Pasadena, Texas

From Austin’s KXAN.com of November 14, 2007

Two suspected burglars in Pasadena fatally shot

Pasadena police say an elderly man today shot and killed two men he believed were burglarizing his neighbor’s house.

Captain “Bud” Corbett says the man heard noises he thought sounded like broken glass and determined the commotion was happening next door.

The man called police and then saw two men coming through a gate in the backyard of the neighbor’s house.

Corbett says the elderly man had a shotgun and confronted the pair — told them to stop — and shot them when they refused.

One person was found dead about two houses away. The other was found dead across the street.

Police were interviewing the elderly man.

From the Houston Chronicle of November 15, 2007

Shooting of theft suspects may test self-defense law

In a case legal experts say may “stretch the limits” of the state’s self-defense laws, a Pasadena man shot and killed two suspected burglars during a confrontation as they attempted to flee his neighbor’s property Wednesday afternoon.


Police said the neighbor, whose name was withheld Wednesday, appeared calm as he retraced his steps for police.

“He was well composed and knew what he was doing,” Mitchell said. “He was protecting the neighbor’s property.”

It will be up to a Harris County grand jury to decide if the man committed a crime by opening fire, police said.

Wednesday’s shooting “clearly is going to stretch the limits of the self-defense law,” said defense attorney Tommy LaFon, who is also a former Harris County prosecutor.

If the absent homeowner tells police that he asked his neighbor to watch over his property, that could play in his favor, LaFon said.

“If the homeowner comes out and says, ‘My neighbor had a greater right of possession than the people trying to break in,’ that could put him (the gunman) in an ownership role,” LaFon said.

The Texas Penal Code says a person can use force or deadly force to defend someone else’s property if he reasonably believes he has a legal duty to do so or the property owner had requested his protection.

The neighbor, however, would have been on much safer legal ground if he had been trying to protect his own property, LaFon said.

(More)

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