Saturday, November 17, 2007


Did you hear about Joe Horn in Pasedena, Texas who, earlier this week, fatally shoot two intruders who were burglarizing his NEIGHBOR's house in broad daylight. Apparently, he called 911 to alert them to what he was going to do. Here's what I imagined the phone call went like:

Dispatcher: Hello, 911, how may I direct your call?
Horn: Trigger-happy vigilante department, please. And make it snappy, I'm in a hurry.
Dispatcher: I can help you with that sir. What seems to be the problem?
Horn: My neighbor is out of town, so I've been reading his papers, checkin' his mail, and keepin' an eye on the place, and right now, there's two guys over there snoopin' around. I'm gonna shoot those bastards. Should I use a pistol, rifle, or my shotgun?
Dispatcher: Excuse me sir, do you realize how unethical it is to read someone else's morning papers?
Horn: Oh Sh*t, I think they're about to leave, and they ain't carryin' nothing to slow 'em down, so I better act fast. Shotgun it is . . .
Dispatcher: Sir, I have sent a squad car to investigate, but about the newspapers, you really shouldn't . . .
Horn: Ah, Hell. Shoot first, think . . . never.
Dispatcher: Uh, sir. What is you neighbor's name?
Horn: I dunno. We don't get along much. He thinks I'm takin' his newspapers and lettin' my pit-bull poop in his yard. . . . you hear that? That's the sound of my barrel clickin' closed. I've gotta shoot these guys, they're almost to the street.
Dispatcher: Go get 'em sir. This IS Texas. You have a right to protect your property AND your neighbor's with deadly force. Good choice on the shotgun. I'll be waiting on the phone when you get back. Did you know it's a federal crime to go through someone else's mail.

Was Mr. Horn within his rights? Was this justifiable homicide? I know that I would like to think that I would be prepared to defend my home and family, but in Mr. Horn's case, I don't think I could justify doing what he did, not that I don't like my neighbors, but since their was apparently no imminent harm to human life. Protecting yourself and your family (and I guess even your possessions, to a much lesser degree) is one thing. Using deadly force to protect an empty house when police were en route is altogether different. But if what Mr. Horn did was immoral, was it illegal? As I've been told, Texas law DOES allow one to defend one's property or the property of a neighbor with deadly force.

Later, Mr. Horn DID express regret, and maintains that he DID fear for his life?
Ahh, yes, the mind DOES have a way of trying to rationalize behavior ex post facto. What do you think?

1 comment:

Dmac said...

Similar happening in SA. Moral of the story- paint your sister's house a different color before you get drunk and try walking back home.

Man killed by homeowner was drunk

Web Posted: 11/21/2007 11:25 PM CST

Brian Chasnoff

A 19-year-old was heavily intoxicated when he entered a Northwest Side house, fled into the street and was shot to death by the homeowner nearly four months ago, according to an autopsy report released this week.

But the fact of Tracy Glass' intoxication does not resolve fundamental questions of the Aug. 4 shooting.

Glass, a sophomore at Angelo State University, had been staying at his sister's house, directly behind the house he entered. The homes are strikingly similar. Both are painted white, have blue trim, have sliding glass doors in the back and are on the right side of cul-de-sacs.

Glass, at least twice the legal limit of intoxication for drivers, left his sister's house on foot before he entered the other house early that morning. To reach Raymond Lemes' house, he could have walked a few blocks or climbed a fence in his sister's backyard.

Lemes, 48, awoke to his wife's screams around 2:45 a.m. Walking into his living room, he found Glass crouched beside the couch, according to a medical examiner's investigation report.
Talk Back
• Do you think the shooting was justified?

"What are you doing?" Lemes yelled, according to the report.

Glass turned and ran out the sliding glass door, whose lock had been broken on an earlier date. Lemes, armed with a .40-caliber handgun, followed Glass outside and ordered him to stop, the report said.

Glass, unarmed, stopped and turned.

"Based on the blood spatter seen, it appears as though (Glass) was being shot at and had been hit several times as he turned," the report stated.

Lemes shot Glass five times — twice in the chest, once in the neck, once in an arm and once in a finger. Glass fell face first onto the street with his hands "up over his head," according to the report.

Lemes then placed the gun on the street and waited for police.

Lemes has not been charged in the slaying. Police plan to forward the case to the district attorney's office for review.

Reached at his home Wednesday evening, Lemes declined to comment.

To Glass' parents, two West Texas cotton farmers, their son simply made a fatal mistake, stumbling accidentally onto Lemes' property. To others, the shooting's circumstances raise more questions than answers.

Did Glass enter the house in the 9800 block of Autumn Star with criminal intent? Or, disoriented by alcohol, did he believe he was returning to his sister's house?

And did Glass lunge at Lemes in the street, as the homeowner claimed? Or was he merely turning around to surrender?

In Texas, a person is justified in using deadly force to prevent someone from fleeing after committing a burglary as long as that person reasonably believes his or her property can't be recovered in any other way. Reports do not indicate whether Glass took anything from Lemes' house.

Experts have said this case more likely hinges on the question of whether Lemes reasonably believed he faced death or serious bodily injury when Glass turned to face him.

To Glass' grieving mother, no questions remain.

"Tracy was nowhere near his house (when he was shot)," Carmen Glass said. "It was an outright murder."