By Dan Zimmerman via TTAG
What would you do if you discovered a man in your teenage daughter’s bedroom in the middle of the night? Most people would do anything and everything they could to protect her and the rest of the family from the intruder. That’s exactly what a Coweta County, Georgia man did when he came upon 20-year-old Keywontrezes Humphries in his 14-year-old daughter’s room earlier this month (someone the girl apparently knew).
According to fox5atlanta.com, Ismail Casillas, the girls’ father, proceeded to pound Humphries to a pulp.
Then, as Casillas went to retrieve gun, Humphries jumped out the bedroom window. And that’s where Casillas took a wrong turn. One he got the gun, he reportedly pursued Humphries outside, beat him some more, and then fired a number of shots at him as he ran away.
Investigators say that is where Casillas crossed the line, because Humphries was no longer a threat to him. Though investigators say they understand Casillas rage, Georgia law draws a line on continuing actions against an intruder once they are no longer a threat and in this case fleeing down the road.
As unjust as that may seem, the cops have the law right here. Every state’s laws are a little different, but given the circumstances as reported, shooting at a fleeing man is likely to get you into a bad situation in all 50 of them.
When Humphries tried to make his escape, he no longer presented a threat to Casillas or his family in the eyes of the law. Shooting at him has he ran away is a fairly clear cut case of assault.
This isn’t the end of this story yet. While the county sheriff has charged Casillas, the prosecutor may choose not to pursue the case. If the county District Attorney does decide to prosecute, Casillas may plead down to a lesser charge, probably a misdemeanor, and may get away with doing some community service. And there’s always a thing called jury nullification should it get that far.
Investigators have also charged Humphries with child molestation. They say he was in a relationship with the 14-year-old girl and climbed through her bedroom window.
For his part, Mr. Humphries is in a world of legal hurt. While Casillas didn’t hit him with a bullet, the sheriff hit him with a child molestation charge and there’s still an ongoing investigating into exactly how far the 20-year-old’s relationship with the underaged girl really went. A statutory rape charge, among others, could be in his future.
In short, it’s a good thing to know the laws surrounding self-defense…when you can and can’t use deadly force to protect yourself and your family. This may be a very expensive lesson for Mr. Casillas.