This Morning's Deadly Shooting Focuses on Details of 'Castle Doctrine' Law

The morning's shooting of an alleged thief by a southwest side homeowner has drawn attention to the details of the state's Castle Doctrine law, and whether the man will face charges will depend, ironically, on the clock, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

According to the police report, the homeowner in the 800 block of Jennings, which is south of Highway 90, 'confronted the man in an attempt to recover his property.'  Police Chief Bill McManus, in his debriefing with reporters, also stressed that the dispute was over property, and did not indicate that the alleged thief attacked the homeowner or placed his life in danger.

Under the Castle Doctrine law, a person is legally empowered to use deadly force to protect property 'in the night time.'  The law further defines 'night time' as beginning a half hour after local sunset and ending a half hour before local sunrise.

Local sunrise in San Antonio on December 11 is at 7:19 AM.  That means that a half hour before sunrise would be 6:49 AM.  

The police report says the shooting happened at 6:25 AM.  So if that time line holds up, that means that the homeowner is in the right by roughly a half hour.  

The District Attorney will make the final decision on whether any charges will be filed.

Of course, if an intruder is inside your home or your life is directly threatened, the Castle Doctrine says you have 'no duty to retreat' and can use deadly force at any time.

Police say the would be thief in this morning's case tried to drive away with the stolen property, but crashed into a tree and was pronounced dead at the scene.


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