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Thread: Homeowner fired fatal shots in self-defense

  1. #1
    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    I wonder if it wasworth it.



    Homeowner fired fatal shots in self-defense

    March 27, 2007 6:00 AM
    by ROB MARGETTA and BRIAN FRAGA


    TAUNTON — Jurors needed just 3½ hours to decide New Bedford homeowner Charles D. Chieppa, 57, was justified in killing a suspected burglar in 2004.


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    Under instructions that a homicide could be legal in a case of self-defense, the jury found Mr. Chieppa not guilty of second-degree murder for the death of 24-year-old Frank Pereira Jr.

    Mr. Chieppa remained impassive as the verdict was read, but his voice cracked with emotion afterward as he thanked his family and friends for three years of support. When asked for his reaction to the jury's decision, he alluded to the self-defense argument his lawyer, Kevin J. Reddington, maintained throughout the four-day trial.

    "I'm truly sorry that the violence in our cities cannot be addressed," Mr. Chieppa said.

    His supporters, who filled up one side of the gallery, hugged each other and pulled out cell phones to share the news after court was dismissed.

    The family of the slain burglar, Frank Pereira Jr., was just as emotional. His father, sisters and longtime companion wept at the verdict. As they exited the courtroom, sister Missy Cimbron yelled "You (expletive deleted) murderer" in Mr. Chieppa's direction. Once outside, they pleaded with a victim witness advocate for further legal recourse.

    "No matter the circumstances, nobody deserves to die over property," said Marcey Lugo, Mr. Pereira's companion. The couple has a daughter, who is 6 years old.

    As the courtroom emptied, Mr. Reddington packed a box of evidence with Mr. Chieppa. One of the last items he picked up was the semi-automatic Walther P38 handgun with which Mr. Chieppa shot Mr. Pereira. Examining it, he said, "I'll hang on to this for now. You'll get it back later."

    The defense attorney said the jury made the right decision.

    "I like to think one of the objectives of this is it will give the Frank Pereiras of the world second thoughts before they enter a homeowner's property," Mr. Reddington said.

    Over the course of the trial, witnesses said Mr. Chieppa awoke at about 4 a.m. June 17, 2004, to the sounds of an intruder in his home at 134 Ashley Blvd. After waking a tenant who rented a second-floor apartment, Mr. Chieppa went to his backyard with a semi-automatic handgun, according to testimony. There, he encountered Mr. Pereira, who apparently had broken into Mr. Chieppa's basement, witnesses said. Mr. Pereira was seen fleeing from Mr. Chieppa's yard before collapsing in the street with a fatal bullet wound, witnesses said.

    The intent behind that shooting took center stage in court yesterday morning, as lawyers for both sides gave their closing arguments.

    Prosecutor Bill McCauley conceded that Mr. Pereira was a "thief" who intended to steal from Mr. Chieppa, but said the circumstances behind the shooting show it was fueled by anger. He pointed out that the defendant kept a loaded gun in his bedroom, that he shot Mr. Pereira in the back, and that he fired four rounds.

    "This was anger, this wasn't fear. He reacted that night in anger, it wasn't fearful," Mr. McCauley said. "What does that say about his intent? He decided if there was going to be a problem in his property, he would take care of it."

    Mr. Reddington told the jury that his client, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, believed he was in mortal danger when he fired on Mr. Pereira.

    "When you consider his state of mind, when you consider the circumstances, this was a justifiable homicide by a citizen protecting himself," Mr. Reddington said.

    The defense attorney also said Mr. Chieppa experienced a "complete and total withdrawal emotionally" after the shooting, explaining grand jury testimony he gave in 2004 when he said he could not remember key details of the shooting and repeatedly said the gun "just went off" in his hands. He offered Mr. Chieppa's extremely high blood pressure after the incident as proof.

    After the verdict was read, Mr. McCauley said he respects the jury's decision, but he believes there was evidence to suggest Mr. Chieppa acted with malicious intent.

    One of the key components of proving that intent was the testimony of Mr. Chieppa's tenant, Wilnick Thenor. The tenant said he saw his landlord running after Mr. Pereira, yelling and swearing as he fired his pistol. But under questioning from both Mr. Reddington and Mr. McCauley, Mr. Thenor changed his story several times on the stand. At one point, Judge E. Susan Garsh told the attorneys that the jury was unlikely to believe the testimony.

    Mr. McCauley said Mr. Thenor's inconsistencies hurt the case.

    "It never helps when somebody changes their position," he said. "Whether I can chalk it up to nervousness or bias, he was in the best position to see what happens. ... I can see why a jury might not have acted on his testimony."

    http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070327/NEWS/703270343/1011/TOWN10

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    He pointed out that the defendant kept a loaded gun in his bedroom


    I keep two loaded pistols in my bedroom (one on myside one on the wife's side) does this make me an "angry" person??

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    jeepinbanditrider wrote:
    He pointed out that the defendant kept a loaded gun in his bedroom
    I keep two loaded pistols in my bedroom (one on myside one on the wife's side) does this make me an "angry" person??
    Actually the prosecutor pointed out:

    "that the defendant kept a loaded gun in his bedroom, that he shot Mr. Pereira in the back, and that he fired four rounds."


    His point is that the combination of all three things indicated that Chieppa acted in "anger." You're picking out only one of the three things being mentioned by the prosecutor to make his point. No one is really going to make the point that keeping a loaded gun in the bedroom for emergencies constitutes "anger" in a person. Even two.

    I think Chieppa's verbalizations at the burglar would probably also help the prosecutor's attempt to substantiate "anger" as a component in the shooting. But it appears that the witness was squishy on what was actually said.

    Shooting multiple times at an unarmed fleeing man and hitting him in the back while cursing at himis a bad strategy.

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    I would not have shot a fleeing criminal. The only time deadly force is justified is when you (or another) are being threatened with deadly force.

    On the other hand, I think a homeowner should be able to shoot first and ask questions later as long as the criminal is within the walls of the homeowners HOUSE. This is only an opinion and not "the way it is" in the real world.

    Obviously, the criminal in this case was in the back yard, not inside the house when he was shot.

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    HankT wrote:
    jeepinbanditrider wrote:
    He pointed out that the defendant kept a loaded gun in his bedroom
    I keep two loaded pistols in my bedroom (one on myside one on the wife's side) does this make me an "angry" person??
    Actually the prosecutor pointed out:

    "that the defendant kept a loaded gun in his bedroom, that he shot Mr. Pereira in the back, and that he fired four rounds."


    His point is that the combination of all three things indicated that Chieppa acted in "anger." You're picking out only one of the three things being mentioned by the prosecutor to make his point. No one is really going to make the point that keeping a loaded gun in the bedroom for emergencies constitutes "anger" in a person. Even two.

    I think Chieppa's verbalizations at the burglar would probably also help the prosecutor's attempt to substantiate "anger" as a component in the shooting. But it appears that the witness was squishy on what was actually said.

    Shooting multiple times at an unarmed fleeing man and hitting him in the back while cursing at himis a bad strategy.
    I fully understand what you are saying I'm just saying that I don't know why the fact that he had a loaded gun in his room would have ANYTHING to do with it.

    I also fully agree that hey the guy was already gone and running AWAY from the house. I'm all for someone protecting their property. You didn't earn it don't take it, and be prepared for whatever consequnces follow, and if he is willing to steal stuff what is to say he isn't willing to kill to get the job done. However shooting at someone that is running away especially in a residential area is just bad juju. You miss and the bullet is traveling in the wrong direction and kills an innocent bystander or someone sleeping at night it's bad for everyone who advocates the 2nd Amendment.

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    jeepinbanditrider wrote:
    I fully understand what you are saying I'm just saying that I don't know why the fact that he had a loaded gun in his room would have ANYTHING to do with it.

    I agree. I suspect a TESAWASWS approach. We'd really have to see how the prosecutor actually mentioned it in court.

    The main point of the prosecution seems to be that Chieppa shot the burglar when he really didn't have to. Anger as a motive? Sure. Chieppa's actions support that notion. But the law student witness' changing stories eliminated a key component in the anger as motive case.

    Chieppa got fairly lucky in the criminal trial, I think. He clearly lost his composure on the morning of the burglary. That plushis lame observations about the gun "going off" and his woeful tale ofhypertension after the shooting/before the trial suggest strongly that he is just another goof with a gun. Why else would he need some extra freelance shooting scene investigation byhis brother the cop?

    Here's an editorial about it, for whatever it's worth. Actually, it's pretty balanced:



    OUR VIEW: Chieppa jury mistaken


    March 28, 2007 6:00 AM
    People have the right to defend themselves in their homes when faced with an intruder who poses a serious physical threat.

    Monday's decision in the case of Charles D. Chieppa reminds the community of that right. Unfortunately, the jury failed to look deeper at this particular case, to probe what was not a simple act of self defense but a step over the line into vigilantism.

    Though Mr. Chieppa said the suspected burglar, Frank Pereira Jr., broke into his home, not until the man was outside did Mr. Chieppa open fire. He shot him in the back, after he had turned to leave, and from what investigators said was an "intermediate" distance, not close range.

    Mr. Chieppa's safety was no longer directly threatened.

    True, a retreating burglar could turn around, pull out a concealed gun, and fire, but that possibility does not meet the legal standard.

    In the last two years, laws that expand the right to shoot in self defense have spread from Florida through parts of the South and Midwest. Backed by the National Rifle Association and opposed by gun control advocates, those changes generally eliminate the duty to retreat from an intruder. More significantly, they allow a person to shoot an intruder to defend not only life and limb, but property.

    The Massachusetts Legislature has not followed suit.

    In Massachusetts, a person has no duty to retreat if attacked within the home. But a resident cannot shoot an intruder unless threatened with serious bodily harm.

    Mr. Chieppa was neither in his home nor physically threatened.

    In the Chieppa case, the judge told the jury they could convict on a lesser charge of manslaughter, for which Mr. Chieppa could have received a suspended sentence.

    No doubt believing that the right to self defense on one's property is absolute, they chose to acquit. While we understand the desire to do so, their decision was erroneous. The district attorney's office should have sought a manslaughter conviction from the beginning.

    Sadly, life in a city like New Bedford, with its long list of unsolved murders, breeds the fear that must have gripped Mr. Chieppa that day. Who among us would not fear for our lives?

    A burglar in the home could appear to be unarmed one minute, and then pull out a gun the next. Massachusetts law expects the victim to decide, at a moment of great fear and distress, whether the burglar plans to do harm. In such a case, a jury should probably side with the victim.

    But to shoot a retreating man in the back stinks of retribution. The court's decision in the Chieppa case should not lead SouthCoast residents to believe his actions were justified.

    http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070328/OPINION/703280311


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    A thief is a thief. Horse thievery earned a man a short drop and a sudden stop. Whether a life is worth taking over property can and will always be disputed. However, this argument would not exist if people did not engage in illegal activities such as thievery. Once you suffer a break in, you lose that sense of security you once had and what price do you put on it?

    I am not a hardliner, nor am I hardnosed. But crime does not pay, and perhaps criminals would learn that lesson when felonious activities are met with deadly force. Who would not be angered to see someone coming from your basement after breaking into it? We are not talking about a case of roadrage, but earnest, righteous indignation for a trespass.

    I'll stop my venting!

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    HankT,

    I'm feeling extra dense today, and cannot puzzle out your acronym "TESAWASWS"...

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    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    kparker wrote:
    HankT,

    I'm feeling extra dense today, and cannot puzzle out your acronym "TESAWASWS"...
    Throw enough sh*t against the wall and some will stick...

    :P

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    I'll have to give that a try sometime when I'm bored.

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    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum12/1988.html

    More of this going around.

    I think that Chieppa was extraordinarily fortunate to be aquitted. It seems more likely that a jury will put the blame on a handgun owner than the scumbag theives that would victimize a property owner.
    New to OPEN CARRY in California? Click and read this first...

    NA MALE SUBJ ON FOOT, LS NB 3 AGO HAD A HOLSTERED HANDGUN ON HIS RIGHT HIP. WAS NOT BRANDISHING THE WEAPON, BUT RP FOUND SUSPICIOUS.
    CL SUBJ IN COMPLIANCE WITH LAW


    Support the 2A in California - Shop Amazon for any item and up to 15% of all purchases go back to the Calguns Foundation. Enter through either of the following links
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    HankT wrote:
    I wonder if it wasworth it.

    Yah, it's shameful that a prosecutor would take this case.

    Homeowner fired fatal shots in self-defense

    March 27, 2007 6:00 AM
    by ROB MARGETTA and BRIAN FRAGA


    TAUNTON — Jurors needed just 3½ hours to decide New Bedford homeowner Charles D. Chieppa, 57, was justified in killing a suspected burglar in 2004.
    I'm stunned it took that long.
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    <snip>

    "No matter the circumstances, nobody deserves to die over property," said Marcey Lugo, Mr. Pereira's companion. The couple has a daughter, who is 6 years old.
    Ithink Iagree with you, Marcey, butyou'd bemore persuasiveif we could tie the thief to a post and give him 39 lashes, then make him pay back, or work off, what he stole.
    But it's not just about property. If the scumbag breaks into my place, I'm going to assume he's there to do us harm, and not just to our property. I have a wife and four children to protect. That's a risk he's assuming. And the fact that he's running away won't save him -- I don't know when he'll be back with vengeance in mind, and I don't know that he's not just running to his car to fetch a gun. Just so you know -- if he breaks into my place, there's a good chance he's going to die of gunshot wounds. If they prosecute me for it, I'll make my case the best I can and pray I geta reasonable jury.

    As the courtroom emptied, Mr. Reddington packed a box of evidence with Mr. Chieppa. One of the last items he picked up was the semi-automatic Walther P38 handgun with which Mr. Chieppa shot Mr. Pereira. Examining it, he said, "I'll hang on to this for now. You'll get it back later."

    The defense attorney said the jury made the right decision.

    "I like to think one of the objectives of this is it will give the Frank Pereiras of the world second thoughts before they enter a homeowner's property," Mr. Reddington said.
    Amen.

    Over the course of the trial, witnesses said Mr. Chieppa awoke at about 4 a.m. June 17, 2004, to the sounds of an intruder in his home at 134 Ashley Blvd. After waking a tenant who rented a second-floor apartment, Mr. Chieppa went to his backyard with a semi-automatic handgun, according to testimony. There, he encountered Mr. Pereira, who apparently had broken into Mr. Chieppa's basement, witnesses said. Mr. Pereira was seen fleeing from Mr. Chieppa's yard before collapsing in the street with a fatal bullet wound, witnesses said.

    The intent behind that shooting took center stage in court yesterday morning, as lawyers for both sides gave their closing arguments.

    Prosecutor Bill McCauley conceded that Mr. Pereira was a "thief" who intended to steal from Mr. Chieppa, but said the circumstances behind the shooting show it was fueled by anger. He pointed out that the defendant kept a loaded gun in his bedroom, that he shot Mr. Pereira in the back, and that he fired four rounds.

    "This was anger, this wasn't fear. He reacted that night in anger, it wasn't fearful," Mr. McCauley said. "What does that say about his intent? He decided if there was going to be a problem in his property, he would take care of it."

    Mr. Reddington told the jury that his client, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, believed he was in mortal danger when he fired on Mr. Pereira.

    "When you consider his state of mind, when you consider the circumstances, this was a justifiable homicide by a citizen protecting himself," Mr. Reddington said.
    I think some righteous anger is OK, don't you? I mean, if the scumbag thief breaks into your house and starts stealing, you won't be angry? Just because the killing is accompanied by anger doesn't make it murder so long as it is justified by self-defense.

    The defense attorney also said Mr. Chieppa experienced a "complete and total withdrawal emotionally" after the shooting, explaining grand jury testimony he gave in 2004 when he said he could not remember key details of the shooting and repeatedly said the gun "just went off" in his hands. He offered Mr. Chieppa's extremely high blood pressure after the incident as proof.

    After the verdict was read, Mr. McCauley said he respects the jury's decision, but he believes there was evidence to suggest Mr. Chieppa acted with malicious intent.
    If righteous anger and an intent to kill to prevent harm to self or others is malicious, then we're all in trouble.

    One of the key components of proving that intent was the testimony of Mr. Chieppa's tenant, Wilnick Thenor. The tenant said he saw his landlord running after Mr. Pereira, yelling and swearing as he fired his pistol. But under questioning from both Mr. Reddington and Mr. McCauley, Mr. Thenor changed his story several times on the stand. At one point, Judge E. Susan Garsh told the attorneys that the jury was unlikely to believe the testimony.

    Mr. McCauley said Mr. Thenor's inconsistencies hurt the case.

    "It never helps when somebody changes their position," he said. "Whether I can chalk it up to nervousness or bias, he was in the best position to see what happens. ... I can see why a jury might not have acted on his testimony."

    http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070327/NEWS/703270343/1011/TOWN10

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