Friday, July 26, 2013

OH:Man who shot Burglar is Convicted of Felony, Given Diversion

Burglars are not "fair game" to be shot at indiscriminately.  In this case, the citizen used deadly force in an inappropriate way that resulted in the death of the burglar.  The penalties are that he has been convicted as a felon, has lost the right to vote and to own firearms, must pay $1,000 for funeral costs, and be under supervision for five years.  From

A Jacksonville area man who last month fatally shot an alleged burglar as he left a neighbor's home pleaded no contest Tuesday morning in Athens County Common Pleas Court. 

According to an account of the incident as provided by law enforcement, the shooter, 39-year-old Randy D. Richmond claimed that, acting under the influence of a strong adrenaline rush, he shot 33-year-old Keith "P.J." Rutter in an attempt to keep him from escaping, and also out of fear that he might attack Richmond with a knife. 

Richmond reportedly told officers he never planned to kill Rutter, only to stop him. He pleaded to two charges including reckless homicide, a third-degree felony, and negligent homicide, a first-degree misdemeanor, in the June 20 shooting death of Rutter, who lives in the same area
 It became clear that the burglar was not a threat, because he was moving away from Mr. Richmond, with thick foliage separating them, and at no time did he display the knife that he possessed in a threatening manner.

What is also clear, is that the authorities in this Ohio town had some sympathy for a citizen who was trying to stop a rash of burglaries in the area.

 Blackburn said after the court hearing that shell casings collected at the scene fit this narrative. He characterized the shooting during the incident as a "very unlucky shot," noting that Richmond hit Rutter uphill through trees and foliage with limited, if any, visibility, and without taking careful aim.

It is worth noting that the mother of the burglar agreed with the sentence and made the following statement:

 "I would like to apologize to the public for what my son has done to anyone," she wrote, "but have respect for me because I was his mother, and I have lost part of my heart."
The decision to use deadly force is a serious one, as this case illustrates.    The shooter should never have fired.  He could not even see the burglar clearly, if at all, through the thick foliage.

This case can be taken as one in which "warning shots" or "shooting to wound" failed spectacularly.

Dean Weingarten

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once again the criminal has more rights than the citizen. Sad for the criminals family but he chose his fate. If I were on a jury and a thief were shot red handed so to speak, the shooter would walk.