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Car burglary victim found guilty of 2nd degree manslaughter in Seattle

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by bshnt2015, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. bshnt2015

    bshnt2015 CA & WA Member

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    If the same incident happened in Texas, would the person/shooter been found guilty?

    http://www.seattlepi.com/printer2/i...eattlepi.com/local/410709_manslaughter01.html


    Man who shot car prowler in Northgate pleads guilty to manslaughter
    He may be sentenced to nine months

    Friday, October 2, 2009
    Last updated 10:11 a.m. PT

    By SCOTT SUNDE
    SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF

    A Seattle man facing manslaughter charges for fatally shooting a car prowler with a rifle pleaded guilty Friday after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors.

    Filing a second-degree manslaughter charge in September, King County prosecutors alleged that Douglas Cameron Sheets acted with criminal negligence when he shot Jhovany Hernandez outside his Northgate home. According to court filings, police came to believe that Sheets shot Hernandez as the 21-year-old fled.

    Sheets was arraigned Friday, then pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter. Since he has no other criminal record, he would face a sentence of 21 to 27 months.

    But prosecutors will recommend just nine months, pointing to a mitigating factor listed in sentencing laws. That factor is invoked when the victim instigated the incident as Hernandez did during the car prowl.

    Describing the Sept. 24, 2008, shooting, Seattle police Detective James Cooper said in statements to the court that incident began when Sheets heard several men breaking into his car.

    From the balcony of his apartment in the 9700 block of Fifth Avenue Northeast, Sheets saw an unfamiliar car idling near the parking stall underneath the balcony where his Toyota Camry was parked. Three other men, Cooper said, were breaking into the vehicle.

    Sheets returned to the balcony with a Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle, Cooper said, prompting the men in the car to flee as two of the apparent car prowlers, including Hernandez, remained near the apartment. Trying to get to the prowlers' car, Hernandez ran carrying a 27-pound subwoofer taken from Sheets' car.

    Cooper said that Sheets told officers Hernandez turned and reached for the waistband of his pants before the shooting. Sheets took aim and fired, striking Hernandez in the back of the head.

    Sheets then rushed out of his apartment, Cooper said, checking Hernandez for a pulse and found the man dead. Police later determined that Hernandez was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

    Speaking to officers after being taken into custody, Sheets allegedly told investigators he had not intended to kill Hernandez.

    "When the defendant told them to freeze, the defendant claimed the last guy turned around holding the subwoofer up by his head with one hand," Cooper said in court documents. "The defendant said (Hernandez), with his free hand, then started reaching for his waistband."

    Sheets, the detective added, "said he wasn't going to take any chances, he 'freaked the (expletive) out, and he fired."

    During an autopsy, staff with the King County Medical Examiner's Office found Hernandez had been killed by the single gunshot to the back of his head.

    Sheets will likely be sentenced in about a month.
     
  2. JumpWing

    JumpWing NK WA Member

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    Sloppy, all the way around.

    I suppose it could have been worse than manslaughter. And 9 mos (hopefully he won't have to do all of it) for 1 dead dirtbag is a deal in the grand scheme of things.
     
  3. dario541

    dario541 medford, or 97504 Member

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    In most states, criminals have "on the job" Protection. Sad but true.
     
  4. smithmax

    smithmax here Member

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    9 months doesn't seem that bad when you consider that it could be 3x that length. It'd be really interesting to hear his opinion on whether or not he made the right choice that night, and what he would have done differently. Has anyone heard if the thief's family plans to sue Sheets in civil court?
     
  5. rmlarsen

    rmlarsen Seattle Member

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    Will they sue? depends on Mr. Hernandez immigration status.

    As for Mr Sheets, he is now a convicted felon. The 9 months may be easy, its the rest of his life he'll have to deal with, with that hanging over him.
     
  6. Bark

    Bark Oregon Member

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    Getting riped off is not fun, it has happened to me before, car and home. Shooting a fleeing thief in the back of the head....not real smart, he is lucky to only get nine months as it sounds like his life was not threatened.
     
  7. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Quite frankly, I'm of the opinion that the "victim" got what he deserved and I don't feel sorry for the "victim" one stinkin' iota...... the monetary value of the crime should NOT be the issue, it should be the PRINCIPLE of the matter. Anyone who thieves should be afraid for their life... its called, "credible deterrent"... on a civillian level. :D




    PS. They don't refer to the Mosin-Nagant rifle as "The Hammer of God" for nothing!! :thumbup:
     
  8. Hawaiian

    Hawaiian Tigard Oregon Well-Known Member

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    A stupid kid does not deserve to die for stealing a speaker. Shooting him in the back of the head over a speaker. That is just plain stupid.

    It is shootings like this that the anti's love to have to promote banning guns.
     
  9. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    Bad shoot but I don't feel to bad for the theif either.
     
  10. shockercustoms

    shockercustoms Forest Grove, Oregon Member

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    Are you serious? Maybe in Hawaii this would be considered stupid, but someone stealing from you is stealing. No matter what is.:shootingair:
     
  11. coyoteman5

    coyoteman5 North south east west Active Member

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    maybe he didnt need to die for it, but getting shot is a consequences one most faces when stealing someone elses property. Thats whats wrong now a days there is no real consequences to pay for doing wrong. Oh dont spank your kids oh dont dare put a murder to death for killing, he to young to trie as an adult even though he or they killed several people... There needs to be a ample consequence for the crime. If one wants to be a thief beware you are taking someones hard work for property. People are sick of stuff like that and nothing really happening to to bad guy when he or they get caught, Oh dont do that again shame on you... wow that hurt.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2009
  12. Hawaiian

    Hawaiian Tigard Oregon Well-Known Member

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    May I suggest you read ORS on the use of deadly force. Especially in defense of property v person. ORS 161-219 & 161.229
     
  13. coyoteman5

    coyoteman5 North south east west Active Member

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    i'm sure the criminal has and thats why he is not affraid to steal from people, but if he knew that there was a higher consequense to pay he might not take what someone has worked hard for or just worked for. Again i did say kill him.... remember at one time it use to be a hanging offence to steal a horse.
     
  14. crosse

    crosse Bellevue Active Member

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    i'm typically one who abhors violence. but these cases really get my blood boiling. more or less because its so senseless and lives are worth more than a speaker (on both sides of this case). people steal b/c they think its their only option. people shoot bc they think its an only option. i think thieves should get the book thrown at him, but knowing our law enforcement system, that's a joke, and that's why the victim of the case probably took the shot, b/c he knew that he'd just been violated and no justice was gonna come.

    noting that the thieves are probably "professionals" going under the cover of night, and planned out the crime. this isn't some grab and run at a department store. GRRR
     
  15. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    I predicted he would do less than 5 years in another thread, 9 months and he will likely not do more than 6. I would say that the DA and the court system really didn't want to punish this guy and the length of time it took them to bring charges they were trying to find anyway not to bring this guy to court. It's an imperfect system but under the circumstances it could have been a whole lot worse with a DA that was looking to boost his political career at someones expense.

    Not a win but not a loss. And as I said before I have no sympathy for the scumbag missing half his head!
     
  16. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    The criminal (not the kid as you labeled him, the criminal) made the choice and suffered the consequences. I would counter with the fact that the victim (not the kid because the guy that shot the rifle was the victim) did not deserve to be put into this situation by the criminal.

    Hypothetically Hawaiian what would you do if you confronted a burglar and after telling him to halt and with your gun in full view of a criminal he started reaching in to his pants?


    This was Washington so Oregon revised statutes wouldn't be relevant but if you can point to the Washington equivalent I would be curious.

    The only thing I would have done different was a drop knife! :D So ponder that thought the next time you see a knife for sale. ;)
     
  17. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Didn't any read the fact that the guy refuse to stop and turned around with a hand in his waistband? Why should this guy who was being robbed of his hard earned possessions and who's life was at risk be thrown in jail with murderers, thieves, rapists, etc for defending himself? If a police office ordered a person to freeze and he turns around with a hand going to the waistband he would have shot him and got away with it. Why are people held to such a standard where thieves have all the rights to terrorize us and honest, hardworking citizens are the criminals.

    You know what I say? The people who put this guy in prison should rot forever!! I hope one day we can persecute and imprison those who enable these thieves/criminals to terrorize us.

    I respect law and order of some third world countries I been to. Yeah, you might laugh, but when I was in Africa, a man's cell phone may be the only one he can afford for another 5 years. If someone steals it and they catch him, the people will gather around the thief and beat him to death. The police will look the other way. Guess what, the theft rate in a place like Ghana, West Africa is less than in Seattle, despite the people being like 1000 times more poor. Not many people steal things around there and the people who do are extremely desperate or stupid.

    I think 100 years ago in America, if a person tried to make off with a lot of possessions from a persons house, the owner could shoot the thief dead and the thief's family would hide for fear of retribution of being the parents of the thief. Today, they turn the thief into a hero. Just think of all the other unknown people who suffered at the hands of this thief.

    Pardon my temper.. But I am sick and tired of criminals being turned into heroes. And for those who say, oh he just got 9 months, well that is nothing... I know were you're coming from, but just remember all thieves who are reading your posts agree and love our legal system and the attitudes here.

    They figure, you cannot shoot me, but I can shoot you and I can steal and I will get off. If I shoot you, I hide the evidence, if you shoot me, you have to present the evidence.
     
  18. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    It was a bad shoot but I do agree that our court system favors the criminal and not the innocent today. Fact of the matter is Hawaiian is correct when it comes to the law you can not just shoot a thief for being a thief. Now it's another story if a thief breaks into your house when you are home. If they break into your house they are in fact potentially a lethal threat and you can shoot them. Everybody must consider whether or not they are in grave danger before pulling the trigger. The use of deadly force is clear about this and I agree with it actually. It is not right to just go around shooting people that do you wrong. As much as you may think you would like to, vengeance is a double edged sword and you will get burned by it.

    Again I'd like to remind you that I don't feel to bad for the thief and I share the same feelings/frustration as the rest of you but that doesn't make it right to go around shooting people for minor offenses. If the crook was intent on killing you, raping you or your wife or kids by all means pull the trigger repeatedly but somebody ripping you off is not a justified shoot. You are not acting in self defense. You are in fact acting out of Rage and Vengeance which brings you down to their level.
     
  19. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I still don't see how it was a bad shoot. He told the thief to stop and the thief started reaching for his waistband. If you are going to steal people's hard earned possessions you better expect that you have a good chance of being shot and should immediately put your hands in the air when a person with a gun tells you to freeze. Can anyone prove that the shooter was lying about the fact the thief went to reach for his waistband when he told him to freeze?

    Personally, seeing how poorly the Seattle Police Department handles car theft, I am not against civilians defending their possessions with guns. If that is what it takes to put an end to Seattle's horrific burglary and car theft problem, which the city has obviously failed to control. Read the statistics, Seattle has one of the highest number of burgarly, theft and car theft crimes in the country.

    If you are against people defending their proprerty with guns, then what should we do, wait for the government to make a plan to help rehabilitate them all with our tax money?

    BTW.. If a person doesn't mind commiting a felony to break into my car and steal my sound system, then I doubt he minds to carry a gun. I assume all felons are armed at all time. This is not just some bozo walkign down the street, this is a professional/amateur felon and if I was chasing the guy, I would assume 100% he is armed. I don't give a damn what the ACLU lawyers say.
     
  20. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    If the shooter felt he was in grave danger he should defend himself and it may very well have been an unfortunate accident but that certainly doesn't automatically make it a good shoot. The man with the gun misjudged the situation. The thief wasn't reaching for a gun, he was pulling up his pants. These things happen but when accidents happen and as a result somebody dies there are always consequences.