2014-12-04T210810Z_2046728032_TM3EAC416H601_RTRMADP_3_USA-MONTANA-EXCHANGESTUDENT

In the wake of the George Zimmerman trial, gun control advocates (and race hustlers) demanded the repeal of “stand your ground” laws. Although the laws simply remove the legal obligation to retreat when attacked, and Zimmerman’s defense team never evoked SYG, the antis tried to rebrand SYG as the “shoot first ask questions later” and “a license to kill” law. In truth, a SYG defense is subject to the same “reasonable person” standard as any other use of deadly force. Would a reasonable person have done the same thing? In a Montana murder trial where SYG was raised, the jury’s answer was of course not . . .

Just days before he shot to death a 17-year-old German exchange student, Markus Kaarma told hair stylists he had been waiting up to shoot some kids who were burglarizing homes.

He told them they would see it on the news.

Kaarma hoped to bait an intruder by leaving his garage door partially open and placing a purse inside, prosecutors said. And when he did, a motion detector alerted him early April 27. Kaarma took a shotgun outside and almost immediately fired four blasts into the garage. Diren Dede, unarmed, [“scavenging” for alcohol] was hit twice. He died after the final shot hit him in the head.

For those reasons, Kaarma’s “castle doctrine” defense, which allows people to use deadly force to protect their home and family, failed him Wednesday. A Missoula jury convicted him of deliberate homicide.

The AP story reports that 30 states have stand your ground laws. Why not the rest? [h/t Scott I]

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161 Responses to Montana Verdict: Stand Your Ground Law Not A License To Kill

    • Teenagers do stupid things all the time. Most of them learn from those mistakes to become responsible adults…that is if some moron doesn’t murder the kid in a garage first.

      • A mother shouldn’t have to worry about her son not coming home alive everytime he robs a house….wtf…I mean, the shooter should be required by law to first ask for a form of identification first and only shoot if the perpetrator is of proper age because 17 year old can look too much like an adult!

  1. This decision is, IMHO, completely wrong, hope it will die on appeal. If the defendant left the door open as I always do, and if he left several 10 Kilo gold bars in plain sight, there is no suggestion that the punk somehow believed that it was his home, his property, he could come and go as he wished, take whatever he wanted. The concept should be that if you invade someone else’s property without invitation (which he did, without any question), you may be killed. No questions, no dodging and jinking about this or that, you entered another person’s home, that person can kill you without any fear of reprisal, from any quarter, for any reason. Stay out of other people’s homes! Is that so difficult?

    • As I’ve stated previously, the propper charge in this case would have been hunting over bait.

      This guy shot and killed an intruder in his home during an attempted robbery. The 14 year old kid that everyone is calling a hero this week shot and killed someone before they became an intruder in his (grandparent’s) home.

      Now, leaving the door open and placing a purse within view was not the best idea, but the absolute closest that I can get to murder is hunting over bait here. He was clearly baiting a robber by leaving the purse in view, and he was clearly hunting criminals as he had told people that he was going to shoot one (how often do we say that we’re going to go kill a deer?) and he was waiting and ready when the criminal arrived.

      No, it’s not PC, but maybe if people stopped thinking that robbery was PC we wouldn’t have this problem.

      • The difference in this case is that the shooter acted deliberately before any intrusion took place or was imminent to shoot and kill someone. Whether the person shot had crossed the threshold of the private areas of the defenders property is less important than whether or not the intruder posed a threat to the defender. In the Missoula case here, it seems the intruder was not even aware of the defenders presence and therefore could not pose a threat to him.

        Remember folks, we have guns to defend our lives. You can’t defend your life from someone who is not attacking you, or at the very least poses a direct threat and shown intent to do you harm.

        Even James Yeager isn’t down with shooting people over property.

        I agree with this verdict. The intruder was shot essentially for trespassing, not for threatening someones life.

        • The whole idea of the castle doctrine, which I agree with, is that if a person enters your home without your consent, he means you ill and you may deal with that. As in, shoot the SOB, don’t wait and see if he’s going to kill you. And if I’m hearing some say the garage is somehow not part of the home, I disagree hugely. I have a refrigerator, a freezer, and a $50,000 car in my garage, the doors into the rest of the house don’t lock, and I’m in and out of it more on a given day than the master bedroom.

        • Regardless of whether the “idea” is that or not (in practice it’s more nuanced), that’s not what the law says.

    • Presumably you wouldn’t leave those gold bars out in your open garage as bait with the explicit purpose of luring someone in so that you could kill them, which is exactly what this man did, by his own admission I might add. That’s also known as entrapment.

      • I disagree. First, entrapment is really a legal term describing law enforcement activity designed to induce someone to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed, but for the law enforcement trick. Very basically, the LEO must have created the intent to commit the crime in the mind of the entrapped party, and that party must not also have been predisposed to commit the crime. None of that applies here. The homeowner isn’t a LEO and the kid was a thief of his own volition.

        Second, that word “lure” is inapplicable because there was no real trick here. It’s not as though the kid was a trick or treater who ate candy poisoned and provided by the defendant. That would be a true lure, because the kid was actively tricked as to the true nature of the candy provided. In this case, the kid didn’t wasn’t tricked, since he knew full well that the garage and purse were not his property and nothing invited him. Neither was he actively enticed, since the purse was only passively lying there, which the homeowner had a right to do.

        That said, I don’t approve of this man’s actions. He did orchestrate the encounter, so he can’t in my mind get away with playing the peaceful homeowner card. It’s morally reprehensible, but I’m not immediately convinced it constitutes a legal culpability. It might, though, if he really did just start blasting away upon his entering the garage, because his lethal response wasn’t commensurate with the degree of threat he faced.

        What’s abundantly clear, is that if the kid had kept his hands to himself and if the homeowner had adhered to the DBAD rule, none of this would have happened.

        • I think this poster was thinking about trap guns, which are AFAIK universally banned in the US. Although this case did not involve a trap gun, it did involve a trap and a preconceived notion that the homeowner would kill anyone who fell into it. In that sense, it was an act of vigilantism, also illegal.

        • I think you mean “spring guns” which are illegal by common law as well. But lying in wait is not the same as a mindless spring gun.

          The key to this case is intent. He didn’t accidentally leave his garage open. He intended to leave it open with the intent to kill a burglar. Intent is the key.

      • As I understood it, it was a free standing garage, and upon the motion detector go off, he went and fired through the wall of the garage four times.

        So he didn’t know what he was shooting at, he wasn’t in any way threatened (yet). He would have been in the wrong no matter what set off his motion detector, it’s just a question of what he’s guilty of shooting at. And you cannot kill people to protect property in most of the US.

        • In Texas, if I’m not mistaken, some have successfully defended themselves (or were never charged), killing in defense of property without being threatened with bodily harm. I also believe that the law says you can shoot someone who stole your property as they are running away with your property as long as it’s nighttime. This law has not been tested in the courts (as far as I know) with a jury. Care to be a test case?

    • Based solely on the facts presented in the post I say the jury got this one exactly right. He announced his intention to shoot someone prior to the incident, then proceeded to to stage his property in such a manner as to entice passersby to trespass when they may not have been otherwise intending to burglarize houses, then when a motion detector in the garage went off he armed himself then EXITED the residence and, apparently without attempting to identify the intruder or allow them to surrender peacefully and wait for police (who he may or probably hadn’t already called), fired INTO the residence killing the intruder. IMHO the two biggest facts that turned this from a “Castle Doctrine/SYG” self-defense acquittal to a deliberate homicide (most likely First Degree Murder charges, but I’m only using the info from this blog post) were his stating his plans to shoot home invaders and the fact that he went outside and actively engaged the intruder before the intruder could reach his location inside the house.

      • Oh but who’s to say the kid wasn’t already predisposed to theft and cruising for an opportunity? Any external enticement, even if it existed, would be moot if the thief already possessed an internal intention to steal. A rapist is still a rapist, even if the victim had been wearing a short skirt and strolling through the hood in the middle of the night.

        All other factors held constant, what if the object in question weren’t a purposely planted purse, but a regularly placed lawn gnome or flamingo? Would the homeowner be guilty of murder for defending his property then, even if he did possess an “I wish an MF’er would….” attitude? It’s the MF’ers actions that triggered the reaction.

        Desirability of the event wouldn’t matter if it were an inexpensive decoration in question, nor should it matter if it’s an assumed-to-be valuable purse. Neither would this be an issue if the man’s wife had actually accidentally dropped the purse in the garage and accidentally left the door open. If being bloodthirsty under those “legitimate” circumstances would not make him guilty, then neither should it under this contrived scenario.

        I still want to find him guilty of something serious, to be sure, but we need to tighten up the reasoning.

        • Yeah, the shooter is a jackass for sure, but I still think the finding was wrong. Try this; if I’m in my garage this afternoon and a stranger walks in despite my objections, I will shoot him. Now, all that remains is for someone to do that (walk in) and I would be in the precise same position this shooter was. I announced my intention in advance, and I have valuable property visible in my open garage. Absent a sign out front saying “free stuff, take whatever you want”, no one walking down the street can imagine that my property is his own. Anyone taking it on himself to come in looking for something to steal is a bad actor, not a poor baby. And I’m pretty sure burglary and theft are illegal in Germany, too, so his status as an exchange student is unimportant.

        • Try this; if I’m in my garage this afternoon and a stranger walks in despite my objections, I will shoot him.

          Under Montana castle doctrine statutes, your use of deadly force would be equally unlawful.

        • I think you are dreaming. I tell him to stop and he keeps advancing while on my property and he enters my house? He’s a dead man, and try to tell a jury I couldn’t believe my life was being threatened. And I didn’t mention castle doctrine.

        • I tell him to stop and he keeps advancing while on my property and he enters my house? He’s a dead man, and try to tell a jury I couldn’t believe my life was being threatened.

          And in that case, you would be able to articulate reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.

          That scenario still has nothing to do with the Montana verdict.

          One of the main questions I would have to ask, as a juror, is: if the intruder being inside your garage caused you reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm, then why did you set a bait that enticed that person to enter your garage? The intent to cause the person to be inside the garage belies a claim that the presence of that person inside your garage caused you reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.

    • Had he kept it to himself he might have beat the rap but he bragged about it so it showed premeditation. The lesson here is if you are going to use the law to kill someone STFU.

    • SYG was not meant to make hunting humans legal. The thief was wrong but the homeowner’s actions are reprehensible.

    • Real question – is a detached garage part of your home? If there’s still a solid, locked exterior door between the intruder and your slumbering family, should you still be able to invoke the castle doctrine?

      IMHO, the jury was making a public policy point about baiting an intruder, and firing blindly at an unconfirmed threat. What if the intruder had been a junkie mom and her baby? Don’t we say that a shooter should know his target and what is behind it?

      This guy wanted to kill someone and was not too fussy in how he went about it. The jury got it right.

      • Well, here we are with the differences in grounds for shooting at all, again, which depends on your own state’s laws. If I had a detached garage 100 feet from the main residence, with triple locked doors preventing the thief from entering, I can still shoot him with my hunting rifle if he attempts to steal my car. Because deadly force may be used in defense of property in TX, and should be everywhere. IOW, there is no one answer to your question.

      • “Real question – is a detached garage part of your home?”

        In Florida, yes.

        Few years back a 15 yo broke into a car under a covered car port.

        Homeowner shot dead the kid and was not charged, under Castle Doctrine.

        And yes, the wailing and bleating of the Felon’s mother meant not one whit.

    • In some states, you can kill people to defend property. Kaarma (rather ironic name) wasn’t defending property. He was using property as bait to get a chance to murder somebody. Kaarma didn’t understand the law quite as well as he thought.

      • The thing is, there are only a couple of states where you can use deadly force to protect or recover property, and AFAIK, Montana isn’t one of them.

        • See http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/3/45-3-104.htm.

          45-3-104. Use of force in defense of other property. A person is justified in the use of force or threat to use force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that the conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other person’s trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with either real property, other than an occupied structure, or personal property lawfully in the person’s possession or in the possession of another who is a member of the person’s immediate family or household or of a person whose property the person has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm only if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

      • In Texas it is. Nighttime uninvited trespasser is fair game. I think the jury got this wrong. Premeditated “I’m gonna shoot a robber” isn’t a crime. He didnt know who was gonna show up, motion sensors aren’t illegal, and I sure as heck wouls take precautions when confronting an unknown trespasser. I’ve got a motorcycle and valuables in my house. Is that entrapment?

        • Entrapment is totally irrelevant. The point is he was not in reasonable danger so therefor it was illegal to use deadly force.

        • Here in Texas it is legal to shoot someone that has forcefully and unlawfully entered your home. Key word being “forcefully”. You can’t shoot someone for being in your driveway and you can’t shoot them for being in your garage when you left it open. Now if they were stealing something or you or someone else’s life was believed to be in danger then that is another story.

          I don’t know what the confusion about this whole matter is however. It was a premeditated action with the sole intention of bagging a bad guy. One less bad guy is all well and good but this is vigilantism, plain and simple. Things would get real messy real fast if something like this were OK.

        • For someone to enter your home or property uninvited/illegally/tresspassing (doesn’t matter who it is) puts you or your family at risk. Why should it be wrong to defend same? So we have to allow burglary/tresspass now?…is it a right to tresspass/burglarize? Wow! Whats the point of having a means to protect yourself when you are threatened if you are prosecuted when you do so…? When did MY life become so worthless??

        • I would not have done as he did, but I don’t think he was wrong for defending his family/property. And you can “what if it was a female junkie with a baby” all day long…doesn’t diminish his right to defend his family/property. When people do bad things, bad things happen. Just because it was highly likely that he would be burglarized…..he was prepared…so he is guilty of murder? We just as well turn our guns in!

        • But he wasn’t in Texas, he was in Montana. BTW, the Texas law is not limited to nighttime intruders. If someone takes my TV out of my house in broad daylight, I can chase him down and try to recover it. If I REASONABLY believe that trying to recover it by lesser means will subject me to possible death or serious injury, I can use deadly force to recover it. At least that’s how I understand it.

        • If you leave your motorcycle or valuables somewhere conspicuous with the expressed purpose of luring someone to them and then killing them, then yes that is most definitely very illegal, any jury that convicts you of murder would be 100% right, I have been corrected above that entrapment is not the correct term for that.

          Now the only real way to prove that is if you go around telling people that is what you are planning on doing. which this guy did.

        • “Now the only real way to prove that is if you go around telling people that is what you are planning on doing”

          Tex, that should be covered by even the least qualified defense attorney by having the shooter say “Yeah, I did say that, but then I changed my mind, and did not/stopped plan on doing so.”

    • When I was in high school, we had a neighbor whose 3-4 year old child had downs syndrome. The parents didn’t really keep an eye on him, and he would just leave the house and wander around the neighborhood. There were a number of times we would find him wandering in our yard and in our garage. If we had set up something like this, then blindly fired when the detector went off, like this guy did, we would have killed a harmless child and rightly been convicted of a crime.

    • RE: [LarryinTX says:
      December 18, 2014 at 18:18]

      Yes, spot on. How can the jury’s personal opinion (see: Former Water Walker) have any bearing on this decision….?
      Also, want to add that it was a TURKISH exchange student from Germany. Turkey has a savage mooslum culture where this behavior is commonplace and expected.
      This homeowner is doing the society a service: a criminal mind metastasizes with future success, featuring actual enjoyment of this criminality (process), and Kaarma euthanized that process, sparing many innocent victims. No normal person does what this Turk did. This never happened in my youth and neighborhood [“More recently” I’ve had the displeasure of seeing this process with a bird’s eye view. The perp in question ‘ran over’ (i.e. stole from men, raped sleazy women, used desperate women and in one case knocked the teeth out of his friend during a drunk argument over a woman)] a lot of innocent people until he was caught trying to break into a car, was beaten, jaw broken requiring wired shut, and had a first hand encounter with the criminal justice system including prison…

    • Wouldn’t it be similar to a rapist saying ” But she was wearing a blouse that showed her cleavage and short-shorts that almost let you see her groin! And she SMILED at me! She was practically begging me to do her. This CAN’T be rape? More like entrapment…”

    • This case is clearly one of the homeowner PLANNING or rather PRE-planning to kill someone. The facts are that he left the garage door open with the sole intent of luring the kids in there so that HE COULD shoot them. He made many mistakes that prove he preplanned to kill. By shooting off his mouth about what HE was going to do, clearly sets the stage for what happened next. IT’s the same thing as IF Joe Schmo was walking down the sidewalk in Harlem wearing a pound and a half of gold and 500 dollar shoes. Knowing full well that he was armed and he was walking around the area at night in an attempt to lure a mugger in to proximity where he can then shoot the mugger. As they say in the South, “That dog just don’t hunt.”

  2. Wrong verdict. The law is what the law says. A reasonable person may have the expectation of bodily harm while a perpetrator is committing the felony of entering the residence -regardless of what the person has thought, said or felt beforehand. The jury nullified the law in this case. It doesn’t matter if the victim was bloodthirsty or not; he is the victim. Karrama may not have necessarily felt threatened when Dede entered the garage, but only because he was prepared.

    • The problem with your reasoning there is the fact that as you mention everything is dependent on the Reasonable Man standard. A Reasonable Man could certainly fear death or GBH from an unknown intruder in the garage. However, I completely fail to see how a Reasonable Man would decide the proper course of action would be to exit the house with a shotgun and then fire into the garage at the intruder. Furthermore, once out of the house the Reasonable Man would have no further cause to reasonably fear death or GBH from the intruder WHILE THE INTRUDER WAS STILL IN THE HOUSE. This still isn’t even taking into account the facts that he announced plans to shoot home invaders and intentionally staged his house to create a break in where one may not have otherwise happened. Not knowing the layout of his house it is hard to speculate as to whether or not he could have executed his plan differently and been able to successfully argue self-defense through Castle Doctrine or SYG.

      • How many people here have expressed intent to defend their homes from any and all criminal elements? Him stating his plans to shoot home invaders is irrelevant. I can say that I don’t like jihadist terrorists that want to behead me. However, in saying that, I have not given up my rights to self defense if said terrorists come into my home -sword in hand- against my wishes. If Dede could see the “bait” from the street, there would have been adequate conditions for Kaarma to see the burglar from outside as well, unless Dede went farther into the residence than was necessary to acquire the purse. If Kaarma could not see the burglar, then he could not know Dede’s full intent and again could have reasonable fear of harm. As for the shotgun, a reasonable man is always going to be armed when his home is invaded. He would not leave the shotgun at the front door on his way out.

        • Kaarma left the reasonable man standard when he laid out bait to provide an excuse for murder. There are at least twelve people in Missoula who agree.

        • It doesn’t mean those 12 are right.
          Does a man provide bait by parking an unlocked Audi (not running) in his trailer park yard?
          Does a beautiful woman provide bait by jogging at 2 am in a sports bra and spandex?
          Does a home owner provide bait for pitbull fighters by leaving small “bait” dogs in a fenced back yard with the gate closed but not chained or locked?
          A person can leave their shyt in their yard/house/vehicle anyway they want to and the onus is on the burglar to NOT break the law.
          A woman can jog down the road and the onus is on everybody else to not harass her or worse.
          People doing stupid stuff doesn’t alleviate anyone else of their responsibilities to obey the law.

        • And the law prohibits killing people just because you want to. Kaarma didn’t kill Dede to protect his property. Protecting property was a pretext. It’s about Kaarma’s bad intent.

        • If the law said that a person was justified in using deadly force “as long as they didn’t intend to lay a trap”, I would be fully on board.
          I don’t plan to use deadly force if someone is stealing my inanimate property. Anything of value is insured and or well secured. None of it is worth going to jail over. I would like to add that I’m not trying to say Kaarma is a good guy or that Dedes deserved what he got.
          There should be a lesson for everyone though. Prosecutors will now be looking for anything they can call “bait”.
          Leave your kicks outside in the garage so as to not track in dirt = bait
          Thugs can see your 65″ LCD playing through the window while you’re on the other end of the house = bait
          Home A/C is out so you leave some windows open = bait
          and bait = intent
          …and DGUs will have to defend against the charge in court -whether they intended to or not. That is a slippery slope when a group of people take it upon themselves to determine whats going on inside someone’s mind and not just in this particular case.

        • Model31, there is nothing about this case that backs up anything you wrote. This case is about someone with evil intentions who told other people about them, put a plan in place, and then carried them out. This is about the system working, not breaking down.

        • TT, you are wrong. Your point of view is that intent is all that matters. You ignore all the other laws pertinent to the case. You ignore anything about the case other than intent. You haven’t addressed “anything” I’ve written because once you get past intent (and him being a jerk), the right vs. wrong it isn’t as clearly defined. Your response is “intent”. You think you know what Kaarma had on his mind when he intended to “lay his trap”. That is a separate issue to what was in his mind when he fired his weapon at an intruder in his residence. What matters is the burglar was there and you can’t prove the intruder would not have gone in there had he not been “baited”. There is enough in this case to reach reasonable doubt. Your mind is made up as is mine, so I’m done.

        • Model 31, Your mind might be made up but I ask you to consider the following: 1) Stand Your Ground states that an individual has no duty to retreat from any place they have lawful right to be and may use any level of force, including lethal, if they reasonably believe they face an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death. 2) The garage was attached to the home. 3) Karmaa departed the home. thus a) removing the imminent and immediate threat b) removing himself as a barrier to the rest of the house c) cutting off the burglar’s avenue of retreat.
          When you consider those facts in concert with his statements prior to killing, he cannot successfully plead SYG because he did not face an imminent or immediate threat nor did his family (if he had considered the burglar an IIT he would not have removed himself from between the burglar and his family….at least that how I would apply the Reasonable Man standard.)

        • I agree with much of what you say. Much of what Kaarma did can be considered stupid but it he did not break the law when he decided to investigate the reason the alarm went off. He did things I personally would not do. He may have had to leave the sanctuary of his home to see why the alarm was tripped. He may not have had to do any investigation, but it was not illegal for him to do it on his property. The question is: The moment he pulled the trigger, did he have a reasonable expectation he could be in danger? In this case, I think the answer is yes.

        • HMM….Any one ever heard of the show “Bait car” ….??? Doesn’t seem to be considered entrapment there….but it is when your family is a risk? Oh the double standards of the left….! And….since when do we, the home owners have a requirement to run away from our own house? Last time I checked….our home is our refuge. If you can’t defend your home, you are not safe ANYWHERE! Where’s the freedom in that?

        • This thread seems to include the concept of the shooter firing blind. I did not catch that in any news reporting, is it accurate? Would it make a difference?

        • You’re right, he didn’t break the law when he went to investigate. His problem came when you take what I mentioned above and put it with the fact that days before, Kaarma had told a woman that his house had been burglarized twice and he had been waiting up nights to shoot an intruder, according to court records. Once this came out in open court, the burden of proof realistically shifted from the state to himself. It became incumbent on him to prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that his life was in danger and that he didn’t kill the burglar simply because he was a burglar. And since the burglar was unarmed and pleaded for his life I guess the jury opted to believe Kaarma was at fault.
          And please remember, this is a criminal trial. For those that say a fair share of the blame belongs on the burglar, that can be argued should a civil suit be filed. Percentage of blame does not come up in criminal cases. And yes, for the record, I believe a good portion of the blame falls on the burglar.

        • “Pleaded for his life”? WTF? I never heard that. If that was proven between being shot once and being shot in the head, it’s all over except for choosing which Bubba.

  3. Every time the media tells this story they mention Zimmerman and “Stand Your Ground”. Almost like they want to rewrite history.
    Surely nobody listening will fall for that!

  4. The problem is that Missoula is very liberal. I’m on the same beat, come into my home and you forfeit your life. I can stand on town square and shout that I wish for nothing more than to murder anybody who walks into my front door unannounced and when somebody does they die. I don’t care if he set his house up like a mock up of Vietnam with pitfalls and everything. The second you think you can take what is mine on my property and put me and mine at risk you have placed yourself in a contest with me for whom has the greater will to live.

    I really hope this dies on appeal as well. When you join the army you accept risks, when you break into my house you accept risks. I’m almost ashamed that I come from Missoula now.

    • “The second you think you can take what is mine on my property and put me and mine at risk”

      Haven’t you blithely run two very different behaviors together? In your own state a shooting to protect property when you and yours are not threatened and you are outdoors is not a justifiable shooting. When you and yours are threatened in your house the shooting would be justified regardless of property issues.

      Decent people don’t bait thieves just to shoot them. “No bait? No blame!” (and “loose lips sink ships”).

      • If the law in your state say that if a thief breaks into your car, right in front of you, and takes a few minutes hotwiring the ignition before driving off, you have to just stand there and watch him, then you need to work on changing that law, because it is STUPID! Laws like that were passed in the attempt to make guns useless and therefore easy to confiscate. Of course you would shoot him, anyone would shoot him, then they can put you in prison and scream to high heaven that guns are useless in preventing crime.

        And despite people pretending to know the laws of other states, in TX you can use deadly force to stop a thief who is stealing something worth more than $500. Like your car. Without any threat to your life, inside, outside, daytime, nighttime, whatever. Doesn’t need to be on your property, either.

    • This may be what you believe but its not our law. Even Gary Marbut who wrote our castle law said he would not defend Karma.

  5. Wrong verdict; The shooting was justified. His mouthing off and additional witnesses did him in but he did everything right. He’ll beat the rap but not the ride on appeal.

  6. I’m torn on this one a little…
    on the one hand…he expressed desire, made a specific plan and executed it…the fact that it occurred in his house is simply a byproduct.

    On the other hand….it is still his house…they were not given permission to enter. Still…more like hunting than defense. I dunno…

    Bad choices all the way around. Those kids were gonna get it from some-one. Now we get to pay for this dumbass to live in the clink.

    • I hear ya. That is probably the same issue the jury had to deal with. Had I been on the jury, I would have wresteled with that question also.

      But for the kids felonious activity, he would be alive. As such I put the blame squarely on him.
      However, there is no doubt that Kaarma did set a trap; which is no bueno.

      Kaarma’s problem was that he ran him mouth beforehand so he could not say “I heard a sound, found a burgler and defended myself.” Had he not said anything to anyone about this (that could testify about it) he would have had a higher probability that the jury would have aquitted him.
      Not that I am condoning his actions, but he failed to exercise proper OPSEC, and it bit him in the backside.

  7. SYG, as the post points out, merely removes the duty to retreat if you are attacked. I wasn’t at the trial, didn’t hear the evidence, but from what was posted it does not seem entirely unreasonable that a jury could find that the defendant wasn’t being attacked at all. In Texas, where deadly force may be permissible to defend or recover property, the defendant would have had an alternate defense to rely on, which may have better served him. But Texas is one of only two or three states where deadly force is available to protect or retrieve property.

    • From what I’ve heard, there was nothing of enough value in that garage to allow that defense in TX. If he’d confronted the kid here, my guess would be that the case would eventually rest on whether the kid was shot in the front or the back. If he sees you, turns and runs with empty hands, you clearly (to me) should not shoot him in the back. If he approaches you, hunting season is open, blaze away. Was this kid shot in the back?

  8. SYG doesn’t apply, in the jury’s apparent view, because the German Exchange Student was not threatening Kaarma. The Castle Doctrine does not apply because the homeowner was outdoors, essentially hunting the student/thief, and shooting into the house (assuming Montana’s works like PA’s).

    I find this event and verdict reminiscent of an interesting case, Katko v. Briney. In short, Briney placed a spring gun in an old unoccupied farm house on his property, aimed at leg height. Katko trespassed to steal, was shot, sued, and won. The interesting result is that the event was incorrectly described in the press as a shooting in an occupied dwelling. Angry voters pushed for what came to be called “Briney Laws,” which are the forebears of today’s Castle laws.

    The jury in Montana apparently saw the homeowner’s behavior as effectively “setting a spring gun to protect property, not life” and convicted. Yes, I know, in Texas things are different.

    • Even in Texas, can you use force as a FIRST resort? I mean, he could have said “drop the bag f*khead and lie down on the ground”. If the intruder had then tried to flee with the bag, force would (might?) be justified to retreive the stolen property. But the homeowner didn’t try anything less than deadly force. I would think that improper if a cop did it and no less so in the case of a non-LEO.

      • As I understand it (living in Texas and being a former prosecutor), in Texas you can use deadly force to protect property if you reasonably believe that using lesser means would subject you to possible death or serious injury. There are also some presumptions that come into play, like forceful entry at night, you are entitled to assume there is a threat of death, etc. But, if a six-year-old kid tries to run off with my wife’s purse, I’m not automatically entitled to shoot him down. I would have to somehow show that he presented a reasonable threat of death or serious bodily injury to me should I run after him and try to snatch it back or whatever.

        • Aw, now that’s a fun scenario. My wife has a loaded gun in her purse. Does that change the answer?

      • Anon, if am working in my garage and 2 strangers walk down my driveway carrying a baseball bat, I will tell them to stop, once. Then I will start shooting, and continue shooting until they are down or I’m out of ammo, regardless of whether I am faced by their front or back. There is no baseball diamond here, I’m on a dead end street, and being from CT you should know what I’m saying.

        • Anon, if am working in my garage and 2 guys walk down my driveway carrying a baseball bat, I will tell them to stop, once.

          And you’ve just materially changed the scenario, by introducing disparity of force and reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.

    • In my home without permission while I am in my home, or my family is in my home = threatening all by itself, and the kid DID do that.

  9. I don’t tolerate entrapment when it comes to cops, and I don’t tolerate it with civilians. If he really wanted to blast a dude, should have waited until someone actually broke into his house.

    • I believe the homeowner was wrong, but this is not entrapment and wouldn’t be if he were a cop. Entrapment only applies if a suspect is tricked into something you can can make an argument they wouldn’t have otherwise done. The kid made the decision on his own. No different than a bait car or fake prostitute.

  10. Under the law, right or wrong, the premeditated nature of the shooting is what sunk this guy. That being said, the thieve was bound to learn the hard way one time or another.

  11. This is akin to walking around the bad part of town with a wad of hundreds hanging out of your pocket just wanting someone to attack you so you can light them up. You may have the right to defend your self, but not to provoke an attack for the reason of defending your self.

    And two hits from a shotgun? Something tells me after the first any reason to consider him a threat was gone. Mostly the fact that the second shot was to the head. I don’t think he was moving around to much.

    • ” but not to provoke an attack for the reason of defending your self.”

      I’ll preface this by saying I’d never do it:

      They choose to attack. You’re legally some place, the onus should never be on you.

      Otherwise you could say the same thing about officers (who SCOTUS says has no responsibility to actually protect) when they’ve involved in a shooting: They “chose” to be there, thus they get no protection, regardless of the legalities of self defense.

    • I can see a problem with that second shot, but I haven’t heard exactly what happened there. Was the kid on the ground? ‘Cuz that is murder. Was he shot in the back? We don’t have all the info.

  12. Good job, jurors. I had originally heard about this as though he shot into a dark garage and just happened to hit the teenager, but this is far worse. He intended to kill someone, bragged about his intentions and carried out his plan. He even went so far as to create the trap so that he (thought he) could skate on the charges. That’s as premeditated as you can get. Petty theft does not warrant the death penalty.

  13. Realistically, how is this case any different than the average person buying a firearm to protect themselves? Prosecution can argue the SAME exact thing: “They WANTED to kill, which is why they bought the firearm.”… no different than “He WANTED to kill, which is why he set the trap”.

    • The difference is the part about the trap out in the garage, and the homeowner’s “lying in wait” for the hapless intruder. You don’t get to kill someone just because they are trespassing on your property, which is what essentially happened here; instead, that person must present an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death before lethal force is justified. Some circumstances will justify a presumption that there was a threat of harm, but this one did not. In fact, it appears that the homeowner didn’t even make any attempt to determine if there was a threat of harm before opening up on an unarmed intruder.

    • He didn’t just buy a firearm, he premeditated a plot to lure in an unsuspecting teenager in order kill him and bragged about it. Maybe if someone bought a gun and walked around in a bad neighborhood hoping to get mugged so he could shoot someone there’d be a similarity.

      Stand your ground does not mean actively seeking confrontation, it means you don’t have to flee when confronted.

  14. This is clearly murder. And I find it morally repehensible that anyone would think otherwise.

    Protection of private property as such, does not justify homicide, at least not in any state laws I have read. Nor should it. I know in California defense of some property (real property eg) can involve deadly force.

    But regardless, the reasonable use of force standard fails. Heck forget reasonableness. He doesn’t even qualify for imperfect self-defense (does Montana have that?) where one honestly, but not reasonably believes either that there was an imminent threat of murder/rape/robbery/etc or that lethal force was necessary. Here, if one honestly believes the conditions or met, but one or more failthe reasonable person measure, you cannot be convicted of murder, but manslaughter at most. But his premeditated intent, which he announced, seals it as murder.

    A just penalty would be to hang him until dead.

    • Texas allows lethal defense of property.

      You may not use lethal force to protect your property (tv, house, dog, whatever) but it’s stupid to take the option off the table in all circumstances. The criminal is the one that decided their life was worth the risk.

      • I am confused with how you worded that. You first say that Texas allows lethal force in defense of property, but then say that you may not use lethal force to defend your house, TV, dog, etc…what property then is lethal force allowed for?

        • “You” as in the individual choice, not as in how the law is worded.

          Replace it with “someone” may not use it to defend their property.

        • “Texas allows the use of lethal force in the defense of property if it’s called for, but the individual person will have to decide for themselves if they will use lethal force to protect property”.

          A bit more clear?

        • AHHH, okay, now I see, I was reading it wrong, I see what you meant about individual choice. Thanks for the re-wording though.

      • That says this shooter is not guilty of anything, the verdict was wrong. He prevented the perp from entering an occupied structure. As specifically permitted by law.

        • I’m guessing you didn’t read clearly enough:

          (2) A person justified in the use of force pursuant to subsection (1) is justified in the use of force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm only if:
          (a) the entry is made or attempted and the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent an assault upon the person or another then in the occupied structure; or
          (b) the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony in the occupied structure.

          Where was the reasonable belief that the person in the garage intended to commit an assault or a forcible felony?

          He was justified in using force, yes; but not in using deadly force, per Montana statutes.

  15. This wasn’t even stand your ground because he was within his house.
    With that said, he did lay a trap with the intent to kill. I see no reason why he shouldn’t be going to jail right now.

  16. Still, people need to teach their children not to steal from people and not to attack people. It seems like maybe we are heading for a change in our society where it should be OK to steal and even attack policemen without consequence.

    • Umm, no. This is simply a reaffirmation that this country does not tolerate vigilante justice, no matter how badly the BG “had it comin'”.

      • So….we are waiting for the KING to decree that ANY force to include protecting ones own life is only authorized by the federal gubment……!!…….? Cause they ALWAYS know whats best for US ALL!!! Got it!

      • Well, now, that is just wrong. Vigilante justice is like this; he saw the kid, knew who he was, and went (followed) to the kid’s house and punished him. Actions taken in the same time frame as the criminal acts are defense, not vigilanteism(sp?).

  17. I do not at all myself believe in any “duty to retreat” if being threatened with severe bodily harm or death. If that is the case, you have every right to stand your ground and blow the SOB’s head off. The only duty in such a situation belongs to the attacker who has a duty to abide by the law and respect your natural rights.

    I do not see though how this case relates to SYG or castle doctrine at all. Also quite genius of this guy to tell the hair stylists what he was planning to do.

    Also, what was he doing in a hair styling shop? 😀

  18. Some comments here intrigue me. It seems having a door open is a trap. Having a purse visible from the outside is a trap. So, therefore living in a nice house that presumably has nice things inside is a trap, yes?

    Also, if one were to say to another “People keep breaking into my house and stealing things. If someone breaks into my house while I am there I will be armed and shoot to end the threat”, and then sometime later this happens and the intruder ends up dying, are they guilty of premeditated murder?

    I was not there when this happened, nor am I familiar with the facts of this particular case. Not making a judgement about the verdict. Just asking these questions based on some comments I’ve read.

      • Let me reiterate what I said- I am not asking those questions based on the case. I am asking them based on comments I have read.

        Comments that are pretty much “If you leave a door open you are luring…”, “If you have valuables visible that’s entrapment…”, or “If you say You are going to do x if y happens you are guilty of…if that happens”

        • It’s about intent either way. If you don’t see the significance of intent, then there’s nothing else to be said.

    • It depends on the number of females and liberals on your jury, and on the political leanings of the judge, of course.

  19. Both YG and the Castle Doctrine legalize the use of deadly force in situations where the defender reasonable believes that his own life is in imminent danger. A little German putz rooting through someone’s garage hardly seems to satisfy the reasonable belief standard. Where was the danger to the homeowner?

    Bad Kaarma, man. Bad Kaarma.

    • I don’t know if his alarm system had the ability to identify the intruder as a little German putz. I think he didn’t know who the intruder was. One thing is for sure; the German intruder ran into something he was not accustomed to in Germany…armed resistance.

    • I’m not at all sad about either the robber or the homeowner. Both have committed a premeditated crime. Both are now presented with the consequences of that. Good riddance on either count.

    • There may be less than one second between discovering that a stranger in your house is actually a threat and the time that you discover you are dead. You might wish to wait and find out, but the law should not require you to wait. Saving such punks’ lives should be accomplished, as far as the law is concerned, by outlawing the action of entering someone else’s property uninvited.

      That said, I just read an xmas letter from an old friend whose radio alarm went off one morning this year, and as she was slow turning it off, she found a man standing by her bed poking at it and complaining it was too loud. When he wandered back out in the hallway she locked the bedroom door and called police. They found he was from out of town, got drunk, and was dropped off by friends on the wrong street. His phone was on the porch, the charger in the bathroom, he thought he was in the house of the friends he was staying with. That would have to actually happen to me before I’d be able to say whether he would have survived that. Even half asleep, I’m thinking that, given that scenario, I would have recognized he was not a threat before I managed to pull the trigger. But I’m not sure. Either way, the law should not bother me. And if I had been awake and witnessed him entering, I would have shot him without question.

  20. Yeah, we’ve been saying this for a while, all of us have. SYG isn’t “license to kill.” You still have to use common sene and make a reasonable judgment call.

    Much less, honestly, this is Castle Doctrine, not SYG, if the victom was shot because he walked onto their property. Castle Doctrine is also not a license to kill. It allows you to presume a home intruder has malicious intent, sure, but if you baited them that doesn’t apply any more.

    Neither SYG nor CD are a license to kill for pleasure.

  21. I wouldn’t put bait out and wait for an intruder to shoot.

    But you know what I also wouldn’t do? Burglarize someone’s residence.

  22. This case proves what I’ve said for years. Do not shoot until there is absolutely no option. No matter how well justified you feel the shoot is it has to bear up to legal scrutiny. If it doesn’t, you’re screwed. and if it does, you may well still be screwed. Ask George Zimmerman if he wishes he’d just dialed 911 and went about his business.

    My house has never been broken into. I’m not about to set it up to entice a thief in.

    I’m betting that the thrill that this man anticipated from killing another human being will be long gone as he cuddles Bubba in his cell.

  23. While I definitely believe Kaarma qualifies for “Asshat Of The Year” because of the way in which he created the situation to “allow” (at least in his tiny little pea-brain) him to shoot someone, this made me go “hmmm…” and do some research. I’m glad I live here in Darwin’s waiting room now, more than ever, because of the following:

    “You can use deadly force in self-defense or defense of others if you reasonably believe someone is using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force while committing or about to commit any of the following crimes: burglary, kidnapping, assault in the first or second degree, burglary, robbery, forcible rape, or forcible sodomy. Self-defense is also allowed against a person who is unlawfully and forcefully entering, or already has entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is in the process of sabotaging or attempting to sabotage a federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is attempting to remove, or has forcefully removed, a person against his or her will from any dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle when the person has a legal right to be there.”

    Best advice – stFout of places in which you aren’t allowed – seems kinda simple, yes?

  24. You guys keep talking about the bait aspect. That is totally irrelevant to the case. Baiting is not illegal. The issue was if Karram could reasonably fear for his life.

    The simple fact that he could not see what he was shooting at made this open and shut. If you can’t see your target you can’t judge it to be a threat. What he did was reckless and he will pay the price, as did the criminal that entered his garage.

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes, it applies to both in this case. Our castle law was never at issue.

  25. On the one hand, this guy is a total idiot who deserves time.

    On the other hand, if a naked lady walks through the ghetto at night, and shoots someone trying to rape her is it not the same deal? Victim blaming and all? Then again no one sets out to get raped (I think) so maybe bad anology idk

    • The difference is that its legal to kill people to stop a rape, regardless of what you are wearing or where you are it. The same cannot be said of theft.

  26. I only know about this case from the article above.
    Sounds to me that the defendant clearly admitted his intentions and his actions.
    That was a mistake.
    I would NEVER have admitted that I baiting any intruder to invade my house to steal my stuff.
    I would have made the prosecutors prove that.
    Of course I would never have baited a trap for any intruders, but if I just accidentally dropped my valuable in the garage as I got out of the car would have been “my reasonable” story.
    In my state this might have gone a different way as the people here really really look down on intruders and home invasions.
    Cross my threshold and it’s my word against your dead silence.
    I live in a pretty good neighborhood and do not feel the need to resort to such tactics but if there were a rash of home invasions and thefts I could consider it.
    But I would never admit it court.

    • This is the irony of this, even if it was wrong he could have easily gotten away with it if he wasn’t such an idiot.

  27. Some of the comments above are disturbing.

    Let’s get something straight: When you shoot someone who no reasonable person would consider an imminent, credible threat to life and limb, it’s not self-defense. It’s murder.

    Kaarma’s comments to his barber revealed that even he realized this was not a self-defense situation. He just wanted to shoot a burglar. His comments didn’t change the relevant facts, they merely removed the possibility that the jury would believe he thought his life was in danger.

    • He didn’t know who broke in. Its not like he left out a strudel and a stein of beer for this kid specifically, and most of us have more valuable things than a purse in our garages. “Wishing a m-effer would” is not against the law. Neither are motion detectors. Neither is avoiding the fatal funnel of the door into the house from the garage. Maybe if I had more info than just the prosecutor’s biased claims I’d think differently, but this verdict seems wrong.

      • You are correct in that Kaarma did not commit any criminal acts … until he started pumping lead into a trespasser who was not threatening anyone.

      • Where the use of deadly force is concerned, pre-meditation and self-defense are mutually exclusive.

        That a non-trivial amount of people seem to think that it is morally just to forfeit a life as a result of entering a partially open door and attempting to steal a physical object is sad. That some of such people see no problem with intentionally creating the situation in an attempt to justify the use of deadly force is downright scary.

        • There are plenty of people in this country that firmly believe that obtaining a CCL or carrying a handgun demonstrates premeditation, and your statement would mean that self defense is no longer possible. Maybe you stated that wrong.

        • There are plenty of people in this country that firmly believe that obtaining a CCL or carrying a handgun demonstrates premeditation…

          And such beliefs are absurd. They have no bearing or resemblance to this case, where the guy who used deadly force actually pre-meditated exactly the scenario that played out, having bragged about it and having set the scene beforehand.

          …and your statement would mean that self defense is no longer possible.

          Given that the premise is absurdly false, the conclusion is likewise absurd. It would be like saying that carrying a fire extinguisher in your car is evidence of pre-meditated arson.

          Maybe you stated that wrong.

          No, I stated it appropriately.

          The legal concept of premeditation, as well as the legal basis for determining that a crime has been committed (including mens rea and malice aforethought), suitably separate the person who merely carries a firearm for self-defense from the person who intends to use deadly force against a specific person, and creates a scenario to attempt to provide himself legal justification for doing so.

        • ” the person who intends to use deadly force against a specific person”

          Uh, that did not happen in this case, as represented. The shooter had no idea who was going to be in that garage, his actions and his asserions were not directed against a specific person. And, BTW, good luck explaining the absurdity of the jury’s beliefs about premeditation in any of the slave states, and say “Hi” to Bubba for me!

        • Uh, that did not happen in this case, as represented. The shooter had no idea who was going to be in that garage, his actions and his asserions were not directed against a specific person.

          Bovine excrement.

          He bragged about his intent to get the person who was robbing his house. His actions were directed specifically at that person (even if he couldn’t personally identify that person). It doesn’t make his actions any less pre-meditated, nor does it in any way reduce the malice aforethoought of his actions. He acted criminally, and was duly convicted of his crime.

  28. From the AP article:
    “Last year in Florida, a jury acquitted security guard George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman followed the teenager, contended the boy attacked him, and was acquitted of murder even though he was not at his home at the time of the shooting.”

    I’ve seen “slanted journalism”, but that gem from the AP minion “reporter” is close to vertical. For one thing, it displays either stupidity or pretended ignorance in muddling “castle doctrine” and “stand your ground laws” — neither of which was used by Zimmerman as a defense, nor was it at all necessary for him to do so. Just plain self-defense from a thug who sucker-punched him, breaking his nose and beating his head against a concrete walk was enough justification for deadly force.
    For another, the so-called “reporter” revels in suggesting Zimmerman “hunted down” the “innocent child” Martin and killed him in cold blood. That “opinion” is in defiance of all the evidence and testimony presented in court.

  29. The DEA does stuff like this all the time and calls it “law enforcement”. Should he have held his fire? How was he to know the guy robbing his house wasn’t armed inside the darkened garage? Would a cop in a similar situation, coming upon a criminal in a darkened space, have held his fire and asked the guy come out? That’s a good way to get killed. I’m completely in favor in SYG laws and self defense laws, but right now there’s a huge difference between the way a prosecutor would treat an LEO in this situation and the way the same prosecutor would treat a private citizen. If this was a Missoula cop he’d most likely be back on the street after, at worst, being no billed by the same grand jury that charged Kaarma with murder.

    • Bullshit… are you serious? Maybe if the guy had come into his house un-announced and is robbing him then he probably would have had a leg to stand on. Assuming he hadn’t also gone around telling people that he was essentially hunting in his garage. Even if the circumstances are 100% justified the second you go around saying you are waiting for someone to kill them, you lose any advantage you might have had in court.

      This guy went around saying he was going to attempt to bait and kill a burglar. He then proceeds to put bait in his garage and intentionally (this is key here) leave the garage door open, and intentionally put a motion sensor in his garage to notify him, and then intentionally opens the door and indiscriminately fires 4 shotgun blasts into the garage, what happened to positive target identification? What if it had been his neighbor coming to tell him he had left his garage open? His neighborhood had been experiencing a rash of burglaries after all. Either way, even if he hadn’t done all of the baiting and setup, he went around telling people he was going to kill someone, to watch for him in the news, and then goes and does it exactly how he had said he was going to do it. Its all about motives. If he hadn’t told people he could have at least played dumb about it and maybe gotten off.

      This guy is no different than someone going around trying to pick a fight and then shooting the person who finally engages him. Initiating a conflict with the intent of precipitating a deadly force incident is not covered by legal self defense in any place I have ever read about. I know in Texas it is explicitly noted in the penal code as NOT justified.

    • The DEA does stuff like this all the time and calls it “law enforcement”.

      So, law enforcement routinely shoot their marks during stings?

      If the homeowner had simply held the kid at gunpoint and waited for the police to arrive, we’d probably never had heard of him. The difference is the unjustified use of deadly force, which was a pre-meditated act, and not an act of self-defense.

  30. Simply entering the home without permission is NOT a felony. It’s simple trespassing. I know in WV, a trespasser must be given the opportunity to leave peacefully. Even an armed intruder is afforded this, as long as they haven’t been acting threatening up to that point (IE hunter climbs over your fence and you confront him).

    If the victim had kicked down a door or came in through a window, then this guy would have a leg to stand on, since that would constitute breaking and entering where there is a presumption that the perpetrator has intent to harm.

    • You are claiming that in WV, if a few men carrying AR-15s walk in your front door, you have to invite them to leave before firing? I find that difficult to believe, and your example of a hunter does not mention entering your house. If that is really the case, you need to get to work changing that law!

      • You are claiming that in WV, if a few men carrying AR-15s walk in your front door, you have to invite them to leave before firing?

        So, how far are you going to move the goalposts?

        First, it was a person walking into your garage uninvited.
        Then, it was two people, carrying baseball bats, approaching you on your driveway.
        Now, it’s a few people carrying AR-15s on your porch.

        What’s next? A lynch mob with flamethrowers and a truck mounted .50 cal driving through your front door?

        • Chip, did you bother to read Nick’s post? He stated that a trespasser in your home must be given the opportunity to leave, and then added this was true even if he was armed. How, exactly, did my post move any goal posts?

        • Mea culpa. Replying from email notifications sometimes misses the context.

          There are a lot of confused/conflated things about Nick’s comment. I would agree that a person entering my home without my permission, who is armed, is an inherent threat of death or great bodily harm. I don’t care if he does so via unlocked door (trespassing) or by breaking and entering. (Though the former can lead to tragic results, even if justifiable statutorily; there are several stories involving people entering properties mistakenly, with no intent to harm, who are killed by the homeowner. While I still believe the moral responsibility lies with the person who has wrongly entered someone’s home, I personally wouldn’t want to have to live with the aftermath if I were the homeowner.)

          A hunter mistakenly (?) jumping my fence has not entered my house – but may still be instructed to leave from the business end of my own barrel.

  31. Why is this thug/yoot/aspiringrapstar all of a sudden a “kid?” Bait or no bait, decent kids don’t loot other people’s garages.

  32. If it was “proven” that the homeowner was setting up traps to blast robbers – then I agree with the verdict. The punishment for robbery is to be decided by the court – not a homeowner with a shotgun.

  33. Zimmerman’s case was NOT a stand your ground issue. Please help get that message out. And there is no such language as “stand your ground ” in any Florida statute. See http://www.floridafirearmslaw.com “Stand your Ground” as well as “assault rifle” are scare terms invented by the media and politicians looking for an issue.

  34. So why isn’t it just as simple as being able to defend your property? People would stop breaking and entering or vandalizing property if they knew it could cost them their life…

    • Nope. Everyone in Texas should know that burglary or theft could cost him his life, but Texas has plenty of burglaries and thefts. Scumbags don’t anticipate adverse consequences.

      In any case, you should read your state’s statutes to determine whether and to what extent you’re allowed to defend your property. Most states publish their statutes on the Internet.

  35. We can argue whether the jury was right or wrong till the cows come home. What we can’t argue is that every anti-gun bigwig is drooling all over himself at the opportunity. They’ve always said that Stand-Your-Grounders et al were slavering monsters and wanna-be heros, just looking for the chance to kill someone, and show how big and tough they are. Now we have a case that looks exactly like that, and don’t think they won’t make hay while the sun shines. The only way it could have been better for them is if the attempted thief had been a (still teenage) black single mom.

  36. This case had absolutely NOTHING to do with SYG. It even occurred INSIDE the home (garage). “Castle Doctrine” is what’s applicable.

  37. The guy enticed someone to enter his home, shot him dead when he did enter, and then invoked SYG? Think about it for a minute…doesn’t that sound a bit more like an ambush than SYG? Ditto for the Castle Doctrine for that matter. Kudos to the jury that saw the difference between defending yourself from trouble versus seeking it out.

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