The woman who shot two teenage intruders, one fatally, at her home in Midwest City last week is not expected to face charges, according to Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes.
While a report on the shooting will be sent to the district attorney's office, the Chief of Police says that it appears that the shooting was legal, and that the woman was within her rights under Oklahoma's "Make My Day" law. She will not likely face charges of homicide or shooting with intent to kill in Oklahoma. In the incident, two 15-year-old step-brothers kicked in the door of the woman's home last Thursday morning, and attempted to steal her flat-screen television while a 17-year-old friend acted as lookout.
The noise awakened the woman, who was at the home with her two young children. When the woman found the intruders in her living room, she fired at them, shooting both.
Marquis Lee Patterson died at the scene, and his stepbrother, Dewayne Edward Kemp, fled with a gunshot wound to the stomach. Because Patterson's death occurred during the commission of a felony, Kemp and the lookout, DeAungelo Quiae Johnson, have been charged with first-degree murder.
Although none of the teenagers appeared to be armed, under Oklahoma law, anyone who commits a felony during which a death occurs may be charged with murder. According to Chief Clabes, "It really makes no difference whether they were armed or not; they were committing a felony."
Johnson is being held without bail in the Oklahoma County Jail, where Kemp will be transferred when he is released from the hospital. Despite the fact that neither young man was armed, they will be charged with the Oklahoma violent crime. Oklahoma's Make My Day law was enacted in 1987.
According to Senator Charles Ford (R) who fought for the bill, "The purpose of the law is to protect the victim of crime who defends his home and his family against unlawful intrusion from any criminal prosecution or civil action. We considered it outrageous that someone who protects his home and family should suffer. Our law says you can use any force, including deadly force, to defend your home."
Prior to the legislation, homeowners were only allowed to use like force in the defense of their families and property. For example, if an intruder was armed with a knife, the homeowner would not be able to use a firearm to protect themselves and their property. Lethal force, therefore, would only be legal and justified in defense against an armed burglary in Oklahoma.