Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Michigan teenager dead after apparent home break-in: "A Benton Harbor teenager is dead after a shooting Monday morning. It happened just before 10 a.m. at 227 Hastings Ave., about a block from Benton Harbor High School. Police are investigating the case as a possible home break-in and are holding the homeowner at the Berrien County Jail for questioning. Officers say they were initially called there by neighbors who heard several shots being fired. After investigating they found the body of an 18- or 19-year-old boy, shot at least once in the chest near a back window of the home. As of Monday evening, police were not releasing the victim’s name or the homeowner’s name. They believe the teen was not alone and may have been with two to three other people trying to break into the home, but at this point that is only a theory. Police have also not confirmed that the teen was a student at Benton Harbor High School, but Benton Harbor Area Schools assistant superintendent Virginia Maxwell told WSBT News the district has been informed that he was a student. If it turns out the teenager was, in fact, breaking into the house, the homeowner would likely not face charges because it would be a case of self-defense."

Massachusetts man kills burglar -- exonerated: "A jury found Charles D. Chieppa, 57, not guilty of second-degree murder for the killing of a suspected burglar in 2004. Jurors needed just over 3½ hours to return the verdict in a case where all parties say intent was the most crucial issue... Earlier today witnesses in the case have said Mr. Chieppa awoke at about 4 a.m. June 17, 2004, to the sounds of an intruder in his 134 Ashley Blvd. home. After waking a tenant who rented a second-floor apartment, Mr. Chieppa went to his backyard with a semi-automatic handgun, according to testimony. There, he encountered Mr. Pereira, 24, who had apparently broken into Mr. Chieppa’s basement, according to testimony in the case. Mr. Pereira was seen fleeing from Mr. Chieppa’s yard before collapsing in the street with a fatal bullet wound, witnesses said. The intent behind that shooting took center stage in court today, with the prosecution saying it was anger, the defense saying it was fear, and Judge E. Susan Garsh telling jurors that whatever they decided about Mr. Chieppa’s motive would determine whether he faced murder or a lesser charge.... As he has throughout the trial, defense attorney Kevin J. Reddington told the jury today that his client, a decorated Vietnam veteran, believed he was in mortal danger and that he was protecting himself when he fired on Mr. Pereira. “When you consider his state of mind, when you consider the circumstances, this was a justifiable homicide by a citizen protecting himself,” he said."

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