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Charges stand in intruder death (Followup)

Josey1Josey1 Member Posts: 15,758
edited February 2002 in General Discussion
Charges stand in intruder deathHomeowner shot fleeing manBy Bob BerwynSpecial to The Denver Post Wednesday, January 30, 2002 - FAIRPLAY - A judge ruled Tuesday that a Park County man can be tried on charges of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a would-be burglar fleeing from his rural home. District Judge Kenneth Plotz, appearing before a packed courtroom, brushed aside claims of damaging pretrial publicity before ruling that charges would stand against LaQuine Thomas. Thomas, 43, is accused of shooting 19-year-old Samuel Reece on Aug. 24. As Thomas and his wife returned to their home late that night, they noticed a van parked near the entrance to their 35-acre lot. Feeling uneasy, Thomas loaded his revolver before going to bed. After hearing noises outside, the Thomases each took a weapon in hand and went outside. Reece and another teenager had broken into a car parked on the property to steal a car stereo but began to run away when the couple came toward them. LaQuine Thomas said he fired two warning shots into the air. He fired a third time in Reece's direction, and Reece then ducked behind a tree. When Reece reappeared, Thomas fired the fourth and fatal bullet. Reece was struck in the back of the neck. Sorting out what happened that night - and what was said in the aftermath - may be difficult in this case. Under questioning by defense attorney William Buckley, two sheriff's department investigators said they did not immediately take written statements from the Thomases regarding the shooting. The deputies also said they did not have tape recorders to record initial statements. As a result, there is some confusion as to what Thomas said regarding the moments preceding the fatal shot. In a report compiled by investigator Sven Bonnelycke based on questioning that night, there is no mention of Reece's possibly hefting a weapon. But in subsequent accounts, Thomas indicated that Reece may have bent over to pick up something that looked like a weapon. Those facts could be important if the defense tries to show that Thomas acted in self-defense, out of fear for his life. "I think it needs to be publicly said that it's a tragedy that this case wasn't better investigated," said defense attorney Leonard Chesler. "It strips LaQuine Thomas of the fair chance to present important evidence." Deputy District Attorney David Thorson asked the judge to impose a gag order to prevent more pretrial publicity. The case has triggered discussion on several talk radio programs, and Thorson alleged that statements made on the programs were "designed to be prejudicial to the people's case." Judge Plotz acknowledged that the case had raised public policy issues, with callers debating how far a homeowner can go to protect his property. But he rejected prosecutors' request for a gag order. In closing statements that left some leeway for a possible plea bargain, defense attorney Buckley said the shooting barely rises to the level of criminally negligent homicide, while Thorson alleged that Thomas intentionally aimed his last shot at Reece. http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1002,53%7E368192,00.html

Comments

  • The artist formerly known as DanoThe artist formerly known as Dano Member Posts: 29,215
    edited November -1
    A perfect example of a person not knowing what he can or cannot do.If you choose to use a firearm, you better know the law.
  • competentonecompetentone Member Posts: 4,651 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    A perfect example of what happens in a society that has watched too many "Western" movies.Some people think that when good is confronted by evil, good must stand and "fight fair"; good is not allowed to shoot evil "in the back"; good must wait until evil turns and draws, then, and only then is the good allowed to engage the evil.Ha!And people wonder why we have so much crime...
  • RedlegRedleg Member Posts: 417 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Can you say "Mistrial?" This is going to get thrown out for a technicality.
  • mudgemudge Member Posts: 4,551
    edited November -1
    I dunno'.....seems to me like Mr. Thomas had plenty of opportunity to retreat to a safe place. Chasing the perp(s) around is not exactly what I'd consider "self defense". Sounds more like "Mr. Macho" to me. I'd hate to see the dude go to jail but I think he's definitely in the wrong here.Mudge the concerned
    I can't come to work today. The voices said, STAY HOME AND CLEAN THE GUNS!
  • daddodaddo Member Posts: 3,408
    edited November -1
    In Texas, you can use deadly force after dark to prevent or retreive property in the act of being stolen. Daytime is a differant matter. You may use force but not deadly force unless you feel your life is in danger or serious * harm. To take a life in any of these two instances- you had better be in the right.
  • competentonecompetentone Member Posts: 4,651 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    mudge,It's easy to sit, all calm and relaxed, and assess the situation. But consider:Humans are animals; like all animals we have territorial bounderies. When our "territory" is invaded by a "predator" we automatically "kick-into" a survival "fight or flight" mode--we're no longer operating as relatively "rational" people do when they're calm and relaxed. If we choose to fight (and it's not a "choice" similiar to those we make in everyday life), retreating behavior shouldn't be expected.Unfortunately, lawyers have written the laws governing self-defense with little consideration for the "emotional survival mode" a person will be in if he needs to defend himself. Most self-defense law has unreasonable expectations for human animal behavior in dangerous situations--which only works to benefit the "predators" in our society.
  • jetjet Member Posts: 543 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I sleep in my cabinI live outdoors.My property is posted.If you tresspass after reading my signs I must assume you are here to do me harm.What other conclusion can I come to???you've been warned,,,Its dark,,,I'm scared...
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