Local Attorney Weighs In On Self Defense Rights

Published 08/27 2014 06:43PM

Updated 08/27 2014 07:01PM

A Taylor County grand jury will soon be looking at the case where an Abilene business owner says he had no choice but to take the life of a man who was trying to come into his home.

This comes at the time of another case involving self defense in Abilene is being retried.

In October of 2010, Deborah Dearing was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Dearing shot a man who she said was trying to come in her front door to harm another person in her home. In 2012 Dearing was found guilty and began serving her 3 year prison sentence. During this time she has maintained her innocence.

The court of appeals has reversed the decision and is sending the case back for a new trial,
because the jury was not instructed by the original court that they should consider if Dearing was using self defense as a reasonable necessary action.

"A jury, a fact finder, a grand jury, may ask, were there other alternatives, was there something else that could have been done short of death?"

According to local defense attorney, John Young, reasonable is the key word.

"That person when viewing things through the eyes of the actor can see, that's reasonable, that makes sense to me, I might have been scared in that situation, then it's probably reasonable conduct."

Although there is not a duty to retreat in Texas, if there is the opportunity to and it was not taken it may be taken into consideration during a trial.

"Was the back door open and could you have run out  the back door to avoid the altercation? You don't have the duty, but would it have been smarter to do?" said John Young.

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