Texas Mom Home With 3 Sleeping Children Shoots, Kills Home Invader. State’s Castle Doctrine Protects Her.
Last month around 10 pm, a man tried to break into the home of a family in Antonio, Texas. The homeowner, however, was a mother with three sleeping children in the house. Not about to let a strange man enter her home and potentially harm her family, she opened fire. She shot him twice in the chest, killing him. According to a Texas law called the Castle Doctrine, however, she won’t face any charges.
Texas Woman Shoots And Kills Home Intruder
Late last month, an Antonio, Texas mom had put her three young children to bed and was relaxing for the evening. That’s when, around 10 pm, she heard some sounds coming from the laundry room. Upon investigation, she discovered a man had broken in through the laundry room’s back door. Now, he was trying to break into her home through the door that leads from that room into the home. Without missing a beat, she shot the man in the chest two times. (1)
When the police arrived, they found the intruder, identified as 41-year-old Roman Rodriguez, sitting in a chair bleeding from his chest. He died before reaching the hospital. No one else was hurt in the incident and it is unclear whether or not Rodriguez was armed. (2)
There is an ongoing investigation of the incident, however, the mother and homeowner, who the police have not identified, is not facing any charges. This is because it falls under something called the Castle Doctrine in Texas Law. The Castle Doctrine states that a person is allowed to use deadly force against an intruder who breaks into their home. (3)
The Castle Doctrine also allows you to use this force if someone is trying to unlawfully break into your habitation, vehicle, or workplace. The law permits that person to then claim self-defense at trial under the following circumstances (4):
Reasonably believed the deadly force was immediately necessary;
Had a legal right to be on the property;
Did not provoke the person against whom deadly force was used; and
Was not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force was used.
The person does not need to try any other ways of protecting themselves before they act. This includes retreating into and/or escaping their home, car, or workplace.
A Controversial Law
There was a bill, called HB 196, that was brought up to legislators, seeking to change certain aspects of the Castle Doctrine. This is because there are certain circumstances in which many believe deadly force is not warranted and should not be used. Bill author representative Terry Meza says the problem with the doctrine is that it “emboldens people to take the law into their own hands”. HB 196 would require a homeowner to exhaust all other self-protection and safety measures, such as retreating inside their home, before using deadly force. (5)
“I don’t believe that stealing someone’s lawn ornament should be an offense punishable by death,” she wrote.
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, however, says that the state’s Castle Doctrine will not be weakened at all. He tweeted about it, stating that as cries to “defund the police” grow stronger, he would not be doing away with this law.
“Let me be clear. The Castle Doctrine will not be reduced,” he wrote on Twitter. “We won’t force Texas homeowners to retreat. Especially with the crazy ‘defund police’ ideas, homeowners need to protect themselves now more than ever. We will protect 2nd Amendment rights.”
As for now, it appears as though the Castle Doctrine will not be changing in Texas. This mother will not be penalized for killing a man who was entering her home illegally. Still, Texans should not feel like The Castle Doctrine gives them the liberty to kill without cause. As always with the law, everything is done on a case-by-case basis. This woman shot a man who was breaking into her home to protect her children. Not every case may be considered just or deserved.
An explanation of the Castle Law Doctrine