topics you have commented on; Abortion and the OJ Simpson verdict.
    It seems that on abortion you argued on ethical/moral points and on the OJ on a racial angle and jury nullification.
    In this instance you are sticking only to the legal aspects and the sanctity of the jury verdict.
    Point is that ethics and moral discussions lead to appropriate and fair laws that uphold/enforce the societal ethical/moral beliefs. To ignore that is to be disingenous.
    IMO the Castle Law in Texas needs some work.

    voiceofreason2 (10af7e)

  70. ML, did you read the scenario? No one is saying that a person cannot defend themselves when confronting strangers in your house and you’re outnumbered. Some of us are saying that when you have 4 thieves on the ground in front of you and you have a shotgun, it’s time to call the police and wait. If one really was stupid enough to lunge at his feet from knee position then Gonzalez is justified in shooting them, but not if he was in the midst of beating them. Was there tissue/blood on the outside of the gun abrrel that matched the other boys? If so, I think Gonzalez has a problem. if no, suggesting the kids were makin g that part up, then Gonzalez is exonerated as far as we can tell.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  71. VOR2, you really don’t want to bring that up here, or folks will start to notice that the folks who are outraged about this keep ranting about how the criminal was 13, and was “shot for taking twinkies” and assume that the other felons are truthful in their version of things; the other side is either saying “well, 4 to one, they broke in… assuming he wasn’t actually beating them, this is a sad but valid use of the castle law.”

    Foxfier (15ac79)

  72. Foxfier,
    Outrage or defensiveness from either vantage point does not advance a discussion. Ethics/Morals are what drive the creation of laws. Whether the resulting laws are reasonable and does the application of the law meet the intent is the discussion point.

    In this case he saw them in his house and followed them in. You mentioned your Dad as an example in an earlier post — do you think he would have called the police or followed four people into a building?

    voiceofreason2 (10af7e)

  73. I don’t know how many of the rest of you are mind readers, but I know I’m not. Trying to guess the intentions of intruders could carry some substantial risk. Under the circumstances, trying to guess the ages of the intruders is downright silly. The opportunity to stop and ask for proof of age may be limited.

    Bar Sinister (7eeb9e)

  74. The defenders of Gonzalez must not fail to consider the first paragraph quoted in DRJ’s post above.

    “The 63-year-old Gonzalez had endured several break-ins at his trailer when the four boys, ranging in age from 11-15, broke into the mobile home in July 2007. Gonzalez was in a nearby building at the time.”

    In order the points are:

    Several previous break-ins;
    Four boys, age 11 to 15;
    Gonzalez enters the trailer after the break-in.

    If Gonzalez was lying-in-wait for a possible break-in, armed with a shotgun, and then surprised four young burglers, beating them and killing one, and then tried to stage the crime scene, I don’t think an acquittal can reasonably be said to represent justice in this case. Not anything I can call justice, not in Texas and not in America.

    Ropelight (1be620)

  75. 11. Was that kid in Philly? I thought he was a Florida kid. I can’t imagine why anyone with an ounce of sense, (a reasonable volume I think for a 13 year old to possess) would break-and-enter anywhere in Texas even if they don’t have a basic sense of the fact that it’s wrong to trespass. The default belief here is that people are armed, at the very least in their homes, if not on their person as well.

    Jack Klompus (cf3660)

  76. Reading various accounts of this case let me glean the following:

    – all agree that there had been previous break-ins,

    – all agree that the homeowner was outnumbered in close quarters 4 – 1 by teens 13 – 15,

    – attorneys on both sides agree the 4 had been forced to their knees at some point before the shooting,

    – the shooting took place inside the residence,

    – the jury of 8 men and 4 women took just 3 hours to acquit.

    I discount heavily any testimony of admitted lawbreakers not confirmed by evidence.

    I presume the 4 were facing the homeowner on their knees; there was no mention anywhere of the man being behind the 4 on their knees at time of shooting (and I expect there would have been). The only ways to get shot in the back in those circumstances would appear to be to move low towards the standing gun holder, or to twist away from the gun holder and face the opposite way.

    The man testified the lunge. I read nothing that suggests a twist away for flight, and I agree with an earlier poster that physical evidence offered in court such as wound angles might support (or not) the man’s account.

    The fact that the jury was mixed in gender and took only 3 hours to acquit suggests to me that the physical evidence (not in the articles) was compelling, the case was legally deficient, or both.

    The homeowner – once he had control – probably should have had the youths go down on their stomachs and put hands behind their backs. Maybe there was not room.

    jim2 (6482d8)

  77. MD in Philly

    Yeah, I read the scenario, I don’t see why the homeowner doesn’t have the right to beat the intruders and shoot them.

    Perhaps he was beating them in order to subdue them and during the beating one made a wrong move. The homeowner doesn’t have the luxury of 20/20 hindsight, he has to react on the spot.

    And if he was really “beating” them, it would be readily apparent by their rearranged faces, no need to find tissue on the gun. I am sure the ambagious word “beating” was used just to insight emotion.

    Unless they were tied up before being shot, I don’t see a problem.

    ML (14488c)

  78. VOR2-
    realistically? My dad would have Rory on the phone while he was loading the shotgun before going in. (a very gung-ho deputy friend– would virtual assure that 75% of the cops on duty in my folks’ area would be there in about ten minutes–not something most folks can count on.)

    Now, in this situation? Call the cops, then go in– letting the criminals arm themselves would be very, very bad, and there’s no way the cops would actually show up in time to stop anything. Unless he had the shotgun with him, there was at least one gun inside, plus whatever other worldly possessions the guy had. Some danger to going in without knowing if they have armed themselves yet, but I’m going to assume the guy knew his home better than these felons.

    Jim2-
    agreed.

    Foxfier (15ac79)

  79. Call the cops, then go in– letting the criminals arm themselves would be very, very bad, and there’s no way the cops would actually show up in time to stop anything.

    Foxfier,

    There was nothing that compelled him to enter the house.

    voiceofreason2 (10af7e)

  80. There’s also nothing that says the homeowner had access to a phone.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  81. #76, jim2, you correctly discount the testimony of the 4 perps, but don’t extend the same caution to the adult who shot a 13 year old in the back. Gonzalez had an obvious interest in presenting himself as the injured party.

    Gonzalez attempted to explain why he killed the boy, he “feared for his life.” Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but if I’m holding a shotgun on 4 boys who are on their knees praying, fear is not likely to be the emotion uppermost in my imagination, not while I got the drop on ’em.

    If the 13 year old was trying to escape from Gonzalez’s brutality, and was gunned down as he fled, then we have a cold blooded murder here, plain and simple. The law is the law, but the law don’t always guarantee justice.

    Ropelight (1be620)

  82. Ropelight –

    The homeowner is innocent until proven guilty. The surviving 3 of the 4 admitted breaking and entering.

    The former is not a lawbreaker until convicted of breaking a law, while the latter admitted breaking the law deliberately and repeatedly.

    Your point of shooting in the back I addressed above and, based on the quick acquittal, the physical evidence probably supported the shooter’s account. (But I agree that the text I’ve seen so far is silent on the physical evidence)

    In my early-40s I realized my playground pick-up basketball games had become numbered when I was the smallest player on the court and the opposing team added up to my age. The accounts (perhaps suspiciously) are silent on relative sizes.

    If the man was facing 4 criminals in a confined space with what was essentially a one-shot weapon, I would suggest he had right to feel concern.

    jim2 (6482d8)

  83. Friend of mine in Med School had a unique Burglar Immobilization device. Bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 spiked with Potassium Cyanide, left in a conspicuous location.

    Frank Drackman (af2a6b)

  84. I’ve updated the post with the homeowner’s side of the story.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  85. There isn’t enough detail given in this for me to make up my mind one way or another. I will say that I’ve had someone walk backwards towards me saying “You can’t shoot me in the back, that’s murder.” (Single mom’s house broken into, called me over, found the trespasser in her daughter’s room.) I worried about that enough to blow out his kneecap instead, but I had the distance and thus (barely) the time to make that choice. There is little room in a trailer, which makes for no time to think before acting.

    tweell (8c6e7f)

  86. DRJ –

    Thanks for the update.

    (I’ve looked for pix of the homeowner that would give me a sense of size. He’s described as 63, “wiry” and having had recent heart surgery. He looks a lot smaller than his attorney, but the lawyer could be large.)

    jim2 (a9ab88)

  87. 75 Jack Klompus-
    Correctomundo- I was wrong. Get Fla. and Philly crime mixed up at times. All I recall is the kid was named Lionel and was very big for his age with poor impulse control. He was given plenty of breaks by the judge and still did criminal things. His mother was a cop or something in law enforcement as I recall. How many punks eventually morph into vicious predators as adults?
    Better to do the violent crimes in strict gun control areas such as DC and Chicago. Best to avoid jobs as taxi drivers and convenience store/gas station clerks. I think people like James Brady and Obama are shortsighted with the strict gun control rubbish. How many lives would be saved when some whackjob goes off and butchers people en masse? I felt really bad about all those little Mennonite girls being slaughtered in Pa. some years back. Don’t know what the answer really is in that respect. But no problem for me if they throw away the key on repeat offenders. What is most galling is allowing vicious sociopaths to use insanity as a defense and later allowing them to walk free, “cured” by the shrinks and forgiven by some idiot judge.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  88. nk wrote:

    But seriously, doesn’t it scare you to know that there are people who breathe the same air you do who will kill you over Twinkies and cookies?

    The only difference here is that the guy who pulled the trigger wasn’t a resident of Kensington or Strawberry Mansion in Philadelphia; those cases are old and boring news now, and if they are caught, they (usually) don’t walk.

    The saddened Dana (3e4784)

  89. voiceofreason2

    I think being the owner of the house is compelling enough.

    To suggest you do not have the absolute right of ingress and egress based upon whether an intruder is present, whether you are aware of it or not, is beyond crazy.

    ML (14488c)

  90. Mr Jacobs wrote:

    Actually, in such an event, the most likely wound would be to the top of the head and straight down the back. Dana

    Really? When kneeling you are able to lunge at shoulder level to someone taller than you while is standing?

    Unless the particular gun has a curved barrel, like something Wile E Coyote would use, the shooter will be pointing down at some angle to hit the target. If he holds it straight out, he’ll miss; if he holds it straight down, he’ll hit the floor.

    If someone is lunging toward you from a kneeling position, he is leading with his head and shoulders.

    The Dana who knows how to shoot (3e4784)

  91. MD in Philly wrote:

    My son is a young officer on the Philly police force. When searching a suspect the other night his hand hit the butt of a sawed-off shotgun in the guy’s belt. He did not shoot him in the back claiming the guy made a move to get the weapon to fire at him, because thugs with such weapons deserve to die anyway. He ordered him down, put a knee in his back as he disarmed and cuffed him. Yeah, the guy is a thug that needs to be off the street for awhile, but street execution is not the just punishment for someone who had used the threat of violence (”only”) for a few robberies.

    Considering the state of the city, your son is a brave man.

    The Dana in Pennsylvania (3e4784)

  92. ML,

    I stand by my earlier point that this is a law that I think has some problems and needs some work. The point about him entering was in response to some who talked about the age/ability of a 63 year old man to take on four people.
    If that makes me “beyond crazy” so be it.

    voiceofreason2 (10af7e)

  93. From 1st excerpt:
    Gonzalez went into the trailer and confronted the boys with a 16-gauge shotgun. Then he forced the boys, who were unarmed, to their knees, attorneys on both sides say.

    from post # 76
    – attorneys on both sides agree the 4 had been forced to their knees at some point before the shooting,

    from 2nd excerpt (thanks DRJ)
    He came face to face with four individuals ransacking his home,” Alaniz said. “He ordered them to stop, and he ordered them to get on their knees. Mr. Gonzalez feared for his life in this moment. When he ordered them to their knees, they refused.”

    Well, to begin with it seems there is a contradiction between the reporters summary in excerpt #1 and the attributed quote in excerpt # 2, a contradiction that changes just about everything for those of us who were in doubt of Gonzalez’s innocence. In fact, if the facts are verifiably closer to the quote of the defense attorney, it seems as if charges shouldn’t have even been filed, and if they were it might have been more of a publicity/public perception issue that was being politically managed through a trial (not approving, just speculating).

    Verdict: Never treat a newspaper account as being reliable, but we already knew that, didn’t we?

    Question, how accessible is a transcript of testimony in a trial, both in theory and in practice?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  94. If criminals broke into my house, they could do anything, including burn it down. I have adequate insurance and am not 63. I could not replace many things (including family and personal things) and the insurance would probably not allow me a 1-for-1 house replacement, but I would still have a reasonable standard of living. Thus, I would not risk my life to save my property.

    However, what if I were 63, a heart surgery survivor without insurance or the ability to replace my house/goods? If I lose everything, I am homeless and w/o prospects. Under such conditions, I might well choose to risk my life in an attempt to preserve my physical independence and avoid homelessness and welfare.

    jim2 (a9ab88)

  95. MD,

    It’s unlikely a transcript will ever be prepared, let alone released. In Texas courts, the Judge’s court reporter prepares the transcript if a party requests and pays for it for the purposes of an appeal. It can take weeks or months for the transcript to be completed. However, the defendant was acquitted in this case so he won’t request a transcript, and I don’t think the prosecution can appeal. Thus, I doubt any transcript will be prepared.

    You may recall that, in the Ramos/Compean case, the transcript took months to prepare and the time frame upset a lot of people. However, that’s normal even in high profile cases. After the transcript was completed, the US Attorneys’ office voluntarily posted a copy online, but that’s very rare. (I’ve been critical of Johnny Sutton but I think he deserves real credit for doing that.)

    Texas court proceedings are generally open to the public so anyone is free to hire a court reporter to prepare a transcript or to sit in court and transcribe the proceedings themselves. However, it’s unlikely that a newspaper would go to that expense or that an individual observer could generate a reliable transcript.

    So all we have are the various reports I’ve tried to find and link, and I think that’s all we’ll get.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  96. DRJ

    the transcript was instantly available in the Ramos and Compean case they use the CART system – and I believe all Fed courts do now

    In all murder cases in Texas the courts allmost allways prepare a transcript.

    There is some legislation floating out there to require instant recordings/translation of trials – the technology has been there for years and the cost is much less than having a court reporter.

    Like the buggy whip the court reporter is a thing of the past

    No longer are they the gate keeper

    And all Federal transcripts are available from the United states Office of the United States Attorneys – even unofficial ones –

    This was just more misinformation floating out there in that case of Ramos and Compean

    EricPWJohnson (c00a5d)

  97. Verdict: Never treat a newspaper account as being reliable, but we already knew that, didn’t we?

    Exactly my point in #15.

    This entire case, as do most, hinges on the details.

    Were the shooter and burglars acquainted?

    Had they had run-ins before, and/or were there existing threats?

    What is Law Enforcement response time in the area?

    And many more questions. Each one of which could possibly change the verdict rendered by a ‘reasonable person’. The fact that we hear about such cases in sloppy detail is one of the reasons that cases like this continue. Accountability for an overriding problem is subsumed by the paper’s desire for an emotionalized account.

    Which leads to more problems, not more solutions.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  98. EricPWjohnson – There is some legislation floating out there to require instant recordings/translation of trials – the technology has been there for years and the cost is much less than having a court reporter.

    Agreed.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  99. voiceofreason2

    I did not mean to imply you personally are crazy, just the idea is crazy and the reason most self-defense laws have the “not bound to retreat” clause. In other words the law would never consider whether retreat was an option.

    I assume the homeowner was already armed before entering the home to confront the unlawful intruders. Which the law would also not consider, doing so would infringe upon the owners right to ingress and egress.

    ML (14488c)

  100. Thanks all for responding to my question.

    I would be interested in what the current technology is, if it alone is considered 100% accurate. Although I have not kept up with technology the last 2-3 years, previously the best speech recognition results required “training” the software to the individual’s voice. I would have loved to have an automatic transcript of discussions with a patient.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  101. While speech recognition still has a ways to go before it is really useful for verbatim transcripts, it should get close enough that coupled with ana good audio recording producing a plain text transcript should be both faster and cheaper than a stenographer

    Soronel Haetir (2fa914)

  102. MD

    Its 100% accurate most corporations use it now for board meetings – way way way more accurate than relying on the memory of a human who has to interpret later what was said and actually was meant

    and its quite clear from the conversation who is doing what

    Another example is the cart system where there still is a Court reporter but as they press a key its instantly translated and a transcript is made that second.

    this was the BS in the Ramos and Compean case every lawyer left with a unofficial transcrit of the days proceedings.

    EricPWJohnson (c00a5d)

  103. Eric,

    The rules regarding transcripts in Texas state courts are explained at this link beginning on page 11.

    As for the El Paso federal court that tried the Ramos-Compean case, I don’t know if that court uses Realtime CART recording but I think the court reporter still has to review, edit, and certify transcripts for purposes of appeal. If I remember, I’ll check on it tomorrow.

    EDIT: I checked on Realtime and it is used in the Western District of Texas federal courts, depending on the court reporter’s schedule. I assume it was also available during the Ramos-Compean trial. The fees are $3.05 per page for next day service and $7.25 per page for 2 hour service. Because of the cost, I would be surprised if any Ramos-Compean parties – including the US government – requested a complete Realtime trial transcript, but there may have been requests for certain parts of the transcript (i.e., as a section of a particular witness’ testimony).

    DRJ (c953ab)

  104. There was nothing that compelled him to enter the house.
    Comment by voiceofreason2 — 9/29/2008 @ 9:42 am

    There was nothing that compelled the criminals to enter either. The right to protect your property is what the Castle Doctrine is about, isn’t it? My property is not your property.

    I’m in agreement with Scott… feel free to visit, but don’t try to come in uninvited or you risk getting shot. Also, if I’m holding you at gunpoint, doing exactly what I say might be in your best interest.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  105. “Mr Jacobs: is it your contention that the defense of property alone is sufficient to justify the use of lethal force?

    Comment by The saddened Dana”

    Answer: YES!

    As a former Texas Peace Officer, I can and will comment expertly on this case. No supposition is needed to determine that the homeowner is not guilty. The known facts, with the law will suffice.

    From the Houston Chronicle, “It took the jury of eight men and four women three hours Friday to find Jose Luis Gonzalez, 63, not guilty of murdering Francisco Anguiano, who was 13 when he and three friends broke into Gonzalez’s trailer to rummage for snacks and soda one night in July 2007.”

    Notice that this took place at night. The relevant clause in the Texas Penal Code delineates exactly the actions a home or property owner may take.

    CHAPTER 9
    JUSTIFICATION EXCLUDING CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY
    SUBCHAPTER D
    PROTECTION OF PROPERTY
    Sec. 9.41. Protection of One’s Own Property.
    (a) A person in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is justified in using force
    against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately
    necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on the land or unlawful interference with
    the property.
    (b) A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible, movable property by another is
    justified in using force against the other when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the
    force is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the property if the actor uses the
    force immediately or in fresh pursuit after the dispossession and:
    (1) the actor reasonably believes the other had no claim of right when he dispossessed the
    actor; or
    (2) the other accomplished the dispossession by using force, threat, or fraud against the
    actor.

    Sec. 9.42. Deadly Force to Protect Property.
    A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable
    property:
    (1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and
    (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately
    necessary:
    (A) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery,
    aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the
    nighttime; or
    (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary,
    robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the
    property; and
    (3) he reasonably believes that:
    (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or
    (B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property
    would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury

    Notice that the offense was committed at night, was burglary, involving theft. Doesn’t make one squat of a difference if the punk was fleeing. THE LAW gives the property owner the right to use deadly force to stop the thief from fleeing. Legally it wouldn’t matter if they were only egging his house and then running away. Criminal Mischief committed at night is also grounds for deadly force if the suspects flee. This arises from darkness making the identification of suspects unlikely.

    Anyone remember a few years back about a car repo-man being shot and killed at night, and the shooter going free? It was because of this same clause.

    The onus is strictly on the little hoodlums for commiting the burglary in the first place. If they had not broken into his property in the first place, all of the little bastards would still be alive.

    One question for all of you bleeding hearts, WHERE WAS THE PARENTAL SUPERVISION FOR THESE POOR LITTLE NOT S0 INNOCENT HOODS?

    Moral of Story: Don’t Mess with Texas (or Texans)

    peedoffamerican (389cf6)

  106. Generally, little angels don’t go around burglarizing other peoples’ homes.

    peedoffamerican (389cf6)

  107. Furthermore, Burglary of a Habitation is a First Degree Felony and is the most serious level of felony in Texas except for Capital Murder.

    Sec. 12.32. First Degree Felony Punishment.
    (a) An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree shall be punished by
    imprisonment in the institutional division for life or for any term of not more than 99 years or
    less than 5 years.
    (b) In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree may
    be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

    peedoffamerican (389cf6)

  108. Peed of America

    Tangible Twinkies?

    A Twinkie is a tangle property? – how about an apple or a banana?

    Maybe a broken window is Tangle property?

    Ask the 8 year old who was shot at by the well meaning law abiding idiot in Waco last month

    This law is getting yanked – it was never meant to convey law enforcement powers to idiots with shotguns – which – given the 47th ranking in education that some firms put Texas in – is not surprising

    EricPWJohnson (c00a5d)

  109. This law is getting yanked – it was never meant to convey law enforcement powers to idiots with shotguns – which – given the 47th ranking in education that some firms put Texas in – is not surprising
    Comment by EricPWJohnson — 9/30/2008 @ 3:05 am

    Do you have a link to anything saying the law is going to be yanked? Also, self-defense is not only a right, it’s a necessity. Law enforcement can’t do it all. In fact, they’re not even required to (Warren v. District of Columbia).

    As far as tangible property goes, if someone breaks into my house I’m not going to survey them about what they intend to steal and decide whether to protect myself and my property based on their answer. Yes, a Twinkie, an apple, a banana, and a window are all tangible property. Try to take any of those things from WalMart without paying and see if the court agrees. As a “former law enforcement guy” you should know this, but apparently the issues you have with Texas lead you to believe that everyone besides yourself is an unwashed, mouthbreathing, uneducated redneck just itching to blow someone away at the slightest whim. The reality is that most people would rather criminals stop committing crimes so honest people don’t have to defend themselves or their property.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  110. In cases where a homeowner shoots one or more intruders, how important should it be what any surviving intruders claim was their intent? And why?

    Even if intruders declared they were after only pet rocks and even had two in their pockets, what’s to say they had not planned to burn the place down to help conceal their crime? What credence should anything they claim be given?

    Might they not have injured, raped, or killed any they might have found helpless within? They say “no”, but what credence should they be credited? Why? Have they not forfeited any presumption of innocence or innocence of intent by their deeds?

    jim2 (a9ab88)

  111. “This law is getting yanked – it was never meant to convey law enforcement powers to idiots with shotguns – which – given the 47th ranking in education that some firms put Texas in – is not surprising

    Comment by EricPWJohnson”

    For the first item, YES anything on his property is a tangible property per the law.

    Please cite the source that the law is being repealed. it would be amazing if it is, since it has been on the books for over a hundred years.

    You must remember this, the criminals entered his habitation with the intent of committing a crime. And what pray tell, did the other defendant’s have in their possesion? Could it have been other items of his?

    The amount taken does not reduce the severity of the crime that they committed.

    Case in point: I charged a rapist (Sexual Assault under Texas Penal Code) with burglary of a habitation instead of sexual assault. The reason? Sexual Assault is only a 2nd class felony with 2-20 years, and since Burglary of a Habitation carries a life sentence, thus was he convicted and sentenced.

    Therefore the lesser charge led to the higher sentence, i.e. theft with B&E leads to burglary also, no matter the value of the property taken. Suppose the items taken had no supposed value, i.e. confidential files, writings, or other such items. They are still tangible property, and would result in the same charge of burglary of a habitation.

    Or are you suggesting that Watergate was a non-event that shouldn’t have been prosecuted, after all they didn’t take anything of value either.

    peedoffamerican (38365d)

  112. And as for the supposed harmless and innocent little angels that were no possible threat, Puhlease. Ever wonder why the American Psychiatric Assoc. discourages diagnosing adolescents as Psychopathic?

    It is because most teens, and adolescents show many psychopathic tendencies that make a true diagnosis of psycopathy nearly impossible.

    An adolescent with a weapon will kill you faster than an adult, with no thought of consequences or remorse. Just watch a child throw a temper tantrum sometime.

    That is one of the first things taught in the Police Academy about adolescents, that they can be DANGEROUS beyond most peoples imagination, because it is unexpected. Also, with all of the molly-coddling in juvie courts, they will in most cases get away with their crimes, and therefore do not suffer the angst that an adult does.

    peedoffamerican (38365d)

  113. TANGIBLE PROPERTYProperty that has physical substance and can be touched; Anything other than real estate or money, including furniture, cars, jewelry and china, etc. Intangible property (example; a check account) lacks this physical quality.

    That which may be felt or touched; it must necessarily be corporeal, but it may be real or personal. A house and a horse are, each, tangible property. The terni is used in contradistinction to property not tangible. By the latter expression, is; meant that kind of property which, though in possession as respects the right, and, consequently, not strictly choses in action, yet differ; from goods, because they are neither tangible nor visible, though the thing produced from the right be perfectly so. In this class may be mentioned copyrights and patent-rights.

    peedoffamerican (38365d)

  114. Oh, by the way, the self defense I quoted “Sec. 9.42. Deadly Force to Protect Property.” is not the Castle Law. It is instead a separate act under defenses that will not be affected even if they were to repeal the unnecessary Castle Law. Basically, the only difference between the two, is that the Castle Law establishes a right, and immunity from civil suits.

    peedoffamerican (38365d)

  115. I think “breaking in for snacks” is a load of crap. Who in their right mind is that hungry? They were looking for whatever they could carry off.

    Of course, does anyone recall a similar case in the UK?
    Rural Intruder

    Kate (908d0e)


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