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Man defends home from burglars, ends up facing two counts of murder

Our region was stunned when tragedy struck in the home of a Little Falls resident. Many articles, broadcasts, and photos that describe the details of that Thanksgiving Day double shooting have been logged.

However, there are a number of factors that played into the shooting of two alleged home invasion/burglary suspects that were allegedly gunned down by a rural Little Falls homeowner.

First, the shooter had been burglarized several times, but the Morrison County Sheriff’s office only has one on record.

Second, the homeowner was armed at the time of the break-in. From his position in his home’s basement, he heard glass breaking and an intruder’s footsteps moving through his home to the basement stairs. It was at that time that the homeowner took a defensive position. According to the Morrison County sheriff, the homeowner fired on the home invader as that individual descended the basement stairs.

Following that first shot, which apparently incapacitated the home invader the homeowner crossed the line — allegedly firing a second shot into the head of the fallen intruder.

Why is that important? According to Minnesota law, one can defend his own home. However, once an intruder is incapacitated and poses no further threat to the homeowner, it is incumbent upon the homeowner to notify law enforcement.

According to reports, a second intruder followed the first and was also shot. The homeowner was upset by laughter from the second home invader as she was lying on the basement floor with a gunshot wound. At that time, the homeowner used a second weapon to allegedly kill the second intruder.

As one weighs the evidence of the incident, one must conclude that the homeowner was within his rights to defend his home under the Minnesota law commonly referred to as the Castle Doctrine. However, if reports are accurate, he stepped across the line when he fired successive shots into the bodies of the intruders, who were, according to reports, already incapacitated. Further, the law states that law enforcement should be contacted immediately following the incident. The homeowner waited two days.

This is a tragedy for all persons involved. Two young people invaded a man’s home and that person allegedly violated the principles laid out in state law when he continued firing upon the two attempting to burglarize his home. What a tragedy.

Keith Hansen

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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