Oklahoma Woman Shoots Intruder "Graveyard Dead"

Earlier this month in the small rural town of Cushing, Oklahoma, 57-year-old Donna Jackson exercised her right to stand her ground in her house, killing an intruder. The drama played out over a phone call with a 911 emergency dispatcher.

The same thing could very well happen in Missouri and the homeowner would be protected from prosecution under a state law known as the Castle Doctrine. (More on that in a sec.)

"There's a man at my back door and he's trying to get in" Jackson told the dispatcher on December 4. "I have a shotgun and I will use it."

The intruder, Billy Dean Riley, 53, was apparently intoxicated as he banged on the door, looking for his pick-up truck. The dispatcher recommended Jackson find a room to go lock herself into. Jackson refused.

"I've got a big shotgun, I'm not going in a tiny bathroom," Jackson said. "Oh crap he's at the back."

The dispatcher told Jackson she was in her legal right to shoot Riley.

On August 28, 2007, the Castle Doctrine went into effect in Missouri. The law, stemming from English Common Law, says the occupant of a home, inhabited building or conveyance of any kind, has the right to use deadly force against an illegal intruder. An occupant has no duty to retreat before grabbing the shotgun and unleashing the lead

In the most basic terms, your home is your castle and you have the right to defend it.

Oklahoma has a similar, albeit less restrictive law, that mandates no duty to retreat  -- anywhere.

"I don't want to have to kill this man but I'll kill him graveyard dead," Jackson responded.

Riley threw a patio table through a plate glass door and Jackson opened up. The sound of breaking glass, followed by a single shotgun blast can be heard on the tape.

Jackson, noticeably shaken, begs for forgiveness.

"Please dear God I think I killed him. Please, father in heaven."

Riley had a long rap sheet of drug and alcohol violations. His pick-up truck was found crashed in a ditch. Riley's sister, Patricia, was passed out in the passenger seat.

Riley took a blast to the chest -- he was graveyard dead.

Matt Blickenstaff occasionally blogs about St. Louis gun culture for Daily RFT. He also has his own blog. Read his introductory post here.
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