Colorado's 'Make My Day' law eyed in home shooting

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array justherenow's Avatar
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    Colorado's 'Make My Day' law eyed in home shooting

    Colorado's 'Make My Day' law eyed in home shooting - Yahoo! News


    Colorado's 'Make My Day' law eyed in home shooting
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    Digg Facebook Newsvine del.icio.us Reddit StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Bookmarks Print Wed Dec 31, 9:07 pm ETCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Prosecutors are considering whether a Colorado law meant to protect homeowners against intruders applies in the case of a man killed outside a house he mistakenly thought was his.

    The parents of 22-year-old Sean Kennedy said detectives have told them their son, who had been drinking, was shot Sunday night after breaking a window to try to get in through the back door of a house a block from where he lived.

    "The detectives agreed from everything we told them and from the way things looked that was pretty much what happened," said Kennedy's mother, Lisa Kennedy, told the Colorado Springs Gazette.

    Under Colorado's "Make My Day" law, people are allowed to use deadly force in self defense against intruders in their home.

    The street numbers of the house where Kennedy was shot, 3212, are the same as the house where he lived. Kennedy's house has a wooden privacy fence in the backyard, while the home where he was shot has a chain-link fence. His friends said he was in no condition to notice the difference after an evening of drinking and watching the Denver Broncos game at a friend's house.

    Two people were inside the house that Kennedy tried to enter, police said. Police declined to identify them.

    Colorado Springs police spokesman Lt. David Whitlock declined to comment on the account given by Kennedy's parents but said the right to self defense will play a role in the district attorney's decision whether to file charges.

    David Webster, a defense attorney and former prosecutor, said it's still unclear whether the "Make My Day" law will apply to this case.

    "It gets murky if the door is broken but not open," he said. Prosecutors also must consider whether Kennedy was warned before being shot.

    The occupants of the house called police to report that they believed a burglary was occurring. Police have not said how long after the call that shots were fired.

    "The time frame will be key," Webster said. "It sounds like they were trying to do the right thing and get law enforcement there."

    Kennedy was an assistant golf pro at a Colorado Springs golf course.
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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array stormbringerr's Avatar
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    i will be interested in how this turns out..
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    Quote Originally Posted by stormbringerr View Post
    i will be interested in how this turns out..
    Agreed, initial report sounds like a good shooting. Not sure I like the idea of having to warn someone first. Gives up the tactical advantage of location in my opinion. Forcible entry or attempt at it is asking to get ventilated.
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    Member Array PcMakr's Avatar
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    Sad situation all the way around. The young man, due to his drinking and subsequent loss of his facilities, paid the ultimate price for his error. Couple at home will pay the price financially and emotionally for protecting themselves and their home. Parents suffer the loss of a son. Partygoers lose a friend.

    However, society overall loses due to the bias of the press. Their use of the phrase, "Make my day law" is blatantly used to make what I presume to be the Castle Doctrine Law look bad, which affects the way the readers perceive the right of persons to protect themselves and their household.

    Only until all the facts are reviewed and presented can a determination be made as to whether the shooting was justified or not. I darn sure would not go by what the press says. JMHO!

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    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    Being drunk does not excuse you from having a traffic accident or the commission of any other crime. How does anyone know he wasn't trying to commit a burglary?
    The article states both homes had the same number, which he was supposedly able to read, but then we're told that he was too intoxicated to distinguish between a wood fence and a chain link fence. Sounds fishy to me.
    Also how were the residents supposed to know whether an armed burglar or a drunk was breaking in? They took appropriate action IMHO.
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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PcMakr View Post
    However, society overall loses due to the bias of the press. Their use of the phrase, "Make my day law" is blatantly used to make what I presume to be the Castle Doctrine Law look bad, which affects the way the readers perceive the right of persons to protect themselves and their household.

    Only until all the facts are reviewed and presented can a determination be made as to whether the shooting was justified or not. I darn sure would not go by what the press says. JMHO!
    Blaming the press?? I think the responsibility lies with the deceased...and maybe his buddies...and I don't rule out the parents. Outlaw alcohol for everybody under 30 :)

    History of "Make My Day" Law...which is not a press made up term: Castle Doctrine in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I actually think society will not blame the law...they will blame irresponsible behavior caused his death...like drinking and driving.

    Rick

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    "The time frame will be key," [defense attorney] Webster said. "It sounds like they were trying to do the right thing and get law enforcement there."
    So, the "right" thing is calling law enforcement to save us? Implying that handling fast-moving situations first, isn't?

    "Make My Day" doesn't sound like a good euphemism. "Don't Ruin My Night" sounds a bit more on-track. Either way, it empowers victims to stop crime in their own homes or where they have every right to be. As it should be.
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    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    Sucks for all sides, but it sounds like a good shoot to me at first blush.
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    Senior Member Array BlackPR's Avatar
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    These are the sorts of cases that anti's love to use to battle castle-doctrine. The very obvious grey areas that make the average citizen go, "oh, that's sad."

    I think the perspective that's missing from the article is the fear in the mind of the man who pulled the trigger. The belief he was about to die unless he acted. For this, he would be punished? Because that's what this is about... a desire to punish a man for a decision made on-the-fly, one which he thought would protect his life/property, that turned out to be only maybe mistaken.

    In the end, if the 22 year old drunk had forced his way into the wrong home, even being drunk -- he'd still be guilty of breaking and entering and being drunk would not be an excuse. A crime was commited by the 22 year old drunk. The reasons why he did it is irrelevant. At least, "I didn't mean to commit the crime" never worked to get me out of any speeding tickets.
    The facts are indisputable. There is more data supporting the benefits of Conceal Carry than there is supporting global warming. If you choose ignorance, in light of all the evidence, in order to bolster your irrational fear of guns, you are a greater threat to society than any gun owner.

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    "His friends said he was in no condition to notice the difference after an evening of drinking and watching the Denver Broncos game at a friend's house."

    What a great bunch of so called friends.
    They let their 'friend' get so drunk that they themselves state he might not have been able to recognize where he lived...and they don't instead have him stay on site to let him sober up or crash, to be safe and stay alive.

    Great bunch of 'friends'.

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    Member Array bigiceman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    "His friends said he was in no condition to notice the difference after an evening of drinking and watching the Denver Broncos game at a friend's house."

    What a great bunch of so called friends.
    They let their 'friend' get so drunk that they themselves state he might not have been able to recognize where he lived...and they don't instead have him stay on site to let him sober up or crash, to be safe and stay alive.

    Great bunch of 'friends'.
    Got to agree with Janq on this one. Sign those people up for aiding and abetting negligent suicide. They try to blame bartenders for serving drunks. Get these people for their neglect of their duty to prevent the commission of a crime.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    "His friends said he was in no condition to notice the difference after an evening of drinking and watching the Denver Broncos game at a friend's house."

    What a great bunch of so called friends.
    My thoughts exactly. Wonder if they'll be able to show their faces at the dead kid's funeral.

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    Senior Member Array PaulJ's Avatar
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    In my opinion, this was a "good" shooting. The home owner had no way of knowing that the guy was "just drunk" and the guy had plenty of opportunity to reconsider. Why did he enter via the back in the first place? He didn't notice the different fence? Did his "buddies" make the mistake and threw him into the wrong back yard? The real question is if it was "good" according to the law. According to the FL castle doctrine, it would be a non issue. But maybe it is just an anti DA trying to make a name for himself.

    I do think if possible, one should call 911. It is as much for your own protection. Lets say the shooting starts, and you lose the gunfight. In this case it is good to have someone already on the way. Not sure about the warning, but it is probably a good idea to try and identify who you shoot at.
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    New Member Array cnstman's Avatar
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    Updates on all Colorado Springs News stations last night. here is one report with DA's report. Video report at bottom has parts of the 911 call.

    KOAA.com - Man who killed another will not be prosecuted, "Make my day" law is in play


    Man who killed another will not be prosecuted, "Make my day" law is in play
    Story By: James Jarman
    Source: KOAA

    Published Tue Jan 27, 2009, 06:15 PM MST
    Updated Wed Jan 28, 2009, 06:00 AM MST

    A Colorado Springs man who killed another man will not be prosecuted. El Paso county's new district attorney says the "make my day" law is in play in this case.

    That's because the victim, Sean Kennedy, was entering a home that wasn't his, and the family inside had a "reasonable belief" that he was going to commit a crime or hurt them.

    Kennedy drove to the wrong house after watching a Broncos game on December 28, and his friends say he had too much to drink and didn't know it wasn't his house.

    He eventually broke a window and started coming into the house and that's when the homeowner, James Parsons, shot him.

    Gail Warkentin is the Deputy District Attorney who was on the scene that night and helped decide no charges will be filed against parsons

    "It's been our judgement that there has not been a crime that has occurred under the totality of the circumstances," she said.


    News Release from the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office

    Attorney’s Office announced that it will not prosecute the resident of 3212 Virginia Avenue, James Parsons, in connection with a shooting on December 28, 2008.
    On December 28, 2008 at approximately 9:50 p.m. Colorado Springs police officers were dispatched to 3212 Virginia Avenue regarding a burglary in progress. As officers arrived they were advised that shots had been fired. Officers found an unknown male, later identified as Sean Kennedy, lying in the back yard near the back door of the residence. He was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy at the El Paso County Coroner’s Office later determined that Sean Kennedy died from two gunshot wounds.
    Detectives from the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit were dispatched and conducted a thorough investigation of the shooting. The investigation revealed that at about 9:45 p.m. on Sunday, December 28, 2008, the resident of 3212 Virginia Avenue was at home with his girlfriend when he saw a white GMC pickup truck drive up and park in front of his house, a small ranch-style home. The resident saw an unknown male get out of the truck and approach his front door. Two dogs belonging to the resident, including a German Sheppard, started barking loudly and continually as the unknown male began forcefully pounding and beating on the front door. He was yelling obscenities and appeared to be angry and upset. The unknown male continued to beat and pound on the door, during which time the resident told his girlfriend to call 911 and he went into the bedroom to get his gun, a revolver.
    After several minutes the resident and his girlfriend saw the man run around to the back of the home. The resident positioned himself near the kitchen and saw the man at the back door. The man broke the lock on the back screen door, pulled open the screen door and began beating his fist on the back door. The man continued to yell obscenities. The man then broke out the pane of glass in the back door nearest to the dead bolt. The man put his arm in through the broken window and was using his hand to undo the deadbolt when the resident shot at the man three times with his revolver.
    Physical evidence at the scene and other witness statements corroborated the statements of the resident and his girlfriend. Review of the 911 dispatch tape also confirmed the statement of the resident. At the beginning of the dispatch tape, the resident’s girlfriend was heard saying “someone’s trying to get in the house” and telling the dispatcher to “hurry up, he’s trying to get in the house!” The resident’s girlfriend was on the phone with a police dispatcher for nearly 4 ˝ minutes while the unknown male was trying to get into the home. The resident’s girlfriend was then heard saying “Oh my God, he’s coming in the back door!” and then “Are they on their way, because oh my God, he broke in the glass!” followed by the sound of gunshots. Both the resident and his girlfriend immediately sought medical attention for Sean Kennedy.
    The resident and his girlfriend cooperated fully with this investigation. The evidence from the dispatch tape and from investigative interviews indicated that they were both terrified during this incident and were traumatized by these events.
    It was further determined through the investigation that Sean Kennedy lived at 3212 N. Institute Street, one street west of Virginia Avenue, with several roommates. According to witness statements, Sean Kennedy had been drinking alcohol with friends at a local golf course just prior to this incident. His blood alcohol level at autopsy was .261 gm/dl, over three times the legal driving limit.
    Under Colorado Revised Statute section 18-1-704.5 the Colorado General Assembly “recognizes that the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.” This law provides that any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person intends to commit a crime or use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.
    Based upon the evidence and a review of Colorado law governing the use of deadly physical force against an intruder, it is the opinion of the District Attorney’s Office that the resident of 3212 Virginia Avenue did not violate Colorado law, and he will not be prosecuted.

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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    No sympathy for the deceased....261 blood alcohol??...His friends should be prosecuted. Lucky he didn't kill someone while driving...

    Good legal outcome for the shooter...hope they get counseling to help with the trauma. Thanks for the update.

    Rick

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