Two men are shot dead, their crime, breaking and entering a house in broad daylight. Their weapon, a crowbar, their sentence, meted out by sixty one-year-old neighbor Joe Horn.
The debate: is Horn a cold blooded killer or a good neighbor?
Horn, 61, had phoned police when he saw two men break into his neighbor's suburban Houston home through a window in broad daylight. Now they were getting away with a bag of loot.
"Don't go outside the house," the 911 operator pleaded. "You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don't care what you think."
"You want to make a bet?" Horn answered. "I'm going to kill them."
Horn claims the two men were "10 to 12 feet from him in his yard" and that they "lunged at him."
"Move," Horn can be heard saying on the tape. "You're dead."
Horn redialed 911 and told the dispatcher what he'd done.
"I had no choice," he said, his voice shaking. "They came in the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick."
Some might argue that Horn's statement, that he "had no choice" in killing the two men wasn't necessarily true. Horn could of remained in his own home as directed by the 911 operator. The men hadn't attempted to break into his house, he had already alerted the police to the situation.
Others maintain that Horn had a right to defend his neighbor's property.
Pasadena police were still investigating Monday and planned to present their findings to Harris County prosecutors within the next two weeks, police spokesman Vance Mitchell said. From there, it is expected to be presented to a grand jury. In the meantime, Horn remains uncharged.Source - AP
Texas law allows people to use deadly force to protect themselves if it is reasonable to believe they could otherwise be killed. In some cases, people also can use deadly force to protect their neighbors' property; for example, if a homeowner asks a neighbor to watch over his property while he's out of town.
This story will cause some debate.
Gun control advocates will point to Horn as a loose cannon and the two dead looters as proof of what happens when citizens own guns. There will be those who portray the neighbor as a vigilante, dispensing justice from the barrel of a gun.
On the other side, old-timers will side with Joe Horn, remembering how they were brought up that you stole a man's property at the risk of your life. They will mention that horse-thieves and cattle rustlers were hanged in the Old West.
In any case, we're going to follow the story of Joe Horn, the lone excitable, 61-year-old man and the two burglars crawling into his neighbor's house. It's one that is sure to spark discussions.
Was Joe Horn within his rights? Was death too severe a punishment for the burglars?
What do the readers think?
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