UPDATE: I have changed my mind about something since I posted this due to new information I’ve acquired. So, I have updated it and am reposting this at the top of the blog.
This isn’t the Sand Box.
This isn’t the Rock Pile.
This is your living room and there is now a badly wounded man lying on your floor with a gun in his hand.
This has never happened to you right here in America.
Over there was someplace and sometime else.
This is home, the place you put your things and there is blood on them now. You have a gun in your hand and it’s smoking. The invader tries to raise his pistol again.
Your gun barks twice more.
Now the lights have gone out of his eyes. You have just killed a man in the comfort of your own home Your life has changed for-ev-er. You will never be the same man you were before you pulled that trigger. Old you is as dead as the now cooling lump of meat at your feet. You have called the cops. They will be there any minute. What you do next will chart the course of the rest of your life. It all depends on what you are about the tell the officer, that is about enter your house.
Yeah, don’t do that.
I realize that the president of the Bugtussel Gun Club and Bait Shop is a really charismatic guy and it sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. To hear him tell it he’s killed dozens of home invaders. “Just keep telling the cops, ‘he was coming right for me. He was coming right for me.’ Don’t say anything else.”
In this scenario, the Uncle Jimbo Defense is going to get you pleading down to a charge of Second-Degree Murder from Murder One. If you are really lucky, you will be pleading down to Manslaughter.
Why is that Dark Herald? You ask round eyed in wonder and astonishment at very possibility that Uncle Jimbo could ever be wrong.
Simple. The evidence doesn’t match your story. Your ‘victim’ had two bullet holes in his back. The police report will now have the magic words, “lied to investigating officers repeatedly.”
You don’t get to choose your cop.
Admittedly 95% of the cops are alright. They know perfectly well that legal gun owners aren’t the problem. I am not anti-cop. However, there are 5% that hate the idea that anyone who isn’t them has a legal right to carry. Those few will go after you.
You don’t get to choose your prosecutor.
Most will be reasonable about the fact that your life was on the line and you did whatever you had to do, to defend it. However, a few will view this a golden opportunity to send a message to legal gun owners everywhere. They will twist every single aspect of your story into a tale of gun fueled hyper rage.
The DA is not going to try and get a conviction for Murder One and win it in front of a jury. He will build as strong a case as he can for Murder Two and then tell your lawyer he will accept a plea bargain for manslaughter. The two of them will then negotiate your sentence. Your job is to give your DA as little material as possible to work with. So shut the fuck up at the earliest opportunity. It mostly comes down to your own word against yourself.
You don’t get to choose your jury.
If it goes to a jury, God help you. Don’t tell yourself the stupidest of lies, “no jury will ever convict me.”
It only takes one bullying SJW to cow a jury of beta males, into a life shattering conviction. Yes, SJWs will hate you for defending your family with a gun instinctively. They will try to punish you for it.
So what do you do?
You have to have plan for the aftermath of that event.
1. Call 911.
Repeat your address twice and then say, ‘send the police.’ Any cell phone made after 2015 has GPS tracking built-in but it’s faster if you give the information yourself. After you have given your information to the 911 operator, hang the hell up. This is the change I was talking about.
I used to advocate that in the event of a home invasion, keep 911 on the line and shout things your lawyer will find helpful in your defense. I no longer advise this.
The reason I have changed my mind is that there are now too many incidences of people keeping 911 on the line in a legitimate shoot and the recordings were used against them in court.
So, after you call the cops, hang up.
(Optional but highly advisable) Call your gun owners association if you have one.
By that I mean something like the USCCA. If you don’t have that, then call the lawyer you had picked out in advance.And if your family doesn’t know about the shooting (because the shooting wasn’t in the house), call them. They don’t need to hear about this from the news.
2. Put your gun down.
If there are no more threats and the cops are on the way, it’s time to find a good place for your weapon. Do not have a gun in your hand when a hyper adrenalized young man in his early twenties with a badge enters your house. A gun in your hand, will put him into a “heightened state of awareness” Cops are never frightened. They just enter heightened state of awareness.” Just ask any cop on the witness stand, they will use those exact same words. Do not put a cop into a, “heightened state of awareness” by having a gun in your hand. Top of the fridge is fine. Or in it for that matter
Caveat; putting the gun in your gun-safe is NOT fine. It is BAD because ALL of your guns will be confiscated as evidence if you do that.
3. Tell the cops where your gun is.
That’s required and in fact supersedes your Miranda rights. Yes, you have to tell them, so tell them.
4. Ask to be read your rights.
Do it respectfully. Don’t be a dick about it. The cops have got a job to do. But so do you and its to stay out of prison. Part of that job is to avoid needlessly pissing off the cops. Once you have told them where your gun is, politely ask to be read your rights. Ignore any questions they immediately pepper you with, after you have told them where your gun is. Say, “I will not answer questions without my attorney present. “
The moment you claim Self Defense, you have reversed the Burden of Proof. You didn’t have to prove a damn thing until you opened your mouth. The moment you say, “I didn’t have a choice officer.” Or worse, “I didn’t mean to shoot him.” You just entered a plea before the court without a lawyer at your dumbass side. You will have to prove self-defense at that point.
Say nothing after you have said, you won’t speak without your attorney present. Once you have invoked your right to silence, REMAIN SILENT. If the cops then say something like, “he’s acting like a guilty man.” Continue to be silent but tell your lawyer all about it afterward. I promise you, your lawyer will do his happy dance when he hears about that one because he is going home early after the judge throws the case out.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SIGN A WAIVER OF YOUR RIGHTS!!!
Yes, the police will be all friendly and polite and “it’s all just a formality…” Until you sign that fucking thing. Then the cops are free to interrogate you for days and you no longer have a Right to Silence because you literally signed that one away. You are required by law at that point to keep answering questions and sooner or later you will say something that will end you. If the cops, try to get you to sign a Waiver of Your Rights they are actively trying to convict you of something.
Okay then. That’s it. I’ve said the magic words, “I will not speak without the presence of my attorney.” Am I done?
No, you’re not done. Not by a damn sight.
You will probably be arrested. That’s happening, plan for it accordingly. You are absolutely going to be investigated for Second Degree Murder. That’s happening, plan for it accordingly. Have a lawyer picked out, well in advance. That one is vitally important. He needs to be familiar with the case law in question. Don’t assume that the guy who drew up your will can handle this one. You need a specialist. I would also strongly recommend a membership in something like the USCCA. Think of it as AAA for concealed carry owners. They have a hot list of lawyers familiar with the relevant case law in your state and provide a $50,000 retainer to that lawyer. This increases lawyer response time; they like having a guaranteed paycheck. Also, it covers insurance for court costs. Also, insurance against lawsuits by the surviving family members of the guy you just shot. That’s happening too. You will be sued. Also, immediate bail money. Also, compensation from lost wages while you are in court. These are all very good things.
Look I get it. You want to tell the cops everything so you can just get this nightmare over with. After all that’s how it works on TV, when it’s a clear case of self-defense. Right? The cops take your word for everything. The body gets carted away. You have a ham sandwich before going back to bed and hope the cleaning fairies get the blood off everything before you wake up.
That only happens on TV.
You don’t know how you are going to behave in this situation until it happens to you. No one does. But if you have a gun and you are going to use it. Be prepared for the aftermath.
And. Have. A. Plan.
Nine out ten NRA lawyers recommend peeing yourself. YMMV
3 thoughts on “So You’ve Just Killed A Man”
Having recently gotten my CCW, one thing the Sheriff who taught the class said, “Even if the perps brains are decorating your living room, always, always, always ask for an ambulance with the police response”. Said this shows any prosecutor that “even though the poor honors student was trying to kill me & my family, I sought to get him professional medical care as soon as possible”. For serious murder charges, there is a malice requirement. Calling an ambulance reduces that vulnerability and gives your lawyer ‘more ammo’ to defend you.
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Another excellent post, with great advice. It can’t be said enough, say nothing without a lawyer. My ex-wife claimed all sorts of crap about me, and not saying a word without my lawyer absolutely saved my ass. One thing about exercising your right to remain silent is that society and cops believe that if you do remain silent and ask for a lawyer, you’re “definitely hiding something.” I’ve even heard conservative stalwarts like Rush Limbaugh utter something like that. It may explain why people do blab something to the cops, but that’s just a guess. Again, thanks for the post.