Former prosecutor reveals when a business owner isn't justified to kill
Wed, 13 Mar 2013 03:48:57 GMT —
Texas law allows a person to defend their business at night with deadly force if necessary; however, our Action 4 legal analyst John Blaylock says it is not a free ticket to execute someone.
"It has to be reasonable that you need to kill the person to protect your property, not just when they come through the door you get to shoot," he said.
John says it all boils down to intent.
Edinburg police believe a restaurant owner was justified when he shot and killed a would-be burglar identified as 46-year-old Gilbert Medina.
The owner's business was reportedly targeted several times before by thieves.
He stayed inside the restaurant overnight to protect his property, according to police.
Without knowing the intent, John says it can be difficult to justify a shooting.
"What you need is something more than just entry to shoot somebody," the attorney explained. "Like it they have a weapon or if they're going to take your property. Or if you're in fear of a child or loved one."
An angry owner, who's proven to have a vendetta and boasts online or to the public that they're out to kill someone, could also be in trouble with the law.
"That could cause him a lot of problems," John explained. "I can see a grand jury indicting him for that and him having to stand trial for that. It's way different than somebody who's innocently defending their property."
He says a business owner needs to know the law.
John asks, "What's more important, your property or a person's life?"
Law enforcement suggest any business owner have up-to-date insurance and a monitored alarm system.
That may be a lot less expense than what a potential shooter could face in civil court with a wrongful death suit, according to John Blaylock.