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Heartwarming story of the day

Recently widowed Sarah McKinley from Oklahoma shot and killed a man who broke into her house, according to ABC News, via Huffington Post, via Michael Yon’s Facebook page. An accomplice also broke in, but he ran away after hearing the gun shot and gave himself up to the police. Oddly, he has now been charged with murder.

Says Sarah:

It’s not an easy decision to make, but it was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn’t going to be my son. There’s nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child.

For propaganda purposes it helps that she is media friendly: articulate and not weird. An article on examiner.com mentions other women who have “refused victimisation” recently. I wonder if Feminists for Firearms might make a successful counter-meme to Mothers Against Guns.

The ABC video states that the police called the killing “justified”, and goes on to explain that 30 states, including Oklahoma, have the castle doctrine. In the other states you are required to retreat if you can, though the law expert interviewed could not think of anyone in the USA who had ever been imprisoned for killing an intruder. Most such cases get thrown out by the grand jury, as in the case of Joe Horn even though he shot burglars attacking his neighbour’s property.

What a civilised state of affairs.

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24 comments to Heartwarming story of the day

  • llamas

    Violent and tumultous entry – check.

    Armed intruder – check.

    Reasonable, articulable fear of death or bodily injury – check.

    Bang.

    Good job.

    Seems like she knew (instinctively or otherwise) what constitutes the reasonable use of deadly force, and applied what she knew.

    llater,

    llamas

  • pete

    For propaganda purposes it helps that she is media friendly: articulate and not weird.

    As opposed to articulate and weird for most ‘liberals’ I assume.

  • I’m interested, how is the British media playing this? Particularly the BBC ?

  • pst314

    “An accomplice also broke in… Oddly, he has now been charged with murder.”

    For British friends unfamiliar with American law: As I understand the doctrine, anyone who participates in a violent crime may be held liable for any resulting deaths, whether they be of victims or perpetrators. Thus, the driver of the getaway car may be charged with murder if the bank robber shoots a teller…or if a guard shoots the robber.

  • Sunfish

    Oddly, he has now been charged with murder.

    Not too oddly, IMHO. He participated in a violent crime[1] which resulted in the death of a person. That the death was of an accomplice, and of someone who had it coming, is not material.

    A better headline, IMHO, would have been “Single Mom Incurs Regrettable Carpet-Cleaning Bill,” followed by a sports reporter babbling about Tim Tebow.

    [1] Yes, I consider burglary of an occupied structure to be violent. Especially when the burglars knew it to be occupied prior to entry. What interactions did they have in mind with the occupant? Were they planning on asking her for a cup of coffee?

  • Brad

    I don’t see how the murder charge is at all odd. Based on this story, Stewart allegedly committed attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, which is a felony. (21 O.S. §801) As a direct result of that crime, his accomplice Martin died, which is murder in the first degree (21 O.S. §701.7).

  • Sunfish

    For British friends unfamiliar with American law: As I understand the doctrine, anyone who participates in a violent crime may be held liable for any resulting deaths, whether they be of victims or perpetrators

    There are nuances. Fifty states, which means that every answer is wrong forty-nine times.

    For instance, in my state what you’ve said is true, usually. However, if the survivor had tried to interfere with his accomplice’ commission of the crime, he’d not be on the hook for the death. Or if he’d called police after running away and later offered a defense of “I didn’t know he was going to mess with the occupants.” He’d still be on the hook for the burglary, but for a version of burglary not subject to violent-crime sentencing, and not for the death.

    Your mileage may vary, in the other 49 states.

  • pst314

    “There are nuances. Fifty states, which means that every answer is wrong forty-nine times.”

    Indeed.

  • Laird

    It’s felony murder, and the charge is correct. Interestingly, Wikipedia says that Felony Murder has been abolished in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (they don’t mention Scotland), so the principle might be unfamiliar to UK readers. It certainly shouldn’t be to those in the US, though.

  • The murder charge is odd to my ears because murder to me means deliberately killing someone. But, yes, legal definitions differ. Thanks for the explanations.

  • jsallison

    I think she ought to sue his estate for the cost of the shotshell and clean up. Oh, yeah, and for the legal fees incurred as a result.

  • Richard Thomas

    UK readers may not be all that unfamiliar with the concept. There was a famous case which even had a movie made about it several years ago. Hold on…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Bentley_case

    The details are different, most notably the “victim” in the scenario but I think the principle is broadly the same(?)

  • Rich Rostrom

    For propaganda purposes it helps that she is media friendly: articulate and not weird.

    She’s 18 years old. Her baby is 3 months old. Her late husband was 58. NTTAWT, from my perspective as a 57 year old man, but I think a lot of people would find that “weird”.

  • Eric

    …anyone who participates in a violent crime may be held liable for any resulting deaths, whether they be of victims or perpetrators.

    It’s the “Felony Murder Rule”, which applies in 46 states. Supposedly a common law doctrine that dates to the 12th century.

    By the way, I don’t think the crime has to be violent. The example given on the wiki page describes a poacher shooting an arrow at a deer and hitting a boy hidden in the bushes. If poaching is a felony said poacher can be charged with murder even though he didn’t realize the victim was there.

    You normally see it applied when the victim dies, of course. I’m kind of curious what the jury will make of it.

  • Kim du Toit

    I note that few media reports contain the fact that the dead scumbag was carrying a 12″ Bowie knife when he broke into the house…

    And yes, Oklahoma law is unequivocal: help someone commit a crime, and a death occurs as a result? You’re headed for a lifetime in jail or the Big Sleep, depending on the circumstances. We have the same law in Texas, only harsher. If there was a witness to the homicide, you go to the head of the execution line.

    As comedian Ron White puts it: “You kill one of our folks, we kill you back.”

  • Stephen Willmer

    An interesting recent English case: A & B were having a gunfight. C got in the middle and was killed by a round from A’s gun. A was never apprehended, but B was. B was tried for and convicted of the murder of C. He appealed, but the House of Lords (Supreme court, as I suppose I should now learn to call it) upheld the conviction, albeit not unanimously, pretty much on the basis that if two chaps decide to start shooting at each other and someone else is killed, well that’s a pretty foreseeable outcome and the public would be outraged if the arrested participant could not be guilty of murder due merely to the happenstance that he did not fire the fatal shot. I quote from memory. I think it was Lord Hope who dissented, for reasons which escape me

  • Sunfish

    It’s the “Felony Murder Rule”, which applies in 46 states. Supposedly a common law doctrine that dates to the 12th century.

    By the way, I don’t think the crime has to be violent. The example given on the wiki page describes a poacher shooting an arrow at a deer and hitting a boy hidden in the bushes.

    That’s yet another matter of state-to-state variation.

    In my own state, the felony murder rule is only invoked by arson, burglary, robbery, sexual assault, or kidnapping. Or in some cases by the immediate flight from the commission of same.

    Your own example wouldn’t be it. Although depending upon circumstances your hypothetical could be either manslaugher or criminally-negligent homicide (both felonies, although of a rather lesser degree.)

    Stephen W:

    Was the case you reference, one in which one of the shooters might have had a valid claim of self-defense?

  • Stephen Willmer

    Sunfish, if memory serves, and I think it does, then the answer is no.

  • MattP

    What a civilised state of affairs.

    Indeed, Mr. Fisher.

    Gun control advocates think it’s uncivilized for private citizens to own guns.

    Of course, the selfsame gun control advocates usually also advocate on behalf of society’s “victims;” i.e. those “forced” into crime by poverty, racism, etc.

    As long as they’re going to take that attitude, it’s uncivilized not to own guns.

    As an aside, I don’t know if your press reported that Sarah McKinley was on the phone with the police dispatcher for over 20 minutes when the intruders finally broke into her home and she was forced to shoot. She lived in such an isolated area, and there were only 3 deputies were on duty in the entire county, that there’s no possible way any help could have arrived.

    Not unheard of in these United States. I know people who live in parts of Nevada that are so far off the beaten track it’s unusual to see a sheriff’s deputy patrol through the area more than once or twice a year.

  • Paul Marks

    The evil persecution of this women (who the powers-that-be seem to wish had allowed herself to be raped and murdered) shows that such things are not just British – they are international.

    The education system in most countries teaches much the same sort of thing – the same sort of evil nonsense. Even in Switzerland one can find such doctrines being taught – in the schools and universities, in the media, and comming into the legal system.

    So such things as the campaign to end self defence and make the population slaves (slaves of government and of private criminals) is INTERNATIONAL.

    Such doctrines even go down into States like Oklahoma – no where is safe from the international elite, or rather from doctrines that have spread via the education system, the media, and the courts.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way there is already an organization such as Rob desires.

    They are called the Sisters of the Second Amendment.

    A British reader may be put in mind of “The Sisters of Battle” from the children’s fantasy wargame background “Warhammer 40K”.

    And in the dark times that are comming they well become so.

  • Sunfish

    Such doctrines even go down into States like Oklahoma – no where is safe from the international elite, or rather from doctrines that have spread via the education system, the media, and the courts.

    I don’t believe that there’s any meaningful desire to remove Castle Doctrine/Make My Day/No Duty to Retreat from the books in any place where any of them presently exist.

    Yes, the lady in the original story was mocked, by a few of the usual morons. However, IMHO, the trend is still very much favorable. Outside of California,the only anti-gun “victories” I can remember in recent years were a couple of bat####-insane BATFE tech-branch rulings and a bizarrely-reasoned restriction on out-of-state CCW licenses here.[1]

    [1] Which is a loss, but only at the margins and I suspect that it was more a revenue-grab by the sheriffs than an actual gun grab effort.

  • MattP

    Do not be too quick to mock California. When I lived there, the air was fit to breath.

    The state of the law was that a) if you shot a person at night and b) that person had forced his way into your home and c) that person was not related to you, then your shooting that person was a privileged act and not only could you not be prosecuted, you couldn’t even be sued in a civil court.

    If any of the above factors are not present, one can still claim self defences. You can still make that case. But when all the above factors are present, the law states that self-defence is presumed on your behalf.

    You can’t be touched.

    There’s a lot wrong with Kali. This ain’t one of them things.