PA Home invasion

So here is an article about an incident that happened in one of my neighboring towns. The homeowner was arrested and is awaiting trial for shooting two burglars in his home. This state does have castle doctrine and stand your ground laws. I thought it would be a good idea to discuss what he did wrong.

From what I read here. He discovered that two individuals invaded his house, but they didn’t realize that they were discovered. At which point they didn’t pose any immediate threat and I believe he should have retreated and immediately notified the authorities. Instead, this home owner chose to engage.

Thoughts?

It it went down like you say, then it seems right. I have this arguement on Nextdoor regularly. You can’t just run around shooting people.

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I did not click on your links, as I avoid FB, but the story was readily found elsewhere. It also highlights why you do not give statements to police without first seeking legal aid.

Yes, it was a bad shoot according to his statement to police. The initial shots might have been considered legal self-defense, but not the follow-up shots.

According to court papers, Halterman told officers he was in the second story of his home he began hearing noises, which at first he thought was an animal. He said he discovered the noises were people talking about items inside of his home.

He retrieved his .22 caliber handgun and peered around a curtain that he uses as a divider in his home. He then says he saw two people standing approximately 10 feet from where he was standing.

Halterman told officers that both persons were holding flashlights so he fired one shot at each. He then said that the two fled and were going towards the first floor exit. Halterman said he saw the two on the bottom of the stairs and fired approximately four more shots, then called 911.

Halterman was arrested and charged with criminal homicide, attempted criminal homicide and aggravated assault.

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Totally forgot about statements to the police. Thanks for the reminder.

Moral of the story: .22 caliber pistol can kill you just as dead as a 454 Casull.

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So basically they got him on murder charges because he chased after them? With Castle Doctrine you don’t have to be like “stop freeze” and wait to see what they do?

With Castle Doctrine, as I understand it though I am not an attorney, the threshold of classifying a threat may be lowered, but you still have to be able to articulate to the police, and jury, that your life and the lives of those in your home were in “imminent danger”. In this instance, according to the information presented, the home owner discovered the invaders, but the invaders did not know they were discovered. Since the invaders had no clue that the homeowner was standing on the other side of the curtain, there was no imminent danger to the homeowners life.

By engaging the threat without the imminent danger to his life, a “reasonable person” would probably classify this incident as “stuff defense” instead of “self defense” as the homeowner was acting to protect his home and not his life, which is why I think the procecutor is pursuing charges.

Though I am not an attorney, nor a police officer. So I could be totally off base here :stuck_out_tongue:

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Quite good explanation @Shadow2f5 :+1:

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The sad bit is that people you don’t know in your home don’t qualify as meeting that threshold.

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No argument from me on that one

Right? What are you supposed to do, say freeze and wait for them to shoot you? Or just keep rummaging through your shit until they leave right before the police arrive?

First mistake was that he spoke to the police without an attorney who has his clients best interest in mind. Never ever talk to the police without your attorney rule # 1. Rule #2 don’t forget rule #1. I would never volunteer information to a LEO. I respect them and my hats off to them their job is hard enough. But they aren’t my attorney. They don’t have my best interest in mind. If you are ever in a situation where you have to use deadly force don’t talk to LEO. Yes you will be arrested but like many here we joined for the protection that USCCA gives. And they give us the procedures to follow if you need them.

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I don’t know about where you guys live, but here we get the AT&T kids on a regular basis. I have asked many times that they (the unwelcome child trespassers and the company in general) stay off of my property. Still, they come, like relentless zonbies in matching shirts holding clipboards. I’ve started to answer the door armed after my many hints at their bravery for trespassing over and over all day. Eventually their luck will run out with some nut job drunk home owner. We’re just in that kind of world…and I’m sorry that we are. Still, it is a stupid thing for a company to put children through, and even more ridiculous that parents let their kids do this job. If people wanted AT&T, they would have responded to one of the thousands of e-mail, flyers, phone calls, etc. Take the hint. Stop stalking people.

Like most of you, the last think that I want to do, or want anyone to do, is harm another human, regardless of who they are or what they’re up to. But if you’re in someone’s car/house/etc. you’re not really trying to avoid conflict.

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I believe it was shooting them as they fled that got him the murder charge. It is difficult to claim self-defense when the “assailant” is fleeing. Typically, when someone is in your home uninvited while you are there, the law grants that there is a danger to self, but that ends as soon as the threat is negated. In this instance he stated to police he shot at them while they were fleeing - no longer a threat.

There was a case in Richmond, VA, many years ago, where an employee pursued an armed robber out of the store. He fired at the fleeing felon, hitting him in the back, killing him. The grand jury decided not to indict the employee. The felon was a lifelong criminal and he was found with a bb (pellet?) gun. I believe the grand jury took pity on the young man. In the “heat of the moment”, the surge of adrenaline and emotions make rational decision-making difficult. This is likely what happened with this old man, too. That still does not make it a “good” shoot. However, a similarly sympathetic jury might also decide to find him not guilty. It will still cost him immensely, but at least he might not spend his last years in prison.

I am in no way condoning what he did, only explaining what can happen, we are all just human and suffer human failings, some are vastly life-changing. Breaking into someone’s home at night was that person’s last mistake. Maybe the female will learn from her error in judgment. The old man certainly will, and his actions might be the last ones he makes as a free man.

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Everyone here has some insightful comments. I thank you for that, as it gets me to thinking. I would like to make some comments myself regarding this incident. There is much to learn from this:

  1. Articles written and produced are designed to garner attention and are sensationalized. Most articles provide only a fraction of the facts. Yes, the facts provided are a learning lesson, but is not the whole incident. I am reminded of the movie “My Cousin Vinny” (dating myself). “I shot him.” vs “I shot him?” (you gotta watch it) Great movie to learn from regarding our judicial system. It is flawed, but it is the best system, in my humble opinion. I try my best not to draw conclusion, but I am only human.

  2. It would be difficult to classify this as a “Home Invasion” based on the information provided. An invasion requires “forced entry”. It appears Mr. Halterman didn’t even know the burglars were inside for quite some time, and it was he who surprised them.

  3. The article states that Mr. Halterman could see that they had flashlights in their hands. Key point here: look at the hands. As humans, the only way a weapon can be effectively employed is with the use of the hands. In any case, a flashlight MAY not be considered a weapon. Depends on the flashlight and how it is used. It was important for the writer to include that in the article, but nothing else. But, for some reason, only Mr. Halterman can explain because it is not reported, he fired two shots.

  4. The burglars flee away from him and he fires four more shots. In a highly stressful situation, like this one, is it possible that the “flashlights” were emitting a “flash” as they were running away?

Based on the article, I would agree that many things were done in violation of the law. The snowball began with the two burglars entering his home. A crime committed against a crime, is still a crime. But we truly don’t know if Mr. Halterman committed any. However, if I base everything on the fraction of what I know, the best I am doing is “drawing a conclusion”.

The charges Mr. Halterman is facing are severe, and I pray that none of us has to face something like this. However, they are a “charge” and not a “conviction”. Praying that doesn’t happen to him.

Stay Safe, Stay Strong, and Stay Adept!

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Oh yeah! Something I forgot to add. If there is a statement or question you should give or answer when LEO arrive is the DIRECTION in which you shot. This is for a SAFETY check to ensure any missed shots are tracked down to ensure no unintended victims were struck.

I agree. I guess my point is that it is a shame that if they’re moving toward you, or even aimed in your direction, they are at fault. If they turn around, you go to jail. Seems silly. They’re in your house.

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I live in same county thank god we have a DA who pro gun he give talks to gun owners and non gun owners about local and state law the home owner made the mistake of shooting as they were fleeing and than called 911

You are spot on. Homeowner was wrong. He defended his stuff and then, and then, tracked them down and finished one off and attempted to with the other. Man is going to Prison. Not even sure USCCA would have covered him. I would like to hear more discussion on that point.

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