Saturday, May 30, 2015

Shooting Unarmed Tresspassers Is Not Generally Wise..

But it appears that there was uncertainty about whether they were armed.  From Yahoo:

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Accused of murder for confronting two unarmed trespassers with a deadly barrage of gunfire, Wayne Burgarello walked out of a Nevada courthouse a free man after the jury found him not guilty of all charges in the latest of a series of cases nationally testing the boundaries of stand-your-ground self-defense laws.

"It's going to be OK," he said as he laughed with family members outside the courtroom after hugging his lawyer after the clerk's reading of the verdicts Friday night.

Burgarello, 74, a retired Sparks school teacher, insisted he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Cody Devine and seriously wounded Janai Wilson in a vacant, rundown duplex he owns in February 2014....

Wilson testified during the two-week trial that she stayed at the duplex off and on for three years. She said Burgarello opened fire without provocation while she and Devine were sleeping in a makeshift bed on the floor.

Neither trespasser had a firearm, but Burgarello told police Devine's arm "came up like a gun."
Ristenpart said he might have mistaken a black flashlight found at the scene for a gun and had only a split second to respond. She said it was Devine and Wilson, not Burgarello, who "created the dangerous, threatening situation, trespassing, getting high on meth and being where they shouldn't be, where they had no right to be."

Meth-head squatters, why am I not sympathetic?


  1. Score one for trial-by-jury.

  2. I feel like I left my previous comment incomplete.

    On its face, this case is one with lots of room for hard-to-resolve questions. How does a landlord deal with to respond to unknown people using property that is vacant.

    Did the landlord know or suspect that he would be dealing with squatters? Or was he surprised by their presence? Did the landowner plan on shooting any squatters on-site, and explaining afterwards? Or did he honestly fear for his life?

    As you said, the squatters were meth users. I have this intuition that the jury learned that detail, and then decided that the defendant was not guilty.

    Probably because such squatters are common trouble in Nevada, even if that fact doesn't make the national news.