Why You Don’t Shoot An Intruder In The Back: Homeowner Charged With Murder
In May 2013, a homeowner found a man inside his home and when he fought back, he shot the intruder in the back as he was trying to escape through a window.
That homeowner now faces a murder charge, and his lawyers are trying to have it dismissed.
Lawyers for James Stiffler, the Helena Valley man accused of deliberate homicide in a 2013 case, want the charges dropped.
Stiffler allegedly shot and killed Henry Thomas Johnson on May 22, 2013, after Stiffler found Johnson burglarizing his home.
Stiffler says he fired his 9-millimeter pistol as Johnson threatened to hurt him and charged him with clenched fists.
Defense lawyers claim Stiffler fired his pistol at Johnson with a kitchen counter top in between them.
Prosecutors claim Stiffler changed his story about the shooting, at first saying Johnson charged him, then saying he didn’t remember the shooting, and then saying Johnson turned away at the last minute before the shot was fired.
In any event, shooting someone in the back –as they retreat– is never a good way to end things, as the person who was a threat is no longer a threat. That’s the important difference that every gun owner needs to understand, or they could find themselves in a similar circumstance as this homeowner.
In the heat of the moment, emotions can run high and adrenaline can change the way things are handled. However as badly we want to stop the bad guy, we can’t always do it… at least from a legal standpoint.