Self-defense is frequently asserted when one individual shoots another. A recent homicide in Indianapolis demonstrates that even when this argument succeeds, the person who pulled the trigger may face other criminal charges. The first homicide of 2018 in Lawrence, Indiana, has been ruled self-defense, but the shooter is now facing another criminal charge based upon his criminal history.
The incident began when a client of the defendant's tax preparation service began to berate his wife for the slow preparation of her tax return. The defendant's wife told him about the woman's threats, and he retrieved a pistol that his wife kept in her desk. While the defendant was sitting in a chair by the shop window, a man arrived and entered the shop. He raised his sweatshirt to reveal two handguns carried in the waistband of his pants.
The two men had a brief conversation, when the new arrival appeared to lift one of his two weapons. The defendant then fired the pistol he was holding. The intruder ran from the shop and climbed into a waiting car. He was pronounced dead when medics found him. The victim was identified as the fiancé of the disgruntled client. Based upon witness testimony, the prosecutor decided that the defendant acted in self-defense, and no murder charges were lodged.
Unfortunately, police checked the defendant's criminal record and found that he had been convicted of possession of a narcotic in 2002 and aggravated battery in 2007. These convictions barred him from possessing a firearm. The prosecutor has charged the man with one count of unlawful possession of a weapon by a serious violent felon.
This case demonstrates how a fairly simple case can change abruptly and unexpectedly. The defendant in this case undoubtedly expected to be released with no charges pending, but, now, he may be facing a prison sentence and a sizable fine. Anyone charged with a serious criminal offense may wish to consult a criminal defense attorney for advice on the possibility of facing other charges and on the law and evidence that will affect the outcome of the case.
Source: Indy Star, "Lawrence homicide is ruled self-defense, but shooter faces handgun charge," Holly V. Hays, March 14, 2018