December 10, 2007

Plain Clothes Cop Witnessed Joe Horn Shooting...

...and one or both suspected burglars may have been shot in the back.

From the Houston Chronicle:

The two burglary suspects killed by Pasadena homeowner Joe Horn were shot in the back after they ventured into his front yard, police disclosed Friday.

In another twist, investigators revealed that a plainclothes Pasadena detective witnessed the Nov. 14 shootings after he pulled up in an unmarked car seconds before Horn fired three shots from his 12-gauge shotgun.

The men, who had just burglarized Horn's neighbor's house, faced him from seven to 10 feet away when they ignored his order to "not move"or they would be dead, police said.

Horn's attorney says that the fact that a police officer witnessed the shooting and Horn was not arrested bolsters Horn's self-defense claim.

But, under Texas law, it may not matter.

Commenter hamous at the Lone Star Times notes this section of Texas law that might be used to legally justify Horn's actions:

9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or
tangible, movable property:

(1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated
robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and
(3) he reasonably believes that:
(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or
(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.
Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, 1.01, eff. Sept. 1,
1994.

But the next paragraph in the statute raises doubts about Horn's authority to protect his neighbor's property:
9.43. PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSON'S PROPERTY. A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property of a third person if,
under the circumstances as he reasonably believes them to be, the actor would be justified under Section 9.41 or 9.42 in using force or deadly force to protect his own land or property and:

(1) the actor reasonably believes the unlawful interference constitutes attempted or consummated theft of or criminal mischief to the tangible, movable property; or
(2) the actor reasonably believes that:
(A) the third person has requested his protection of the land or property;
(B) he has a legal duty to protect the third person's land or property; or
(C) the third person whose land or property he uses force or deadly force to protect is the actor's spouse, parent, or child, resides with the actor, or is under the actor's care.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.
Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, 1.01, eff. Sept. 1,
1994.

Maybe this is why Horn's attorney is claiming self-defense as justifiation for shooting the two men.

The dead men have been identified as illegal aliens from Columbia, one of whom was deported ten years ago.

Listen to the 911 tape (the gunshots are clearly audible) here.

By Bluto11:40 AM | Comments |