The scenario plays out with troubling regularity. A would-be burglar attempts to break into a home only to discover the homeowner is armed. If the homeowner is armed with a gun, the outcome can be deadly for the intruder. Such was the case in August 2017 of when Marietta, Ga. resident and gun owner Shaquita Green responded to prowlers inside her home with deadly force. “It was either him or me, and I wasn’t going,” she later told authorities.
In most state, domestic residents are covered by the “castle doctrine,” which essentially gives them the right to defend their life and property at any cost. Some states, however, subscribe to the “retreat doctrine.” Also known as a “duty to retreat,” the law holds that residents are required to run and hide during a home invasion if it is safe and prudent to do so.
Such a law has led to a charge of manslaughter being brought against Queens, N.Y. resident Joel Christopher Paul for defending himself and his family against a home intruder in the early hours of July 30, 2017.
The New York Post provides the details:
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The 27-year-old was home in Springfield Gardens with his mother, brother and sister when someone attempted to break in. The intruder was Shamel Shauvo, 26, who had traveled north from Maryland after being named a suspect in a shooting there 10 days earlier.
Expecting a pizza delivery, Paul’s brother, Michael, 16, went to the door and discovered Shauvo trying to break in. Michael forced Shauvo to the surrounding area, and his mother called for help. Joel, adrenaline likely surging through his veins, answered the call — and brought a bat and knife to the confrontation.
By the time it was all over, Shauvo received the ultimate lesson in picking the wrong house. He died at Jamaica Hospital after being clubbed and stabbed. The confrontation had all the indications of a break-in gone wrong for the wanted man, and as one high-ranking police source told The Post, the response was justifiable.
Both brothers avoided arrest and remained home after the incident. But months later, Queens DA Richard Brown submitted the case to a grand jury, bringing ruin upon Joel, who has been charged with manslaughter.
According to the grand jury indictment Joel Paul, “with intent to cause serious physical injury to Shamel Shavuo,” caused his death. If Paul is convicted he face serious jail time.
How is this justice?