LITTLETON, Colo. — The victim of an armed robbery in his home could face criminal charges.
The homeowner shot and killed a man Sunday morning who came into his home in the 5400 block of South Taft Court after responding to a Craigslist ad.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office are weighing the evidence in deciding whether charges are appropriate.
But the homeowner’s neighbors and others question whether he’s protected by the state’s “Make My Day” or self-defense laws.
The man went from being the victim of an armed robbery inside his home to being a possible suspect for killing one of the men who tied him up at gunpoint and robbed him.
Sources say the man who died is 38-year-old David Martinez, who had an extensive criminal record of burglary, theft and drugs.
Investigators said the homeowner, who is not being identified for his safety, untied himself, then went outside and fired shots at his car with Martinez inside. Martinez crashed the car down the block and later died.
“I don’t want to see him charged,” said one neighbor who did not want to be identified.
He and others can’t believe a victim could be charged, when trouble came looking for him. And they look for any law that could protect him.
“At the point a gun is involved, it’s self-defense. It extends beyond the house. It’s wherever you are,” the neighbor said.
“While the facts are very sympathetic to the homeowner, the law is not,” legal expert Dan Recht said.
He said self-defense probably won’t work.
“It is not enough to have been threatened and now use physical force to retaliate,” he said.
Recht said the man had to have been threatened at the moment he pulled the trigger.
“If a guy is driving away, even if it is your vehicle that he stole, you cannot use deadly force,” Recht said.
He also said the Make My Day Law, which allows a homeowner to use deadly force against an intruder, only applies inside the home.
“Being in your front yard does not count,” Recht said.
“We are all pretty thankful he was willing to do that,” the unidentified neighbor said.
He and other neighbors see the homeowner as someone who should be lauded and not punished after a Craigslist ad turned into a terrifying home invasion.
Recht said his prediction is the homeowner might be charged, but the courts will probably work out a lenient plea bargain that results in no jail time.
Police are still searching for the second suspect. They said they found the stolen gold Mustang he had been driving in Federal Heights.