Tuesday, May 30, 2006


When a Somerset County man opened fire on two intruders at his apartment last month, killing one, he insisted he was protecting himself. Whether Matthew Eperjesi was justified remains a question for the courts at a time of nationwide debate over extending legal protection for gun owners to shoot intruders in their homes and even people threatening them on the streets. Gun rights advocates are applauding so-called "stand your ground" laws that have left anti-violence groups nervous. This year, nine states have enacted such laws, following Florida, which led the way with legislation passed in 2005.

Pennsylvania is among more than a dozen other states considering joining the trend. "People are more fearful today for their well-being than they ever have been," said state Rep. Steven W. Cappelli, R-Williamsport, who spearheaded a bill under review by the House Judiciary Committee. "I believe we should follow the lead of other states and strengthen the rights of law-abiding citizens." Cappelli's bill would allow Pennsylvanians to shoot before shooting becomes a last resort. Under current law, residents can protect themselves with firearms if placed in danger of death or serious injury, but the proposed law would relax what's commonly called a "duty to retreat."

In other words, that an intruder is breaking and entering would be proof enough that he means harm. Perhaps more controversial, though, shooters also would be exempt from facing criminal prosecution or civil lawsuits if they shoot and kill someone who is attacking them outside of the home. "We believe it is fundamental to the American way of life and everybody's right to protection," said Ashley Varner, spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association. Varner said the NRA has made the "stand your ground" changes a top legislative priority.

Opponents are calling the laws "shoot first" legislation. Some even call the laws "a license to murder." "There are a lot of untrained people out there with guns and a lot of innocent bystanders that can get clipped," said Chad Ramsey, Pennsylvania field director for the Washington, D.C.-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Cappelli said great care has been taken that his bill would not backfire if signed into law. Lethal force would not be justified against law enforcement, parents or other guardians removing a child or other residents from a home or vehicle. Police and prosecutors would make the final determination on whether a shooting was criminal. "Shoot first and ask questions later? I'd say this is not the case," Cappelli said. "This isn't an 'OK Corral'-type bill. This is a bill that we think more clearly defines self-defense and the use of self-defense." Cappelli said he'd like to have hearings on the bill and get it to a full House vote soon.

State Rep. John Pallone, D-New Kensington, a member of the judiciary committee, said he supports the idea of giving homeowners more freedom to protect themselves, but he thinks the bill may be a tough sell statewide, especially in urban areas with gun problems. "I imagine that bill will be very seriously debated," he said. "At opposite ends of the state, we have very different views on how guns should be treated."

More here

Alabama oldster gets revenge: "A 40-year-old Lauderdale County man was shot to death late Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses told sheriff's investigators the shooting stemmed from an ongoing feud over custody of the victim's ten-year-old boy. Sheriff Ronnie Willis said Anthony Eugene Hunt was hit with several shotgun blasts as he tried to drive away from his former father-in-law's house. The shooting happened about 5 p-m at a residence in the Zip City community off Alabama 17. Willis said it appeared that 75-year-old Neler Keeton fired the shots, killing Hunt. Investigators are trying to determine whether Hunt struck Keeton in the head with a metal object. No charges were immediately filed after the shooting, but Keeton, who was treated for a head wound, was questioned."


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your diligence in fighting for others rights. I am the neice of this oldster. My uncle has always stood up for others rights as well. That day he had to defend his grandson, his home, and himself with this man. This man had tormented him and his family for four years with his manipulations and terror. My uncle spent the day this happenned having an ice cream party for all of his grandchildrens schoolmates (at least 150 children) making the ice cream himself and giving to others. It has hurt our family in so many ways, someone who was once able to give of himself and help with the children has now become a saftey issue with the State of Alabama. He can no longer help his grandchildren thru this most tragic time of their lives. They have lost their dad and their grandfather as well. My uncle had all of the right to defend himself that day, and no one had the right to come to his home, attack him, and threaten his grandson. He was an intolerable person with intolerable expectations of others, he was not the victim in this situation. My uncle and his grandchildren were. It would mean a great deal to me if you could change your line "oldster gets revenge" to something more appropiate, such as grandfather defends his home and family. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Times Daily Stated in 3/17/07:"During a preliminary hearing Friday, Lauderdale County Sheriff's investigator Richard Richey read portions of statements from three witnesses to the shooting, including Hunt's 10-year-old son.
The youth described for police how Keeton and his father scuffled when Hunt attempted to pick him up. He told police the fight escalated into his grandfather shooting his father with a shotgun, Richey said.
Prosecutors contend Keeton shot Hunt as he was attempting to leave in his vehicle. Keeton was charged with murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle."

Then the Times again 6/3/06 stated:
"FLORENCE -- A preliminary autopsy indicates a Lauderdale County man reportedly shot by his father-in-law died from a wound to his back.
Authorities said Hunt was leaving the house, Keeton grabbed a shotgun, followed him outside and fired four shots at his former son-in-law.
Richey said while one shot hit the victim, two struck Hunt's Ford Explorer.
"Apparently, he was able to get into the vehicle and attempted to drive off,'' Richey said. "As (Hunt) was trying to drive off, the vehicle spun around in the driveway and came to stop just off the driveway in the edge of the grass.''
Richey said when officers arrived, Hunt was outside of the vehicle on the ground."

On May 25,2006 Times Daily stated:
"Based on the nature and extent of Mr. Keeton's injuries, we believe a complete investigation will reveal that Mr. Keeton acted in self-defense and his actions are justified," Austin said.
He said Keeton was struck in the head during the fight, causing a deep cut that required several stitches.
Keeton was treated at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital and released late Wednesday."

The victim here is the one that was shot full of holes with a 12 gauge shot gun in front of the grand-son. The old man had a laceration to his head! And that justifies murder? What's wrong with this picture folks? DONT be fool by the neice's story of how great her unlce was and that it was in self defense. Go to timesdaily.com and read for yourself. Keep yourself informed of the up-coming testimonies and facts. This was nothing more than a man that was bitter because his daughter didnt have custody of the kids...and thought killing the victim was the only way to change that! Nothing more, nothing less.
Anyone one that has half a brain will see the truth for what it is..Cold blooded murder.Good day! And now you know the rest of the story

Anonymous said...

Sources say prosecutorial misconduct will prompt a retrial. Keeton was convicted of manslaughter and given 20 years. Now he may go free.

Anonymous said...

May Mr Keeton die in prison as he deserves for taking the life of another. He could and should have went inside and called the police if he felt threaten instead of returned back outside with a shotgun and gunning down the man right in front of his own 10 yr old son. No one has a right to do that. He was an angry old man that had made statements to his neighbors(as stated by the neighbors during the trial) that he was gonna just have to kill him(his ex son in law) so his daughter could get full custody back..Which the neighbor said they didn't think he really was going do it. Also it wasn't stated that he went & picked up the grandchildren without permission at their school. Anyone know why the mother didn't have custody and also why after her ex husband was murdered why she was granted custody? If she was unfit by a court to have them when the father was alive then I feel the court system failed the children by allowing her to gain custody when her dad murdered her ex, her children's father. That is premeditated murdered if he had already stated to others about his intent to kill his ex son-in-law so his daughter would get the children back. Our court system is really messed up.There needs to be some major changes. No way this was self defense.

Anonymous said...

As tony's nephew, I'd like to say I'm happy he was recently denied parole and will rot in prison where he deserves to be. my uncle was killed in cold blood.