Oklahoma mom kills home invader: Why the law was on her side
Sarah McKinley, an Oklahoma mom who shot and killed a knife-wielding intruder, was cleared of any wrongdoing by prosecutors on Thursday – vindication of the 'castle doctrine,' proponents say.
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Pennsylvania's expansion of the castle doctrine to include porches was tested this week as prosecutors declined to bring charges against a Somerset County man who confronted his wife's drunken boyfriend outside his home, after the boyfriend had left a message saying he was going to kill the husband. After repeatedly telling the boyfriend to leave, the man, Carl Wooley, Jr., retrieved a bow and arrow from his house and shot the boyfriend in the chest, killing him.Skip to next paragraph
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"What we want to make clear here is, this is a very limited factual situation, and this deals with a situation where there was an assault or an attack on the porch attached to the residence,” police said in a statement.
Spartanburg, S.C., police this week cleared a couple of any charges relating to the shooting of a homeless man who had been squatting in one of their empty rental homes. Visiting the unit, the couple found the man, asked him what he was doing there, and the wife eventually shot him when he refused to stop approaching them. The man, Gregory Wells, survived the gunshot and was booked on unlawful entry charges after he was released from the hospital. He had no prior criminal convictions.
In Montgomery County, Pa., a new case shows how muddled castle doctrine defenses can become. Prosecutors are now trying to sort out whether the state's newly-expanded self-defense law applies in a case where a woman called her ex-husband and son to help her deal with her boyfriend after they'd had a fight. After the ex-husband and son cornered the boyfriend at his car, he fired, injuring the ex-husband and killing the son.
“The determination of whether this homicide is justifiable will be determined by a legal analysis of the facts of the event and of the 'stand your ground' provision of the newly enacted 'Castle Doctrine' Act," the district attorney's office said in a news release.
Castle doctrine laws came to the forefront this week after a 911 operator in Oklahoma told an 18-year-old mom, Sarah McKinley, to “do what you have to do to protect your baby” as two men, one wielding a knife, broke into her mobile home. The woman used a 12-gauge shotgun to kill one of the intruders. The only murder charges in the case have been filed against the second man who fled. Under state law murder charges can be brought against accomplices in cases where someone is killed during some criminal activities.
“It was either going to be him or my son,” Ms. McKinley told Oklahoma's KOCO TV news station. “And it wasn't going to be my son.”