TEXAS COUNTY, Mo. – Early Wednesday morning a 38-year-old Texas County man thought he was shooting an intruder at his home, but it was a woman who lived there with him.
As of now, no charges have been filed in this case, but Texas County Sheriff Scott Lindsey said the case is still under investigation.
When deputies arrived at the home on lynch drive in Bucyrus, they found 31-year-old Tiffany Angel dead with a gunshot wound.
The suspect was arrested at the scene but released 24 hours later. Under the law, a person can’t be held for longer than 24 hours without charges being filed.
“Part of this is determining whether there’s a crime and there’s negligence and what’s reasonable and whether this was just a terrible, tragic accident,” Sheriff Lindsey said. “And is there still negligence that is criminal? I mean, it is kind of a unique case and there’s several legal issues to be looked at there.”
Springfield Defense Attorney Stacie Bilyeu said there are many factors prosecutors might consider when deciding whether the shooter should face criminal charges.
“One is the state of the mind of the person that committed the shooting,” Bilyeu said. “The other is how reasonable that person, that shooter’s belief was that they were in imminent danger or someone else was in imminent danger.”
Bilyeu said Missouri’s castle doctrine, which allows people to use deadly force to protect their homes, could come into play in this case.
“If someone is going to act in self-defense or if they are going to use force or they are going to use deadly force, they have to be reasonable when they do that,” Bilyeu said. “And whether or not that action is reasonable depends not only on the facts, but whether or not the prosecutor or the grand jury agrees with whoever else they’re arguing with about what the facts are and whether or not those actions were reasonable.”
Sheriff Lindsey said more details about the circumstances surrounding the event will be released as the investigation continues.