(CT) Homeowner shoots intruder 09-04-03

by Armed citizens Deter crime and save lives

(CT) Homeowner shoots intruder 09-04-03

??Self-defense eyed in incident's wake
Norwich Bulletin; gasmith@norwichbulletin.com
Rory Glaeseman/Norwich Bulletin
A man was shot during a alleged burglary at a home in Salem Turnpike in
Norwich Friday night.

NORWICH -- Police and Second Amendment experts await a decision by the
New London State's Attorney's Office on whether a 61-year-old Norwich
man had a legal right to shoot an intruder in his home.

On Friday night, George Blacker, of 433 Scotland Road, shot one of two
burglars who entered his house at 154 Salem Turnpike house.

The home, police said, was not Blacker's primary residence.

But, according to police, it was where William Derose, 43, and an
unnamed accomplice are suspected of forcing entry shortly after 10 p.m.
Police found evidence of a door being pried open.

Blacker, according to police, was inside waiting with a shotgun.

As of Wednesday, no warrant had been issued for his arrest. And Blacker
has been unavailable for comment.

Derose, of 61 Union St., Apt. 1, is being treated at The William W.
Backus Hospital in Norwich, where family members said he was undergoing
surgery Wednesday.

A woman who identified herself as Derose's wife said she has hired a
lawyer, but declined other comment Wednesday.

West Hartford lawyer Ralph Sherman, without knowing specifics of the
case, said absolutely a homeowner has a right to protect his own

"Your home is your castle," Sherman said. "If two guys want to take that
much risk to break into a place at night, what choice did he have?"

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution simply states: "A well
regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the
right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Sherman, who is also chairman of Gunsafe, a coalition of Connecticut
residents committed to preserving the Second Amendment rights, said
state law allows the use of deadly force if someone is forcibly entering
a home.

Norwich Police Detective Sgt. Stephany Bakoulis said arrest warrants
have been issued for Derose and his unnamed accomplice.
Bakoulis, without discussing specifics of the case, said police
discourage the use of deadly force. Someone should weigh the cost of
using a weapon against an unknown intruder, he said.

"The most important thing is your life," Bakoulis said. "To be able to
live would be the most important thing, I would think. Property is
replaceable. You can't replace your life."

Earlier this year, an elderly Norwich couple was bludgeoned to death by
a burglar who entered their Adelaide Road home.

A person is justified in using deadly force to defend himself "when he
has a reasonable belief that he is in eminent danger of bodily harm,"
Sherman said.

"What's the alternative?" Sherman added. "It's his place. Do people
expect he was going to wait for someone to bash his head with a pry

Gun right advocates, such as Michael Dane, president of the Connecticut
State Rifle and Revolver Association, believe that protecting your own
property is allowed under Connecticut law.

The group's primary focus is education and training in safe handling of

"I've been fortunate not to ever have to use a firearm in self-defense,"
Dane said. "I hope I never have to.

"My understanding of the law is you are legally entitled to defend your
possessions and your home," he added. "I think in general if it's a
clear case of home invasion ... the homeowner has a right to defend
himself. It may well be that police do not bring charges."

Norwich lawyer Frank Manfredi agreed, but said details of the case that
have yet to come to light could make the difference.

For instance, prosecutors will try to determine Blacker's state of mind,
whether he was lying in wait specifically for the purpose of surprising
intruders or whether he simply defended himself.

"In some circumstances you could use deadly force," Manfredi said. "It
doesn't mean someone won't be charged."

Posted on Sep 5, 2003, 4:42 PM

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