Recently a news story came out of the midwest where a homeowner shot two intruders in his home. I am not going to link to the story, but I do want to talk about just how wrong this individual was in what they did. The man in question was in his home when someone broke in and according to news reports he took a rifle and shot the person who broke in and then the rifle jammed so he then used a pistol and continued to shoot the intruder until he was dead. Then he got a tarp and placed the body on a tarp and moved the dead person across the floor and sat waiting for the intruder’s accomplice. That person came into the doorway of the basement and the homeowner shot as soon as he saw the torso. The second intruder fell down the stairs and when they came to rest he placed the pistol under their chin and executed them. Next he waited until the next day to have a neighbor call the police. He has been charged with two counts of second degree murder.
I find this behavior to be reprehensible. In NC the Castle Doctrine allows you to stop a threat coming into your home with the assumption being the intruder meant to do you harm. However in the case above there was no mention of a weapon on the intruder, nor any threat made against the homeowner. So using NC law the homeowner could legally shoot the intruder to stop the threat, but once he became a killer he was guilty of murder.
I don’t know what they will prove in court and it will be interesting to see how it plays out, but someone on a forum suggested the first intruder was looking to steal and broke in. The second was waiting in the car and when the first did not return they came looking for them. In the news article the homeowner had sat in a chair waiting in the basement for someone to come to the top of the stairs. So just looking at the situation that way the homeowner was justified in initially shooting the intruder. Then killing them was second degree murder. However if it can be proven he laid in wait for the second intruder that would indicate he planned the killing and that might be first degree murder which had it happened in NC could carry the death penalty.