Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NC: Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid Supports armed Defense of Home

A homeowner shot an intruder in North Carolina on Monday, February 23, 2015.  An accomplice escaped.   The pair broke in through a basement window, then broke down a door to gain access to the house.  The homeowner called 911.  He armed himself with a 12 gauge shotgun.  When the intruders kicked open the basement door and approached him in a hallway, the homeowner shot one once in the chest.  The intruder died at the scene. 

The Sheriff, Coy Reid, had some advice for people who would consider breaking into homes.   From hickoryrecord.com:
“The only thing I could advise these people out here breaking into peoples’ homes,” Reid said, “(is) if they’re doing it for drug habit, they need to break in on a drug dealer.
“It’s a whole lot safer.”
Another statement from Sheriff Reid did not make the print article.   From the video:
"You have a right to defend your property when someone breaks in the home on you.  You do not know if these people are coming in to steal property or are coming in to cause harm to you or your family."
Sheriff Reid also said that when they catch the accomplice, the accomplice will be charged with murder under North Carolina's felony murder rule.  Most states have some variation of this rule.  In essence, it says that if you are knowingly involved in a felony, in which someone dies as a result of the commission of the felony, you can be charged with homicide for that death. From the legal-dictionary:
A Rule of Law that holds that if a killing occurs during the commission or attempted commission of a felony (a major crime), the person or persons responsible for the felony can be charged with murder.
Generally an intent to kill is not necessary for felony-murder. The rule becomes operative when there is a killing during or a death soon after the felony, and there is some causal connection between the felony and the killing.
The felony-murder rule originated in England under the Common Law. Initially it was strictly applied, encompassing any death that occurred during the course of a felony, regardless of who caused it. Therefore, if a police officer attempting to stop a Robbery accidentally shot and killed an innocent passerby, the robber could be charged with murder.
Here is North Carolina's felony murder rule, in bold.  From ncfelonymurder.org:

§ 14-17. Murder in the first and second degree defined; punishment.

A murder which shall be perpetrated by means of poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starving, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or which shall be committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of any arson, rape or a sex offense, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or other felony committed or attempted with the use of a deadly weapon shall be deemed to be murder in the first degree, a Class A felony, and any person who commits such murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment in the State's prison for life without parole as the court shall determine pursuant to G.S. 15A-2000, except that any such person who was under 17 years of age at the time of the murder shall be punished with imprisonment in the State's prison for life without parole.
Burglary is one of the offenses mentioned, so the accomplice in this case may face life in prison.    But the phrase "shall be committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration"  leaves significant room for interpretation.  You would have to know North Carolina case law to make a prediction as to whether the rule would apply to this case.

Sheriff Reid joins the growing number of law enforcement officials who support people defending themselves and their homes.   Even big city police chiefs like Detroit's Chief Craig and urban county Sheriff's such as Milwaukee County's Sheriff Clarke are vocally supporting the right of armed self defense.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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