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Old December 9, 2005, 01:58 AM   #1
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Unusual Home Invasion Incident in Wisconsin

The Janesville (Wisconsin) Gazette
Saturday November 5th, 2005


By Sid Schwartz
Gazette Staff

District Attorney David O'Leary said Friday that he would not file charges against Michael Rainiero, who shot an intruder who fell into his Janesville home through the living room ceiling on Monday night.

"His actions were reasonable and justified" O'Leary wrote in a press release. "Not only was Dr. Rainiero entitled to self-defense, he was also entitled to protect his family.

Dr. Rainiero had no reasonable opportunity to retreat as the intruder was not complying with Dr. Rainiero's repeated demands to leave the residence, and was still inside the residence with Dr. Rainiero's family."

Kurt E. Prochaska, 38, of 3920 Afton Road, Janesville, was shot once in the back near his spine. He was treated at Mercy Hospital in Janesville and later transferred to University Hospital in Madison. The hospital declined on Friday to release any information about his condition.

Rainiero, 45, of 2530 Linden Ave, Janesville, told police that he, his wife, and three children were asleep when Rainiero was awakened at 11:24pm Monday by a loud sound and by his dog barking.

Rainiero got out of bed and confronted Prochaska in the hallway between the living room and the bedrooms. He told Prochaska to get out and turned on the hallway light. Instead of leaving, Prochaska ducked into a bathroom, police said.

Rainiero told police that he went back to his bedroom and told his wife to call police. Rainiero retrieved a .380 caliber semiautomatic pistol from the closet, went to the master bedroom, removed the gun lock, loaded the weapon, and then returned to the hallway.

Rainiero told investigators that Prochaska emerged from the bathroom into the hallway, and he again yelled at the intruder to leave.

"The intruder did not comply, and instead turned to enter another area of the residence", O'Leary wrote in his press release. "At that time Dr. Rainiero fired his gun one time and struck the intruder. Dr. Rainiero demanded to know if anyone else was in the residence with the intruder and ordered the intruder to lie face-down until the police arrived."

The gunshot can be heard on the recording of the 911 call made by Rainiero's wife, said Lt. Danny Davis, head of Janesville detectives.

O'Leary said that he would never be able to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Rainiero was unreasonable in believing that he and his family were in danger. He noted that "99.95 percent of burglars" break into a home only to steal and will flee when confronted by a homeowner.

"In this case, despite repeated contact with the homeowner, this guy is still staying there," O'Leary said. "Now, Dr. Rainiero has to figure out why the guy is here. He's not just here to steal and get out.

"Is it reasonable to believe that his family in danger? I would say "Yes, absolutely".

Wisconsin law did not require Rainiero to retreat, O'Leary said.

"He has no duty to do that," O'Leary said. "He has the right of self-defense to take reasonable action to protect himself and his family. He doesn't have to go hide in his closet."

As of noon on Friday, detectives hadn't interviewed Prochaska, who at one point was too heavily sedated. O'Leary says that it doesn't matter what Prochaska tells the police.

"I have an explanation of what happened from the doctor and corroborating statements from his wife and children," O'Leary said.

Further corroboration is provided by the 911 tape, which recorded some of the conversation between Rainiero and the intruder, he said.

"He's trying to order him out of the home, and then you hear a shot" O'Leary said. "It's all consistent with what Dr. Rainiero's version of the events are."

Also supporting Rainiero's statements, O'Leary said, are other people living in the neighborhood who reported a suspicious person a short time before the shooting.

Lt. Davis said that police were dispatched at 11pm Monday to a home about two blocks from the Rainiero's in the 2300 block of Dartmouth Drive for a report of a stranger ringing the doorbell. When the people answered their door, a man fitting Prochaska's description asked for a man who doesn't live there, Davis said.

At about 11:15pm Monday, only a few minutes before the shooting, a man fitting Prochaska's description rang the doorbell of a home in the 700 block of North Marion Avenue, which is just around the corner from the Rainiero home. The person who answered the door said the man appeared to be intoxicated, and he asked for a man who doesn't live at the home, Lt. Davis said.

Investigators believe that a few minutes later Prochaska climbed onto the roof of the Rainiero home, pried open an exhaust vent, crawled into the attic, and crashed through the drywall ceiling, landing on the living room floor 8 feet below.

O'Leary said that no charges have yet been filed against Prochaska.

Although O'Leary has cleared Rainiero of criminal wrongdoing, that does not affect Rainiero's civil liability.

"There's always exposure civilly", O'Leary said. "Anybody can sue anybody. The question is, 'Would he win?'"

O'Leary doesn't think so.

"It would be a difficult task to try and prove that Dr. Rainiero is more at fault than the individual breaking into the home for the resulting consequences." O'Leary said.
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Old December 9, 2005, 02:29 AM   #2
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I thought that there were statutes that precluded a person who was injured by the victim of his own crime from suing the victim who injured him.

Anyway, I'm glad the O'Leary fella came down squarely on the side of the homeowner, saying he had no duty to retreat, and had every reason to fear the worst from an intruder who would not turn tail and leave after being ordered to do so by an armed homeowner.

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Old December 9, 2005, 03:33 AM   #3
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Weird. The good doctor had to find his firearm, remove the lock, load the magazine and then he could deal with the intruder who literally, fell from the sky. Strange thing to happen. I guess the good doctor has to put a battery in his SUV, add fuel and check his tire pressure each morning before he goes to his office.
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Old December 9, 2005, 09:35 AM   #4
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Agree with SirWilliam. The time line between confrontation and deployment of a loaded weapon was way too long, and dare I say, in the wrong order. Other than that the homeowner did a pretty good job.

On the other hand, what if it had been like this:
Homeowner confronts intruder in the hallway and orders BG to leave the premises. BG ducks into bathroom so homeowner decides it's time to retrieve weapon. While in the process of finding, unlocking, loading the weapon the homeowner hears sounds of a scuffle and the muted scream of one of his children from an upstairs bedroom...

Then what???
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Old December 9, 2005, 10:11 AM   #5
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Man, he could have made a pot of coffee in all that time. Prochaska could have been doing God knows what while the Doc was "readying" his firearm.
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Old December 9, 2005, 10:11 AM   #6
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You know, despite the tragedy of a shooting, I am picturing that stupid moron falling through a ceiling...

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Old December 9, 2005, 10:29 AM   #7
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this is what i was told

if a person breaks in to your house the owner of the house can be sued
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Old December 9, 2005, 12:41 PM   #8
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Hows that possible!? :barf:

Their the one commiting a crime and trespassing.
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Old December 9, 2005, 01:19 PM   #9
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I don't remember where it was, but I remember reading where a guy sued a home owner and won after breaking his arm while jumping through a window in a breakin. I think there was another where the burgler fell through a sky light and was injured. He also won.

:barf: :barf: :barf: :barf:
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Old December 9, 2005, 01:44 PM   #10
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Their the one commiting a crime and trespassing.
its the homeowners fault obviously, for having nice things that the poor, down-on-his-luck, nice-person-who-wouldnt-hurt-a-fly just could not live without stealing in order to provide for his family.

pushing the blame is a very old philosophy, dating way back to biblical times:
adam: but g-d! it was the woman that YOU gave to me (may i remind you i never asked for the woman to begin with?) she gave me the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and bad.
eve: but g-d! it was the snake, that YOU made (may i remind you i never asked to be created, much less ask for you to create the snake either?) who told me to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and bad.
snake: but g-d! it was the fruit from the tree YOU made (may i remind you no one asked you to create anything at all?).
"Every man alone is sincere; at the entrance of a second person hypocrisy begins." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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