R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Texas shooting described as accident

A man who allegedly killed a sheriff's deputy shot his gun because believed that he was the victim of a home invasion. According to the Burleston County Sheriff's Office, the incident took place in the early morning hours of Dec. 19 as the sheriff's deputy and other officers executed a drug-related search warrant on the defendant's residence. On Dec. 23, a spokesperson for the Burleston County Sheriff's Office stated that officers were not wearing body cameras while they executed the warrant, and she did not know how or if deputies announced their presence.

The defendant's attorney described the shooting as a tragic accident. According to the criminal defense attorney, the defendant was asleep when several law enforcement officials reportedly entered his home unannounced, prompting him to shoot a semi-automatic rifle at what he assumed was a home invader. The defendant is being held in custody in Washington county, and he is expected to be indicted within 90 days. A copy of the drug-related search warrant was left at the defendant's home, in accordance with Texas law.

Many states, including Texas, have self-defense laws commonly known as stand-your-ground laws which allow individuals to protect themselves in their vehicles, workplaces and homes. In Texas, the law is known as the Castle Doctrine, which granted the right to use deadly force in 2007.

If someone kills another person in their home due to the perception that the residence is being invaded, that individual may be found innocent of a serious felony according to the Castle Doctrine. A criminal defense attorney may use such a defense on behalf of an individual who mistakenly shot someone they believed posed a threat.

Huffington Post, "Raul Rodriguez 'Stand Your Ground' Trial: Texas Man Faces Life Sentence For Shooting Neighbor," June 25, 2012.

Source: KRGV, "Texas deputy slaying suspect thought he was victim", December 23, 2013

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