Castle Doctrine Discussed After Second Shooting

By Grant Sloan |

Published 07/11 2014 06:46PM

Updated 07/11 2014 07:05PM

SPRINGFIELD Mo. - For the second time in a week, gunfire has been exchanged between a homeowner and an intruder. The latest case, police say, happened near Travis and Kearney St. around 4 am, July 11. 

While the case is still under investigation, police say homeowners are allowed to protect themselves, due to Missouri Law.

The "Castle Doctrine," allows homeowner to defend themselves, when they fell threatened inside their home.

"It goes back to the old adage, a man's home is his castle," says Springfield Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Woody.

Police say the homeowner in the 2300 block of Kearny called them after, he says, two men broke into his home and fired at him.

Police say the man was hit multiple times, and the homeowner believes he hit one of the suspects with a shot of his own.

Police have yet to name any suspects but say a man with a gun shot wound arrived at a Springfield hospital, not long after the apparent home invasion Friday morning. 

It’s believed the homeowner will survive his injures.

Attorney Adam Woody says the "Castle Doctrine," comes into play in other areas outside of the home. He says it can also be applied to cars or tents, even the home of a friend.

Woody says the "intruders" don't necessarily have to be armed, with a knife or a gun, either.

"What the law says basically is if it's reasonable [force]," says Woody.  "I think the justification behind that is if someone is coming into your home you don't know what they're capable of, you don't know what they have."

Woody says there are some gray areas with the law still, such as if an unwanted person is on your property. He says it all boils down to if the person is threatening the homeowner, or someone lawfully on the property, and if the force used is "reasonable."

"There's obviously some gray area on whether if they're walking up, or if they're at your door, or just standing in your driveway," says Wood. "That's just a case by case determination for police and prosecutors whether force is reasonable."

Before Missouri adopted the "Castle Doctrine" in 2007, Woody says Missouri was considered a "Retreat State." In other words, when an intruder broke into your home, by law, homeowners were required to do everything in their power to remove themselves from the situation.

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