Another Castle Doctrine Case
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Thread: Another Castle Doctrine Case

  1. Another Castle Doctrine Case

    This one is from the upcountry. (The relationships are complex as you might expect.)

    A homeowner was threatened by a fellow with a lawn mower blade. The homeowner went inside his home, taking a toddler with him. (The toddler being the son of the fellow by the fellow's former girlfriend and the homeowner's current girlfriend who lived in the home.)

    The fellow banged on the door. The homeowner opened the door went outside and shot the fellow. The homeowner was charged with attempted murder because a judge, who reviewed the police report a week later, felt the homeowner had other options such as staying inside and calling the cops.

    The fellow was charged with attempted burglary although what he was trying to steal isn't mentioned.

    EASLEY — A dispute between two Easley men resulted in one man being charged with attempted murder, and the other with attempted first degree burglary, according to a Pickens County Sheriff’s Office report.

    Billy E. Morris, Jr., 33, of 617 Anthony Road, was arrested last Wednesday and charged with attempted murder.

    Matthew Paul Ferguson, 27, is charged with attempted first degree burglaries while armed with a deadly weapon.

    The charges stem from an incident that occurred on May 13, according to a sheriff’s office report.

    A deputy responded to a call from Morris at his Anthony Road home, the report stated.

    Morris told the officer that Ferguson had allegedly assaulted him, the report stated.

    Ferguson was sitting on Morris’ front porch drinking alcohol when Morris arrived home from work, the report stated.

    Morris said Ferguson asked him for some money but he refused to give him any, the report stated.

    Morris told the deputy that Ferguson became very angry. Ferguson then allegedly picked up a lawn mower blade and approached Morris “in an aggressive manner,” the report stated.

    Morris, who was holding Ferguson’s 1-year-old child, took the child inside, the report stated.

    According to the report, Ferguson allegedly began banging on the door.

    Morris told the deputy that Ferguson repeatedly stated he was going to kill Morris, the report stated.

    Fearing Ferguson would enter the home, Morris retrieved a .22 caliber handgun, the report stated.

    Morris then opened the door. According to the report, Ferguson was still holding the lawn mower blade in his land and threatening Morris.

    At that point, Ferguson allegedly charged at Morris, who fired his weapon, according to the report.

    Morris told the deputy that he believed that first round struck Ferguson in the right forearm, the report stated.

    Ferguson dropped the mower blade, but then allegedly picked up a cement block, the report stated.

    Morris fired another round into the ground “to scare Matthew,” the report stated.

    The weapon then jammed, Morris said, and he threw it on the ground, according to the report.

    Morris alleged that Ferguson struck him in the back of the head with a blunt object as he was walking away, according to the report.

    Morris was initially listed as the victim in the original incident report, but one week later he was arrested and charged with attempted murder.

    Assistant Sheriff Tim Morgan said he believed that the judge, in reviewing the case, believed that Morris had “other options available to him.

    “We presented it to a judge. I think his thought process was that other options were available to Mr. Morris,” Morgan said. “He was secure inside a residence. I’m speculating that the judge thought there was no imminent threat at that time.

    Ferguson did not beat the door with an object, Morgan said.

    “He may have kicked it in anger,” he said. “Morris retrieved a weapon and went out and shot him.”

    Some of the issues in the cases “will be up to a jury to decide,” Morgan said.

    “If someone’s breaking into your house, that’s one thing,” he said. “This was a little bit of a convoluted situation. The judge felt probable cause existed, a crime was probably committed. Some of these questions are for a jury to decide. Did he act appropriately or did he have other options before leaving a safe place to fire a weapon?”

    The Easley Progress - Incident results in attempted murder burglary charges

  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Virginia Beach, Va
    Stay on guard stay indoors and wait for ( a) BG to try and get in then shoot him. Or (b) the cops to get there and handle it.

    Also is it really attempted murder with a. 22. I'm thinking more along the lines of assault

  4. Glenn,
    According to one of the letters to the editor concerning this story, the homeowner had a shotgun that he could have used instead. So, no, I don't think it was attempted murder either.

    Public Index Case Details

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Houston Metro Area, Texas
    DRT(Dead Right There)= Your side of the Story, agree he should have stayed indoors.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    So he took the shootee's baby into his house? That only escalated the situation. He should have went in and called the police and then if the shootee broke the door down, shot him.

    Oh and 22 autos are junk, I dont care who makes them, not a good SD choice.

  7. #6
    I get 2 things from this case.

    1-The guy (nor the child) was not danger of "eminent otherwise avoidable death or grave bodily harm.". That sounds like manslaughter to me.

    2-Using a .22 in a self defense situation is a good way to get yourself killed. The guy hit him in the head with a blunt object AFTER being shot. Ouch!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Charleston, South Carolina, United States
    The home owner should have taken the child in the house, locked the door and called 911 for assistance. He could have also communicated to the intoxicated person to cease his aggressive behavior and leave the property from behind the locked door. He was not in threat of seriously bodily injury or death while standing in his home. His opening the door and intentionally shooting the person with the lawnmower blade was not good. I don't think he thought things through. Maybe in the heat of the moment he just reacted. No matter what was going on he did not have the right to use deadly force.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Santa Fe Area, New Mexico
    No mention of the Solicitors opinion in the article. LEO's present their investigation to the Solicitor. The Solicitor makes the call on prosecution not a judge.
    "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." --author and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Unfettered Might View Post
    So he took the shootee's baby into his house? That only escalated the situation.
    From what I gather the baby was a resident of his household, as such that it not escalation.

  11. #10
    If the home owner had a 45 and was a decent shot there might not have been any charges filed.

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