A man in the town of Kokomo, Indiana, is dead after allegedly intruding into a home on Sunday evening and was shot dead by the homeowner he startled awake. The incident occurred over the weekend, at around 8:44 p.m. on Sunday evening.
Police, upon responding to the home, found a man with a gunshot wound at the front door area of the home. That man, later identified as 51-year-old Scott Elliot Jones, was dead. He allegedly woke the homeowner by breaking into the house, and the homeowner, upon finding the stranger in his living room, demanded that Jones leave.
Jones did not leave, and instead allegedly proceeded to attack the homeowner. Fortunately for that homeowner, the homeowner was armed and ready to fight back. So, instead of succumbing to Jones’ attacks, he opened fire and managed to hit Jones, who died from his injuries. The homeowner was treated by first responders for minor abrasions, but is otherwise ok.
Fortunately for the homeowner, though the case is being reviewed by the Howard County Prosecutor’s Office, the state of Indiana has a very permissive castle doctrine law, which applies in the case of home invasions and other incidents in which an intruder is in the home.
It provides, “a person is justified in using reasonable force, including deadly force, against another person and does not have a duty to retreat…if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent or terminate the other person’s unlawful entry of or attack on the person’s dwelling, curtilage, or occupied motor vehicle.”
Explaining the law, the legislature added, “In enacting this section, the general assembly finds and declares that it is the policy of this state to recognize the unique character of a citizen’s home and to ensure that a citizen feels secure in his or her own home against unlawful intrusion by another individual or a public servant. By reaffirming the long standing right of a citizen to protect his or her home against unlawful intrusion, however, the general assembly does not intend to diminish in any way the other robust self-defense rights that citizens of this state have always enjoyed. Accordingly, the general assembly also finds and declares that it is the policy of this state that people have a right to defend themselves and third parties from physical harm and crime. The purpose of this section is to provide the citizens of this state with a lawful means of carrying out this policy.”
Further, even if the Castle Doctrine did not apply, the state’s Stand Your Ground Law, which removes any duty to retreat in the case of an attack, probably would. It provides, “A person is justified in using reasonable force, including deadly force, against any other person and does not have a duty to retreat if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent or stop the other person from hijacking, attempting to hijack, or otherwise seizing or attempting to seize unlawful control of an aircraft in flight.”
So, unless the story given by the homeowner is completely made up, which initial facts do not indicate being the case, it looks like the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws here protect the homeowner from criminal liability.
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