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Old November 27, 2012, 08:55 PM   #1
Chris9472
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Minnesota: Man Charged in Deaths of Intruders

First of all, I don't condone what this man said or did and I understand that he potentially hung himself by opening his big mouth unnecessarily and waiting a day to call police but regardless... to be charged with murder when the "victims" did indeed brake into his house?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/us...ders.html?_r=0

So if you "kinda" kill an intruder you are ok. But if you REALLY kill an intruder your a murderer?

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Old November 27, 2012, 09:07 PM   #2
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I take it this is the incident you're referring to.

Quote:
Smith said he dragged Schaeffel's body into his basement workshop, then sat down on his chair. After a few minutes, Kifer began coming down the stairs and he shot her as soon as her hips appeared, he said.

After shooting her with both the Mini 14 and the .22-caliber revolver, he dragged her next to Schaeffel. With her still gasping for air, he fired a shot under her chin "up into the cranium," the complaint says.

"Smith described it as `a good clean finishing shot,'" according to the complaint.
There's a real similarity to the Ersland case in that Smith decided to administer a coupe de grace. He crossed serious legal and moral lines at that point.

It's one thing to use lethal force to stop imminent harm. It's something else altogether to assume the role of judge and executioner.
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Old November 27, 2012, 09:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
I take it this is the incident you're referring to.

Quote:
Smith said he dragged Schaeffel's body into his basement workshop, then sat down on his chair. After a few minutes, Kifer began coming down the stairs and he shot her as soon as her hips appeared, he said.

After shooting her with both the Mini 14 and the .22-caliber revolver, he dragged her next to Schaeffel. With her still gasping for air, he fired a shot under her chin "up into the cranium," the complaint says.

"Smith described it as `a good clean finishing shot,'" according to the complaint.
There's a real similarity to the Ersland case in that Smith decided to administer a coupe de grace.

It's one thing to use lethal force to stop imminent harm. It's something else altogether to assume the role of judge and executioner.
OK... so I didn't get the whole story. What I don't get is that nobody may have known about some of these details had he hadn't bragged about it, not that I condone his behavior in the slightest. He looks like he was enjoying himself way too much.

What a fool!

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Old November 27, 2012, 09:34 PM   #4
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They were talking about this on Fox News today. They had some defense attorney on there claiming that this particular Castle Doctrine law has no exceptions and it explicitly allows the homeowner to kill intruders with no recourse.

I was disturbed to never here "rebuttable presumptions" one time in the whole story. 3 lawyers, not one mention.
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Old November 28, 2012, 12:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLCR
...What I don't get is that nobody may have known about some of these details had he hadn't bragged about it,...
Who knows what could have been determined from the physical evidence, especially considering that he tampered with evidence, altered the crime scene and delayed reporting the incident, all as outlined in the criminal complaint:
Quote:
...Smith stated that he the put the man's body on a tarp and dragged the body into his basement workshop. Smith stated that he then sat back down in his chair.

Smith stated several minutes later he again heard footsteps on the main floor of his house. Smith stated that another person came down the stairs into the basement where he was sitting. Smith said he waited until he could see her hips then he shot her. After shooting the person she tumbled down the steps. Smith stated that he tried to shoot her again with the Mini 14 but the gun jammed. Smith stated that, after the gun jammed, the woman laughed at him. Smith stated that it was not a very long laugh because she was already hurting. Smith acknowledged that this made him upset. Smith told investigatort Luberts, "If you're trying to shoot somebody and they laugh at you, you go again." Smith then pulled out his .22 caliber 9-shot revolver that he was wearing, and he shot the female several times in the chest. Smith acknowledged he fired "more shots than I needed to." Smith stated that he then dragged the female's body into his office workshop and placed her body next to the man's. Smith stated that the female was still gasping for air. Smith stated at this point he placed the handgun under the woman's chin and shot her"under the chin up into the cranium". Smith described it as "a good clean finishing shot." Smith stated he wanted to end her suffering. ...

. . . .

Smith acknowledged that he left the bodies in the basement of his residence overnight. Smith stated that on Friday morning he then called a neighbor asking if the neighbor knew any lawyers. Smith acknowledges that he never attempted to call law enforcement, but says he asked his neighbor to do so, after the neighbor was unable to assist him in obtaining a lawyer.
Things like the movement of the bodies, the use of multiple guns, shooting a victim at multiple locations would all leave physical evidence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Pfleuger
They were talking about this on Fox News today. They had some defense attorney on there claiming that this particular Castle Doctrine law has no exceptions and it explicitly allows the homeowner to kill intruders with no recourse....
I'm also surprised no one challenged that hogwash.

The relevant Minnesota statute is 609.65 (emphasis added):
Quote:
609.065 JUSTIFIABLE TAKING OF LIFE.

The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor's place of abode.
Once the intruders were incapacitated, further use of lethal force by Mr. Smith was no longer necessary to resist or prevent anything.
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Old November 28, 2012, 01:09 AM   #6
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Brian

I have read stories too, and everyone seems to have added details which are amazing....

ok, reason for post: there are supporters and also attorneys in MN claiming(many not representing this man) that he has a huge chance to be cleared of all charges. This is amazing to me; I thought MN had some tough gun laws. Maybe it is just the particular castle doctrine law in that state you mentioned? Either way this guy would have faced a much slimmer chance of being arrested(forensics still could have hurt him and the results will when they come back) if he didn't say anything. It makes you wonder if he was drunk...one article claimed the young woman was laughing at him(this was his story to police) after his gun jammed. Well, this is after he fired a shot at her and her accomplice(the male) had been shot three times and deceased?!?! I am usually more defense attorney prone when it comes to legal arguments(I am not a lawyer, I just gravitate in that direction), but this case especially is upsetting and I give credit to the prosectuor for fighting this one even if it is a losing battle. The funny thing is: he stepped in it bigtime, but they only have a confession at this point. There are many things that can pop-up during the investigation that can indeed help clear this individual. This doesn't seem like a slamdunk case like it might after reading the article. I'll tell you what though; this guy better make sure he has a Good, Well-Paid attorney + I am surprised he has so much support. That might fade in the public eye. He over-stepped his bounds bigtime(in his words).
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Old November 28, 2012, 01:15 AM   #7
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It's people like Mr. Smith who abuse the law that make it hard on the rest of us to be able to defend ourselves.
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Old November 28, 2012, 01:27 AM   #8
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minnesota

Chris, I have been following this before this thread(I realize the case is in its infancy). I have heard of people over-stepping the line, but this one pretty much takes the cake. If his personal story is true(remember, it is possible he was hammered and just being ignorant and/or belligerant: which falls into "that's his problem" category at least at the moment), I just don't see how this man could carry-out an execution like that over being upset with the victims(just a speculation). He is in his own category, but I'll wait for more information before making final opinions which will then be closer to a final judgement. It sort of reminds me of the pharmacy murder when the pharmacist reloaded and executed the victim during a robbery. Now that was on camera and a different situation then a home. It seems this guy might have some state law that will protect him at least in some fashion....
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Old November 28, 2012, 02:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
there are supporters and also attorneys in MN claiming(many not representing this man) that he has a huge chance to be cleared of all charges.
I hate to say it, but if the allegations are true, and if his actions are found justified, we're all in trouble.

Many people have argued that castle doctrine/"stand your ground" laws were a license to kill at will. If such a law is used to clear someone on offenses like this, then the detractors will be vindicated to some extent in the public eye.
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Old November 28, 2012, 02:39 AM   #10
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This is so far from self defense I cannot understand how anyone would defend this guy.
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Old November 28, 2012, 02:50 AM   #11
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I agree. I just don't see how this guy can walk. If so(which I am still highly doubting), something needs to be changed. Castle Docrine isn't a forcefield for murder. I can't condemn this man on a news article though...we all know how word-of-mouth stories can Grow.
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Old November 28, 2012, 06:21 AM   #12
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I don't see any winners here.

Not the people who got shot, not the person who did the shooting and certainly not the rest of us who are now waiting for the backlash.

What a sad story for all involved.
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Old November 28, 2012, 10:26 AM   #13
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"After shooting her with both the Mini 14 and the .22-caliber revolver, he dragged her next to Schaeffel. With her still gasping for air, he fired a shot under her chin "up into the cranium," the complaint says.

"Smith described it as `a good clean finishing shot,'" according to the complaint."

And that, folks, is what is called confessing to murder. As he describes it, ceased being a self-defense shooting when she was incapacitated on the floor.

No matter what, though, this does not appear to be a case upon which gun owners, castle doctrine advocates, and Second Amendment proponents want to hang their hats. In fact, they want to do as much as they possibly can to distance themselves from it.
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Old November 28, 2012, 10:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealdeal View Post
I agree. I just don't see how this guy can walk. If so(which I am still highly doubting), something needs to be changed. Castle Docrine isn't a forcefield for murder. I can't condemn this man on a news article though...we all know how word-of-mouth stories can Grow.
You'd be right based on hearsay, but there are video confessions where he plainly states exactly the words in Mike's post above.

"It was a good, clean finishing shot."

Like dispatching an animal.

Clearly murder.

I don't even know why they need a trial. Go right to sentencing.
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Old November 28, 2012, 10:42 AM   #15
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At this point we can't even be sure they actually did break in his home. He might have killed them somewhere else, or forced them into his home at gun point. With what we know so far, its not beyond the realm of possibility. We don't know anything for certain after what he has said and done.

What I do know for certain, is that the firearms community should condemn this man, even if his version of events is true. Once a threat is neutralized you stop shooting. No if ands or buts about it.
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Old November 28, 2012, 10:54 AM   #16
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I usually side with the homeowner who shoots burglars breaking into his house; but in this case what this guy did is way too much for me to stomach. If what was reported is accurate, I feel the homeowner was getting his jollies on by executing the intruders. That's murder.

Also, does anybody really believe that the Mini-14 jammed??? The guy's a liar and a murderer.
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Old November 28, 2012, 11:31 AM   #17
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A friend's Mini-14 was a complete jamomatic with the original factory magazine.

He got a replacement factory magazine and it settled down.
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Old November 28, 2012, 11:47 AM   #18
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To know what is going on - with respect to MN law - you really need to have a MN lawyer who practices in the area explain things. The media is going to be all about spinning things, and I wouldn't be surprised if they did not understand the law and did not care.

Other than having taken the time to read the parts of the Texas Penal Code that applies to justification of the use of deadly force, I don't claim any particular professional expertise on the subject. If you want to shoot people in Texas, consult a lawyer. With that major caveat . . .

In Texas, justification is all about your fear of being killed or badly hurt being reasonable. The Castle Doctrine says your fear is PRESUMED to be reasonable under certain circumstances - one of which is a break in to your home. So if the State fails to convince a jury (beyond a reasonable doubt) that there was no break in (or something else that triggers the Castle Doctrine) your fear was reasonble and the use of deadly force justified (not quite, there are other things, but close enough).

HOWEVER, if the judge is satisfied that the EVIDENCE AS A WHOLE would preclude the finding that the fear was reasonable, he doesn't submit the issue to the jury. No Castle Doctrine.

So, with the MN facts, I can't see how a judge would ever submit the Castle Doctrine facts to the jury for the actual killing of the girl. The guy wasn't afraid of anything. It's called murder. He would be convicted - even in Texas.

Again, if you live in Texas and really want to understand this stuff, I'd go talk to a lawyer. When you walk out, make sure you have gone over more than the parts of justification and the Castle Doctrine that interest you. You need to understand what a defense is and what a presumption is. And maybe more.

In MN, who knows? But I wouldn't rely on Good Morning America's legal expert or Nancy Grace.
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Old November 28, 2012, 12:10 PM   #19
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Well, it's on the front page of the Huffington Post. If you're not a reader, Daniel Gross, Paul Helke, and Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign are columnists there. So is Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center.

It's also on the sock-puppet antigun blogs and the Facebook page for CSGV, which is better financed than the Brady Campaign.
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Old November 28, 2012, 12:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody55
...In Texas, justification is all about your fear of being killed or badly hurt being reasonable. The Castle Doctrine says your fear is PRESUMED to be reasonable under certain circumstances - one of which is a break in to your home....
Presumptions are rebuttable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody55
...with the MN facts, I can't see how a judge would ever submit the Castle Doctrine facts to the jury for the actual killing of the girl. The guy wasn't afraid of anything....
See also the applicable Minnesota statute cited in post 5.
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Old November 28, 2012, 12:43 PM   #21
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"there are video confessions where he plainly states exactly the words in Mike's post above.

"It was a good, clean finishing shot."


If the prosecution is smart, and by some unbelievable act of insanity the judge doesn't disallow use of the video in court, the prosecution should play that clip over and over and over.
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Old November 28, 2012, 01:47 PM   #22
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Actually MN's laws aren't all that tough (not sure how that got out there???). We don't exactly have Castle Doctrine though despite what our Gov says (he was wrong when he vetoed the last bill saying we already have it). MN does not say you can shoot someone because they broke into your house. You can shoot them if you feel they are going to harm you or your family but not if they are stealing your TV. However, once they have broken into your house, it's a pretty easy case to make that you now feel threatened and are justified in using deadly force to protect yourself (they already breached your first defense by entering your home). This guy was pretty much in the green when he shot them coming down the stairs. He crossed the line when he executed them after they were down. He should have been calling the cops. Of course that's where it now can get messy with civil lawsuits unfortunately (which is what the bill that Dayton vetoed would have helped).

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Old November 28, 2012, 01:59 PM   #23
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Frank Ettin said:

Quote:
Presumptions are rebuttable.
If you feel like reading, this is contained in Section 2.05(b) of the Texas Penal Code.

To me it looks like if the State can't disprove the facts that give rise the presumption, the jury must find the presumed fact exists. So it isn't the presumed fact (reasonable fear) you fight over. It's the facts that give rise to the presumption (a break in or other Castle Doctrine trigger). I'm not sure if this is what you mean by a rebuttable presumption or not.

But using the basic facts of MN case, we can assume for the sake of argument that they really broke in and the State cannot disprove that. Nonetheless, in TX, the judge can look at all the evidence and decide not to give the Castle Doctrine question to the jury.

So at least in Texas, the Castle Doctrine is not a license to kill.
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Old November 28, 2012, 02:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
If the prosecution is smart, and by some unbelievable act of insanity the judge doesn't disallow use of the video in court, the prosecution should play that clip over and over and over.
Heaven knows the media certainly will. We have a murder with/by an assault rifle claiming castle doctrine! as a defense.

It should be mentioned that the Brady Campaign is still somewhat effective in Minnesota, and this could be a beachhead for them to regain some relevance.
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Old November 28, 2012, 08:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
This is so far from self defense I cannot understand how anyone would defend this guy.
I agree. I kind of understand his reaction, especially since these two kids broke into his house, but he really crossed the point of no return. he exercised incredibly poor judgement imo and should go to prison for life
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