IL - Heather Todd, 31, shot to death during burglary, Beaverville, 22 May 2006

Discussion in 'Crimes in the News' started by Wudge, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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  3. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    Indeed. I thought the purpose of "felony murder" laws was to discourage criminals from using lethal weapons while committing crimes.

    If the burglar was unarmed (and the account mentions no weapons except for the homeowner's gun), this is a particularly ill-advised use of a felony murder law, IMHO.
     
  4. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    I think the rule is, if anyone dies during the commission of a felony, then it is felony murder. If someone breaks into an old man's house, and he trips and falls down the stairs hits his head and dies or if he has a heart attack, that could also come under the felony murder charge.
    Though it is odd that they aren't charging the home owner also. Usually, unless the homeowner is in fear of their life, it is prosecuted. But they may send that one to the grand jury, and let them make a decision on the home owner.
     
  5. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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    This reads to be a toolshed burglary where the burglar was weaponless.

    In most every state, even an accidental or otherwise unitentional death that occurs as a result of "any felony", will produce a felony murder charge.

    Some kids first experience with breaking the law results in a felony murder charge. A life sentence is not uncommon. Obviously, a very hard way to learn what felony murder is.
     
  6. bakerprune64

    bakerprune64 Former Member

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    The way I look at it is, If somebody is breaking into my property then they are there to do me harm. How was this old man not to think that them breaking into to the tool shed and maybe he was next. I would have done the same exact thing.
     
  7. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    Some states are far more lenient and have "Castle Laws" that allow you to use lethal force without having to retreat, or in the most lenient states, even if they are unarmed, etc. but on your property committing a crime. Those kinds of laws are more and more frequent. Otherwise yes, I am surprised the homeowner wasn't charged.

    ETA: Dog the Bounty Hunter (Dwayne Chapman) did 5 years in prison for murder when the guy he was with shot and killed a man during a robbery.
     
  8. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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    The issue a homeowner would face in some states is one of" reasonable versus excessive force".

    The question would be: Was his killing of the woman getaway driver reasonable?
     
  9. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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    Did the homeowner leave his castle to kill the getaway driver? Or is a detached toolshed also a castle?
     
  10. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    I don't think the issue here is the homeowner's use of force. He hasn't been charged.

    The issue is whether an accomplice is guilty of murder because the homeowner shot one of the burglars. That's quite a stretch - by any fair definition of murder - particularly since there is no mention of the burglars themselves using, or even threatening, lethal force.

    I'm not calling for the homeowner to be charged (though I'm not fond of shooting criminals in flight). I'm just saying this isn't the situation for a "felony murder" charge.

    The circumstances would be quite different (I think we'll all agree), IF the victim had been shot and killed.
     
  11. OneLostGrl

    OneLostGrl I'm going against the grain- I'm going sane

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    Perhaps in a way it's a good message to send criminals. Ya shouldn't be breaking into someones house anyway and whatever happens while your doing it will count too!

    Easy way to avoid the felony murder charge- don't break the law!!!
     
  12. OneLostGrl

    OneLostGrl I'm going against the grain- I'm going sane

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    Does it really matter?? SHOULD it really matter? They were breaking into the man's property! They were going to steal HIS stuff that HE worked his azz off to pay for! I'd have done the same thing, sorry!

    Again, the moral of the story is that they shouldn't be commiting the crime in the first place so whatever happens while they are- they should be held accountable! Perhaps if they were, there'd be less crime cuz people would think about what they were going to do a bit harder before doing it!
     
  13. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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    I certainly agree that crimes should be punished. But I am not a fan of the statutory felony murder charge. That's why I ask for parents to make sure that their kids know the potential consequences for commiting a felony.

    You asked two good questions regarding the burglary being taking place in a toolshed. Does it matter? Should it matter?

    I have not yet determined that Illinois has a "castle" law. So I can't answer the question of: Does it matter? However, regarding the question of: Should it matter? I think the use of a twelve guage shotgun to kill the driver might well have been very excessive.

    I am not sure that the burglar had even gotten back to the getaway vehicle, nor is it yet clear that the vehicle was moving. Plus, there is the question of where the vehicle was parked; i.e., was it parked on a public street or his property? So more facts are needed.

    I support castle laws that allow a person to kill people who are attempting to break into their home, but, to me, a detached toolshed offers a much different situation.

    On a side note, an interesting thought just came to bear on my mind. The Supreme Court recently ruled that LE can legally enter a home without knocking. In states that have castle laws, the homeowner can legally kill people who do so. I have little doubt that we will be hearing of an officer who was legally killed by a homeowner who lives in a castle law state.
     
  14. MagicRose99

    MagicRose99 Watch out for my thorns!

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    Thank you for the voice of sanity! I was sitting hear reading and thinking to myself, "Are these people crazy? Are they trying to condemn the home owner?"

    This man was trying to protect his property, himself, and quite possibly a family (wife and kids). Bravo! To this man! I KNOW I would do whatever it takes to protect myself, my property and most especially my family. And hopefully he taught a lesson to the next robber/thief...
     
  15. PaperDoll

    PaperDoll When I'm Silent, I make the most sense

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    I agree with this... Don't commit the crime if you can't do the time as they say..
     
  16. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    I think a lot of it does depend on what state it is. I remember a case in Ohio (I think his name was John Coyne) where a man owned a junk yard on the same property as his home. He had had problems with theft on the property. One night two kids about 15 years old, went on the property and were stealing stuff. He went out with a gun and shot at them, striking and killing one. They didn't charge the other kid, they charged the junkyard owner, and he served time.

    As a side note, I am not advocating the prosecution of the homeowner. But I do think that just because he isn't charged yet, doesn't mean he won't be charged. Many times charges like this will go to the grand jury before charges are filed.
    And I do think the question of reasonable force would be the question here.
     
  17. Bobbisangel

    Bobbisangel New Member

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    I can remember my dad and I talking about people breaking into a person's home. At that time it was illegal to shoot anyone breaking into your home as long as that person was still on the outside of the house. My dad told me...here is what you do...if someone is breaking into your house through the door or a window you don't wait until he is inside so that he can harm you first....you shoot him while he is breaking in and then you drag his body into the house and say he was already in the house when you shot him. That wouldn't work in this day and age because they would be able to tell where he was when he was hit. Back then it would have worked. My dad just thought it was bull to have to wait until the burglar was inside before you could protect yourself...and it is.
     
  18. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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    I would like to read more about this case, and you could well be right. It has a low profile though, so it is unlikely to get much coverage.
     
  19. curious1

    curious1 So broccoli, mother says your good for me,well I'm

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    I have always thought that if someone is killed during the commission of a felon then those participating in the felony could be charged. Doesn't matter who it is and how they die. This is definately something to ponder. Oh and GO GRANDPA!!!!
     

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