Justifiable(?) Homicide

There was a horrendous story in last week’s issue about a guy who stabbed an intruder to death. Several readers took me to task for my tagline on the story, so I’m putting it here as a place for discussion.

Killin’ Just Makes a Guy Hungry

Eugene Michael Falle, 35, was on trial for second-degree murder in Edmonton, Alta., Canada. Falle admitted he stabbed Shane Chalifoux, 18, to death after Chalifoux broke into his apartment — and Falle stabbed him 39 times to get the job done. “I told him just hurry up and die already,” he told police. “So I keep stabbin’ him and stabbin’ and stabbin’ him and stabbin’ him and stabbin’ him, trying to slash his throat to get a jugular vein,” he said. Chalifoux begged for his life, but Falle kept going. “He wouldn’t bleed properly the way he should’ve bled, according to the movies.” Falle finally got Chalifoux’s jugular, and he died. After it was over, Falle leaned out a window and asked a neighbor to order a pizza for him. After hearing the story, the jury returned its verdict: self defense, and Falle was set free. (Edmonton Journal) …Who knew that the O.J. jury moved to Canada?

Dark Humor

Anyone who has been paying attention knows that True’s taglines are meant to be “humorous, ironic, or thought-provoking” — with that word “or” being the key. Sure it’s great that sometimes a tagline manages to be all three, they’re not definitely not always meant to be — sometimes humor is enough, and sometimes humor is wholly inappropriate.

In this case, yes: I was trying to be funny, and probably most people chuckled, but the main point was definitely to provoke people to think a bit, rather than just laugh. Several didn’t quite get the point.

Ray, who didn’t say where he is, complained:

Sometimes you try way too hard to be funny. Maybe it’s illegal to break into a person’s apartment in Alberta and permissible to protect one’s self and property — as it ought to be everywhere. If you can’t tell the difference between self defense (albeit somewhat exaggerated) and OJ’s cold blooded murder, maybe it’s a really good thing you’re not in law enforcement!

I used to be! More on that below.

Let’s Get to the Real Point

Jay in New Jersey, a “loyal reader for at least 10 years,” writes:

This is the first tagline that’s inspired me to write to you. I’m not a violent person, but if someone broke into my home, and I was in a situation to defend myself, I’d be all for that. What criminal doesn’t beg for forgiveness once they’ve been beaten? This piece of scum bit on the wrong person and got what he deserved. If the attacked had a gun and shot the attacker, this wouldn’t be news…what’s the difference?

The difference is what “self defense” means, despite what the first reader seems to think. It means repelling the attack with the means necessary — yes, up to and including shooting someone to death, as Jay notes.

In fact, U.S. courts have become fairly lenient with civilians on the matter: if it’s “reasonable” to be in fear for your life, the police and, if necessary, prosecutors and courts, have been fine with ruling it “justified homicide” when people have been reasonable in defending themselves from attack.

That does not mean you can chase a fleeing burglar out your front door, catch up to him, and beat him to death with a golf club, does it? That’s murder: when someone is fleeing, you can’t very well claim you were in imminent fear over your personal safety.


Pretty obviously, the police and prosecutors in the case at hand didn’t think Falle was “justified” in his homicide: they prosecuted him. It went all the way to the jury, as the story notes.

Long-time readers remember I was, in fact, a sheriff’s deputy in California, so I not only have some training on the subject, but as a guy who has carried a gun I’ve given the matter of self-defense more thought than the average person. I have indeed thought about what I would do if someone broke into my house and I believed they were there to cause me or my family harm: I wouldn’t hesitate to defend myself and my family, up to and including shooting the intruder dead.

Where Does “Defense” Stop?

The key there is “up to and including.” The point is not “Someone is in my house, therefore I’m justified in killing them.” Rather, it’s “is there a threat?” and, if so, “How do I nullify that threat?” If it’s a neighbor who’s there to borrow a cup of sugar and thought I had said “come in,” I’d just as soon not put a bullet in their head.

And even if it is someone with evil intent, the law doesn’t say “It’s fine to kill them,” it says one can use reasonable force to repel the threat. “Reasonable” — in my state — means up to and including lethal force, as dictated by the situation.

But once an intruder is subdued, “defense” is over.

So, what was the point of my tagline on the story? It was to suggest that perhaps, at some point, the threat that Chalifoux did in fact represent to Falle ended before Falle killed him. And Falle indeed meant to kill him, as his own words made clear. Kill him; not repel the attack, not stop the threat, not end the danger to himself. Therefore…

Not Justified.

His homicide didn’t sound any too “justified” to me, and obviously it didn’t to the police or prosecutors, either.

The point isn’t that Chalifoux “begged for forgiveness” (or mercy, or whatever), since indeed bad guys do do that when they’ve been beaten. The point is that Falle got away with homicide — just like I think O.J. Simpson did — when there was no apparent legal or moral justification for committing that homicide.

Even then, I’d rather the jury let him go if they truly had “reasonable doubt” that the prosecution proved their case, just as I’d much rather a guilty O.J. be set free rather than an innocent O.J. be thrown in prison.

But it’s still fair to raise an eyebrow when the “Court of Public Opinion” is left feeling an injustice was done.

I’m interested in your thoughts: you don’t have to register to post your comments below.

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82 Comments on “Justifiable(?) Homicide

  1. I concur with your assessment. Unless starring in a horror movie, being able to be bored enough to tell someone to “just die already” well and truly signifies that the threat is neutralized. At that point, continued violence is for the gratification of the attacker, not the defense of anyone.

  2. I agree that this guy got away with murder, for the reasons you discuss. Self-defense stops when the burglar is helpless, et cetera.

    However, I have a very different take on the O.J. jury. We *know* as a matter of *fact* that O.J. killed 2 people with no justification, and therefore *should* have been convicted. But the jury could not reasonably convict him on the basis of the evidence they were given; it was tainted by being introduced by a man proven to be a liar (Marcia Clark even had to argue Yes Fuehrman’s a racist liar but he’s still telling the truth … which is a tough argument to make); some of the evidence was obviously fabricated (remember the blood sample taken to the scene?); and above all, the glove didn’t fit (not, I’m sure, because it wasn’t his glove, but because it’d dried out and shrunk … but the prosecution blew it with that). And of course the prosecution didn’t notice the Magli shoe prints, and the cops tainted almost ALL the evidence with their warrantless entry.

    Basically, the cops and the prosecutor “tried to frame a guilty man” and were not prepared to face a truly professional defense, which did its job.

    It is very regrettable that O.J. walked free for so long, but the jury did what it had to do.

    I apologize for going on and on … but it’s an important thing to remember: Our Team screwed up bad.

  3. I live in the city where this happened, and own a building in the neighbourhood. Your summary of the story leaves out some important details which may help in considering the “justify-able”-ness of what happened.

    1. Mr. Falle was/is a street preacher type with some mental health issues, but utterly harmless, and I doubt even knows to this day how to stab someone properly.

    2. This was the third (3rd) time that Mr. Chalifoux had threatened/tried to kill Falle; it sounds like it was some kind of weird gang initiation and indeed other gang members were waiting outside when this happened. Anyone, intelligent or otherwise, would have had to believe that if he did not kill the intruder, eventually he would come back and finish the job.

    If Mr. Falle was more articulate to explain things up front, I suspect this would not even have gone to trial.

    I’m not surprised that the neighborhood would be abuzz with details (many of which may be true, even!) The source article I used said he goes by the “nickname” of “Preacher,” so I’m still unclear whether he’s some sort of ordained minister, or just went by that handle for some reason. Not that it really matters either way, I guess. -rc

  4. My first reaction is that yes, there is a duty to stop stabbing, shooting, beating, or whatever, when the threat stops. But then I wonder how easy it is to do that in the heat of the moment. If I were scared enough to start shooting, could I actually think before each shot whether the threat was diminished enough? Stabbing would, I think, be even trickier. If I were scared enough to pick up a knife and start stabbing, I doubt very much I could think between stabs. Once started shooting, I could easily imagine emptying the entire magazine. Once started stabbing, I could easily be so freaked out that I would be more scared of stopping too soon than not stopping at all, and in any case, I don’t think my state of mind would allow any contemplation of what might appear reasonable in the hindsight of 12 strangers.

    The only way I can imagine being so dispassionate as to think clearly would be where I had plenty of notice that someone was trying to kill me, where I saw a stranger pull up in my front yard and get out with a gun, or known scumbags from the area show up and poke around looking for a way in.

    I simply can’t imagine having any brain power left to consider when to stop if I were surprised, and I can’t imagine what my state of mind would be afterward, so ordering a pizza doesn’t surprise me much at all.

    If someone threatens people, whether a bank robber with a note about a gun he doesn’t have or a burglar breaking into a home and surprising the occupants, all bets are off, and if they die, it is just too bad.

  5. Details though there may be, one thing is clear: Falle has either a disregard for life, or an unhealthy inclination to kill, possibly both.

    Anyone who didn’t would have subdued the guy, beating the crap out of him if it was necessary or particularly well-deserved, then called the police and had him hauled off.

  6. A couple of points in the article make me wonder if Mr Falle should have been put in a mental institution.

    a. 39 stabs indicates a frenzy, which is indicative of a mental short circuit.

    b. It only takes two or three stabs to incapacitate someone long enough to call the police, so 39 stabs is excessive.

    c. His comment of having said “Just hurry up and die,” indicates someone not all there and an intent to kill beyond self defence.

    d. Every legal system I know of equates ‘reasonable force’ as being just enough to stop the attack or a single blow.

    If someone attacks me and I strike back once and kill them, that’s usually seen as accidental while defending yourself as one blow is usually reasonable. If I hit back three to their one and the third kills, that’s usually seen as excessive as I should’ve stopped after the second made it clear they had stopped.

    e. I wonder about the jury in this case and what instructions they got.
    If I lived in that city I’d be looking to move damn quick as I’d have no faith in the judicial system any more as it either lets murderers run free or homicidal maniacs run free – either is scary.

    As to the OJ case, I think that got so muddied I’m not sure OJ actually did it, some reports suggest he may have been covering for his son, I don’t know and there is no real solid untainted evidence available now.

  7. Recently, there was an argument in a movie theater here that erupted into a shooting. The local media hyped it and then dropped the story. What we don’t know is what the person who was shot said to the shooter. Was a threat made that would fulfill the legal requirements of immediate, bodily harm? Even if there was a threat, I’m not sure it can override endangering the other people in the theater by firing a handgun.

    For me, the first question is “is there a threat?”, then “is there an exit for me and the others involved?” and, finally, “how to I nullify that threat?”

    At the theater, the shooter should have just walked away. As for Falle, he should have stopped stabbing when the intruder was no longer a threat.

  8. I am amazed at how many people think it would be easy to know when to stop stabbing. If Falle was surprised in his home, who knows what his mental state was — if he were scared and surprised and started stabbing out of pure fear, how could he possibly revert to cold blooded sanity in seconds? Do any of you actually think you could do that? As for being in a frenzy of 39 stabs, I suggest that they must have been pretty ineffective stabs if the guy was still living, implying short useless ones, also implying Falle was simply too freaked out to think coldly and rationally. And I don’t see 39 as taking all that long if he were just flailing away, certainly something he could do in the shock of being surprised.

    I doubt any of the armchair experts here have any idea what it would be like to be surprised in your home in a normal burglarly. The comment by the guy from the same city says Falle had been threatened twice before by the same person — how would that affect things?

    As for backing off and escaping if possible, I tell you what — if I am in my home and some burglar (or a wannabe assassin who has attacked me twice before) surprises me, I’ll be damned if I see why I should back off and try to escape rather than kill the intruder. I’ll walk away from aggressive panhandlers, but burglars deserve whatever they get.

  9. @Rewinn: I was personally on a jury where the preponderance of evidence (what’s needed for a civil case) was that the defendant was guilty, but we could not be sure beyond a reasonable doubt.

    It made us all sick to do it, but we had to find the defendant not guilty. So I see what you’re getting at; honestly, I tend to skim over OJ jokes as kind of lame. (Sorry, Randy.)

    @Bill: That does make a difference; I can understand needing to not only make someone stop, but to make sure they’re not going to just turn around and do it again (yes, I’m stealing that wholesale from Ender’s Game. Still, that fact alone isn’t enough to explain the severity of the attack. I might see it as an excuse to lessen the punishment, but that doesn’t justify the repeatedness of the attack.

    @Felix: You made me think of my disorientation after I was in a car wreck; I made some odd requests while I was in shock. We don’t know if he was hurt at all himself. That said, I remember an essay of Larry Niven’s that points out that while violence (from brawls, etc) might stay the same, deaths from them from haven’t. His explanation is that when you’re punching someone, it’s actually slower to kill someone – it takes a deliberateness and determination. The amount of time between incapacitation and death is comparatively large. With a knife, that difference in time becomes slower. With a gun, that time difference might be zero. (Remember, hydrostatic shock can kill someone even if you shoot them in an extremity, and there’s plenty of arteries to hit.) The “castle doctrine” is generally a good thing, IMHO – but even it doesn’t usually give license to kill unless absolutely necessary. Even with the additional info that Bill provided, I’m not seeing the necessary here.

  10. As Monday morning quarterbacks, we have the luxury of making a calm, reasoned judgment of what level response is appropriate. Not so when eyeball-to-eyeball with a criminal; every second counts. When confronted by a stranger with who-knows-what intentions and possibly under the influence of who-knows-what chemicals, people may react defensively based on adrenalin and the primitive parts of the brain rather than on the more compassionate and rational areas of the brain.

    During an attack, when criminals perceive their lives to be on the line, I suspect many can offer nearly super-human resistance. Even a serious stab wound may take a few minutes to prove itself lethal, during which time the attacker, blinded by fear and rage, repeatedly attempts to end the resistance.

    Yes, it is possible that the victim of a home invasion could himself have serious mental issues, possibly even being a psychopath. The results of a psychiatric exam should be required evidence at trial.

  11. Obviously, everyone is missing the real culprit. It’s the attorney that even dared to argue self-defense for a man who stabbed someone 39 times.

    We should just “kill all the lawyers” so this doesn’t happen again.

    JWK, Attorney at Law

  12. Well I agree with the jury. As soon as he broke into the home, I believe, the Shane C. gave up his rights: including the right to live. Now many will disagree with me, thinking that some sort of ‘limited response’ should be the standard. :shrug: I believe that we as a society have gotten too easy on criminals, too easy on _demanding_ personal (and societal) accountability.

    Next, we will be fining drug dealers as ‘illegal pharmacy distributors’ or some-such BS. You break into a home (defined as a home invasion) you lose the right to be treated as a human being and are nothing more than a rabid animal to be put down. :flame suit on:

  13. After reading all of the comments that have been posted so far, I can see how there could have been reasonable doubt with the jury. Unless someone is placed in the situation themselves it is difficult to know what would be a reasonable reaction. I agree that if possible and a person can assess that the threat has ended that the attack should have stopped. If it is true that he had been threatened in the past, it may have been reasonable to believe that if the man did not die that he may return and do it again. Also, as has been stated, in the heat of the moment it is not always easy to think clearly and rationally, so what a person might do in one situation, he may not do in another.

  14. Eugene was just trying to save the taxpayers some money by eliminating the need for prosecution and incarceration of a criminal. Instead, the DA spent those savings on prosecuting him. Now, who is the real criminal in this story?

  15. This seemed so obvious to me, that I’m surprised it’s controversial.

    I am NOT in law enforcement, nor is anybody in my family. But you don’t have to be a legal expert to understand what “self defense” is. If someone is threatening me, or someone is in my home – then as long as I fear for my life, I’m allowed to use force, even deadly force. That fear has to be reasonable; if the reason that I fear for my life is that I just watched a scary movie, and have trouble telling the difference between reality and fantasy, then it doesn’t count.

    Clearly, when Chalifoux broke into Falle’s home, he had reason to fear for his life. But clearly, at some point that fear (if it still existed) was no longer reasonable.

    One of the other commenters (Ernest from Austrailia) said “It only takes two or three stabs to incapacitate someone long enough to call the police”. I’ve never heard that statistic before, and I’m skeptical (doesn’t that depend on the stabs, where they hit and how deeply?) But surely at some point … 10 stabs? 20 stabs? … that line was crossed.

    You quote Falle as saying, “He wouldn’t bleed properly the way he should have.” But surely after 30 stabs he was bleeding in SOME manner! “I told him just hurry up and die already” obviously meant that he felt Falle was fatally wounded. It was time to back off.

  16. I may be in a minority here but I feel that once you make the decision to rob someone then act on that decision to invade someone’s home then you loose any sort of rights you may have as an average citizen. If someone invaded my home, that consitutes a threat on my life and the lives of my family – that right there gives me as a homeowner the right to self defense and the right to defend my family from a threat, a threat the invader represents and I will act accordingly on that threat. The article does not state if Chalifoux had any sort of weapon or not and the presence or perception of a weapon would dictate the use of incapacitation or deadly force – if the invader has a weapon then I feel that the use of deadly force is needed to stop the threat to my life and the lives of my family.

  17. I would like to take issue with Greg: what rights you believe that homeowners and intruders should have aren’t the issue here – the law in your country and mine allows reasonable force and nothing more, and the jury’s job is to decide whether reasonable force has been applied. Bill’s account implies that there may have been some justification, but Randy’s account of what Falle said in court sounds to me like a confession rather than a defence.

    I remember discussing the issue of what should be reasonable with colleagues one time (in reference to the case of Tony Martin, who shot two intruders in the back in the UK): some of them said the courts were wrong to rule that he used unreasonable force. I pointed out that lethal force is permitted in defence of property in South Africa, and while this results in amusing defence methods (such as the car flamethrowers Randy once reported upon) it was widely used as a defence, for example, after white security guards had shot blacks who happened to be near their property. My colleagues replied that they were sure the British courts could be trusted to judge such cases appropriately, contradicting their own original point.

  18. My belief is also (I agree with Pete) that once you have broken into a home you do not deserve any rights. If you do not observe others rights why should you have any? Also I feel that if you’re willing to break in my home then the least I can do is make sure you don’t do it again to someone else. And our legal system is not effective at that. Death may or may not be a deterrent. But if he gets to me he will not get a chance to repeat the crime — or any crime.

  19. This is a privacy issue. What a homeowner does to a criminal in the privacy of their bedroom is nobody’s business.

    Seriously, a civilian should not be expected to react in a prescribed way to a life or death situation. They don’t have the training. The mere fact that an intruder is there is traumatic and could easily create an out of control situation. The DA and police acted according to their standards of “appropriate response” while the jury empathized with one of their own. In fact, it sounds like they took the defendant’s obvious mental condition into account and held him less accountable for an unpredictable response. I say let all criminals beware!

    That’s the most compelling argument for the ‘other side’ yet — and succinct, too. -rc

  20. When I initially read the story and your tag line I got a little snicker out of it. I thought, how true. After I started reading some of the comments I was like, these people just don’t get it. I spent 29 years in Law Enforcement between military and the real world and thought he was way over the limit in self defense. Then I read the response from Bill in Fort Worth. That made me realize that there is a Grand Canyon gap in thought between law enforcement people and plain citizens. We still have a long ways to go.

    Well, you already knew this phenomenon; it’s when the guys you arrested that were so *sure* what they did was OK, yet you arrested them, the DA prosecuted, and the jury convicted…. -rc

  21. When I was in Veit Nam and HQ said there were 1000 VC spotted in the area and there was less then 100 GI’s on 100 % alert. You don’t have to tell me I wasn’t rational.You put the fear of god in me and I am going to survival mode kill or be killed.

  22. I thought your comment was funny!

    But: It is always hard to make good judgments from media reports in these situations. And I’ll confess that I believe that the guy who was defending himself went way over the line.

    I’ll will also say that it would be very difficult for me to convict the guy based on what I read in True’s report simply because I can’t expect the average Joe to make good decisions in this situation. Simply put, I don’t see that there would be an issue here if the intruder has simply gone about his business and been a law abiding citizen.

    Speaking from my own experiences growing up in a violent neighborhood with a dad / cop, I think I’m pretty good at reacting to situation where there is a crisis. I would like to think that if I was faced with a similar situation as noted in your post, that I wouldn’t execute the guy unless I thought I was at risk of losing my own or a loved ones life. Mame and disable, yes – but I have enough medical training and weapons experience to know how to do this.

    On the other hand, my wife has no experience with this kind of thing. And while she is a rational adult thinker, I would never expect her to know how to make a life or death situation in a case like this. So if our home is invaded, and she kills the invader in whatever manner she manages, I will support her decision.

    Now If it turns out that the killer in this story and the invader have some kind of relationship, and it can be shown that the killer took advantage of a stupid decision on the invader’s part to terminate his existence, then I’ll change my mind.

  23. From what I have read so far, most people miss the real reason this guy was found NOT guilty. The reason surrounds the fact that the prosecution went after him for second degree murder. Second degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence (I believe the last is the same in Canada?), and the prosecution must prove that the person actions warrant life imprisonment. There is a lesser charge called Manslaughter (in this case it would be voluntary manslaughter I would think), which they should have charged him with instead. I think if the trial had been for voluntary manslaughter, the jury would have convicted the man, and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. We must realize that the jury only found him not guilty of a second degree murder charge, and nothing else. Based only on what I have read in the news (what he said and did afterwords should give you an idea of the mental capacity of this gentlemen), I would side with the jury on this and have said “not guilty” to second degree murder. However, if it was a manslaughter charge (probably voluntary in this case) I would most certainly agree he was guilty of that charge.

  24. Here’s the deal. As soon as the “intruder” was disarmed and unable to defend himself, he became the victim. Falle was of sound mind and could stop at any time, allowing Chalifoux to live. The fact that he continually stabbed him “searching for the jugular” makes him guilty of murder. Cut and dry. That is the way the law is laid out. Look up the definition of 2nd Degree Murder.

  25. So, suppose this criminal had been allowed to live. The fact that he committed the crime is a good measure of his level of respect for others and their property. Whether he is punished or not he WILL commit the crime again, possibly with deadly results for that victim.

    Sun Tzu said; “The best way to win a battle is to avoid fighting it.” The only sure way to prevent future attacks is to remove the threat, permanently. If some feel this is too harsh the solution is easy, don’t choose to do the crime.

    So, suppose we subjected this criminal to due process…. -rc

  26. I would like to take issue with Greg: what rights you believe that homeowners and intruders should have aren’t the issue here – the law in your country and mine allows reasonable force and nothing more, and the jury’s job is to decide whether reasonable force has been applied.

    Actually the right to defend my property is the issue. How much effort/response (defending me and mine) do I get – that is the question the jury gets to answer.

    My opinion is that there are certain actions criminals take that AUTOMATICLY remove them from any ‘less than lethal’ response. Home invasion, rapest, pedophiles, and their ilk are not members of the ‘human race’. They are the animals, when the animals step too far out of line, you kill them. Just like a rabid dog, infected cat, raccoon who is sick.

  27. @Jon: remember that manslaughter implies a lack of intent to kill. When Falle said “I told him to just die already!” he demonstrated an intent to kill, which would push it beyond manslaughter.

    That said, any intruder who I confront in my home will not leave on their own, if I have any control over it:

    1. Killing an intruder in your home is self defense. Maiming an intruder in your home leaves you open to whatever criminal or civil complaints the intruder can dream up. There are enough “Stella” candidates out there supporting this as fact. I was once told by a police officer (in unofficial conversation, of course) that if I ever shoot an intruder in my home, make sure he’s dead — it’s easier for everybody. I know this reasoning varies from state to state, however.

    2. If the intruder is dead, there is only one side to the story: mine. Falle really just said too much — he probably could have walked away without even an arrest if all he said was “I just kept stabbing until he stayed down.”

    3. If the intruder is dead, he won’t be back for revenge or to do it again.

    Ordering pizza afterward might be a bit over the top, though…

  28. Many points have been made both for and against Falle’s actions here. What few here take into account is that as bystanders, none of us have all the facts. Was the intruder armed? Did he threaten Falle’s life? Did he have access to a weapon which he might have used on Falle if Falle had quit stabbing? Might Falle have believed himself in fear of his life if he let the intruder live? (as Bill from Edmunton’s testimony suggests). What was Falle’s mental state?

    Even if we surmise that Falle is guilty of intent and not just self defense, the area he lives in may actually *allow* for that given the circumstances. In Texas we have some of the most liberal laws on the books for justifiable reason to kill a person, including assault with a deadly weapon, sexual assault, robbery, and even just plain arson. Doing any of the above “under cover of darkness” is double reason. Just a few years ago a robber was killed by a homeowner who’d laid in wait for the robber on top of his roof with a hunting rifle, waiting for the robber to try to steal his chickens at night. He wasn’t even prosecuted, because while he was hardly in fear of his life, Texas still gives him the right to defend his possessions and property with deadly force.

    Additionally, what if lack of conviction is simply due to errors made in putting together a case against Falle, much like what happened with O.J.? I myself have served on a jury where we were all pretty certain the defendant was guilty, but prosecution could not put together a strong enough case to make us believe so “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

    My point is, unless someone wishes to post the minutes of the trial and how both prosecution and defense went about their business, as armchair quarterbacks we don’t know all the circumstances, and must therefore trust that the jury of our peers made the correct decision in refusing to convict in this particular instance. And if not? Well, that’s what appeals courts are for.

    Lastly I’ll throw in my own two cents and say that I fully agree with Bill from Ft. Worth – I cannot fathom how I would react in this particular instance even despite my own rudimentary self defense training. I do know shock does weird things to a person’s mental capacity (having been in shock myself after a severe car accident), and things one said and did while in shock can seem strange and stupid afterward even though it made perfect sense at the time.

  29. “Who knew that the O.J. jury moved to Canada?” Ouch! I love it!!! Actually, there have been many valid comments both pro and con. It is quite true that each person reacts differently when threatened. I’ve been in several situations where my safety has been threatened, and my tendency is to grow very calm–for lack of a better word–and rational, each time coming up with a quick plan of action to extricate myself from the situation. Each time when I was safely away from harm, I’ve fallen completely apart! A few years ago, my home was burglarized, and it made my heart pound to think what may have happened had I been home.

    My theory about what happened in Canada is that the homeowner had decided ahead of time how he was going to deal with the burglar if he broke in again. He’d been caught off guard a couple times, and he wasn’t going to take it anymore. It sounded as if he were pretty pleased with himself. I believe the jury may have found him not guilty because they may have empathized with him. I empathize with him being fed up; however, he could have hit the guy with something and disabled him and let the police deal with him. A few days ago, we had a situation here in California where a person broke into someone’s home. The homeowner’s Great Dane got the guy by the arm, and the homeowner hit the guy over the head with a baseball bat, and either she or her son (don’t recall which) called the police. Each time the guy tried to get up, the homeowner screamed at him, “Stay down!” The police arrested him. The homeowner could have beat him to death, but she didn’t. She let the police handle it.

    As for O.J., as a comedian once said, “There was so much evidence at the scene, about the only thing he didn’t leave behind was an autographed football!”

  30. Well, Randy does provide topics for stimulating thought! I remember having a similar discussion with several friends many years ago. We were discussing the “Make My Day” laws of certain states. My friends unanimously said “Shoot first, ask questions later”. I could not agree with them. My point: “What if the person at your window or door was in fact a known friend or relative? Say a friend of your teenage child climbs the roof to knock on your child’s window at two in the morning (we did these things as kids), do you shoot first? No, you have not found that there is an actual threat.” Apparently what you do when a real threat is detected tells the story. After reading these comments I cannot say for sure what I would do. I hope that taking another persons life would not be the outcome.

  31. Greg, absolutely the homeowner’s right to defend their property is the issue here. I never said otherwise. The law, as defined by the legislature and expounded by the judges, tells you what those rights are; the jury’s job is to decide whether you have stayed within those rights.

    Either the law allows you to use lethal force regardless of need in defence of your property, or it doesn’t. If the former is true in your state, I will avoid going to your state in case someone falsely claims that I have trespassed and uses this as an excuse to attack me; in the latter case, I hope I never meet you, as you obviously believe you have the right to take the law into your own hands.

    James, you say “If some feel [permanent removal] is too harsh the solution is easy, don’t choose to do the crime.” This implies that people only object to the use of illegally excessive force if they are subjected to it due to their own criminal acts. Is that actually what you mean?

    It amazes me the number of people who think that the right to due process is a right that can be forfeit by one’s actions, when its purpose is to identify and deal with those very actions.

    Quite apart from what an intruder “deserves”, have you considered that the correct process isn’t there to reduce the harm to a guilty party, but serves the interest of the people? It reassures the populace that actions are taken based on the truth rather than individual judgement, it provides an opportunity for society to force criminals to make reparations for the wrong they have done, and (perhaps most importantly) it enables the authorities to question criminals in order to discover their accomplices (pertinent in this case if there was a gang involved) and prevent further crime!

  32. Greg, absolutely the homeowner’s right to defend their property is the issue here. I never said otherwise. The law, as defined by the legislature and expounded by the judges, tells you what those rights are; the jury’s job is to decide whether you have stayed within those rights.

    Exactly! But truth be told, who is on trial here? Someone else breaks into my home, threatens my family and such, yet I’m on trial? Nah, That isn’t right. How is it that the person who caused the death, the person who made the choice to break into another home, to threaten and otherwise rape (ask a burglary victim – it’s rape) my family home and well being and I’m being held to accounts? [teenage whine]Plllllllleeeeaaaaasssssse[/teenage whine] Just where in the **** does anyone get off assigning me blame for it’s death?

    I hope I never meet you, as you obviously believe you have the right to take the law into your own hands.

    Only if and when you break the law and assult me and mine. See how that works… YOUR Personal Responsibility defines my response. hmmmm I’m not the criminal, maybe you should worry more about the victims instead of the “rights” of the criminal.

    Note: I did not presume to include anyone not caught in the act of breaking the law, I am not presuming to be the judge and jurer. I am defending what is mine and responding based on the criminals actions.

  33. I read in your email that you were a Law Enforcement Officer in Southern California.

    1. Thanks for your service in a difficult profession.

    2. Knowing this about you has given me an entirely new understanding of the genesis of your delightfully warped sense of humor. Cop humor is a completely distinct breed of animal.

    I’ve spent more time as a medic, but I was a police cadet and a sheriff’s deputy in California. Both have given me a much wider look at humanity in all its glory. -rc

  34. Some of the discussion in this story has centered around using lethal force to defend property. Laws about this obviously vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but in Canada the law does not permit the use of lethal force to defend property. Self defense in Canada only applies to the defense of people from imminent harm.

    There is a post discussing a case (McKay vs. The Queen) regarding defense of property using force that covers some of the basics of self defense and defense of property in Canada at Criminal Review. The applicable statute is the Criminal Code of Canada, s. 38-42 but the particulars of justifiable force are mostly in case law.

  35. Mystifying, isn’t it? How did this guy get away with murder? I related your tag line to the same thought that was very prevalent at the time: How did the jury find O.J. innocent. I know my brothers, both RCMP veterans, were completely flummoxed by that decision.

    But Ray and Jay gotta take the cake.

    Come on, guys! Are you really that ignorant of the law? It’s one that has applied here in Canada for ages. Come on. Detect a little humour when it comes your way: Try hard! Okay, maybe… TRY HARDER!

    “It is never right to do wrong or to requite wrong with wrong, or when we suffer evil to defend ourselves by doing evil in return.” –“Ancient thoughts” by Socrates (469-399 BC)

    Mein gott! We haven’t learned a thing in all this time?

    Guess it must be that deliberate miss-reading (for the simple corporate profit scenario?) er, half-read of that second amendment chestnut, eh? What did those old geezers mean when they wrote it? Civil man knows: Ignorant fools merely ignore civility.

  36. If someone breaks the law by entering my home, and I even remotely believe there is a .01 percent chance that he or she might harm me, I will, without remorse or second thought, kill that person. I am always within arm’s reach of a handgun, practice regularly and believe that allowing a criminal to plead “I wasn’t going to hurt anyone” and get away with a two-year sentence of which only half will likely be served is not justice. A dead burglar will not contribute to recidivism. My doors are locked in the evening and when I am away. My home was burglarized and the thieves got away with thousands of dollars of MY stuff that I had worked for. Should they ever be caught, they will not return my wife’s dishes, my tools, our t.v. etc. They will go to prison for a short time and during that time the taxpayer will fork out on average, $43,000.00 a year to keep that person in prison. Since I load my own, the 9mm round that ends his life is 8 cents. If he or she didn’t want to be shot, they should have stayed out of my home.

  37. if a guy breaks in your house, and you start stabbing him, you are probably not in the frame of mind to decide “well, i wonder how much i should stab him?”

    you are acting in a frenzy of self protection. if i ever stabbed a criminal in my home i would want to make sure he was dead. that way after the whimpy US legal system released him, he could not return to my home to terrorize my family again.

    yes, people do take the law in their own hands. thats because the courts do NOT get rid of the bad people.

    people who are victims of crime live in fear of the day “their” perpetrator will be released. we all know life in prison is not- life in prison.

    No one wonders “well, i wonder how much i should stab him?”, and it’s pretty dumb to frame it that way. The question is, “What do I have to do to get this guy to STOP?!” That’s what self protection IS. -rc

  38. The story really should make you think especially in view of all other “zero tolerance” episodes.

    The really shocking thing is the reaction of Jay in New Jersey and other sick individuals like Falle.

  39. I’m one of those who agree with you Randy. This was NOT ‘justifiable homicide’ or ‘self defence’. The threat was over & this is ‘homicide’ pure & simple. Here in Australia, that would be recognised, & taken into account.

    Not only that it was brutal homicide.

  40. I really enjoyed reading your voice of reason in discussing the rational for your original presentation. Like yourself, I too have some background in law enforcement (as well as military). Personally I believe that experience gives gives one a greater understanding of the rights AND RESPONSIBILITIES of self defense, especially if necessity requires the use of lethal force.

    Even if pushed to the point where lethal force is required to defend ones life or the life of an innocent person, those of us with what I call “Good Character” would carry that incident with us for the rest of our life. For myself, I would rather have the life of one who had tried to harm/kill an innocent person on my conscience than have it on my conscience that I had the means to prevent the harm/killing of an innocent person, BUT FAILED TO ACT.

    Like you, I also would rather see an occasional guilty party not convicted than many innocent parties convicted.

  41. I absolutely agree that this act was not justified and was, in fact, intentional — and confessed — murder. It makes me wonder who else this unbalanced individual has harmed, to what extent, and by what self-delusional justification.

  42. It amazes me how many people are bending over backwards with twisted logic to put all responsibility for the intruder’s death on the home owner and saying nothing about the intruder’s own (lack of) responsibility.

    You say the home owner should have acted cooly and camly and, face it, in cold blood, in counting his stabs, are contemplating between stabs whether the intruder was likely to be incapacitated long enough to make a call to 911.

    Set aside the bizarreness of that. Set aside the fact that people acting in surprise are not calm cool and collected.

    What about the intruder? He did act in cold blood, calmly and cooly, in deciding to break into the home. You say the home owner should be charged with murder for NOT acting in cold blood and counting stabs and contemplating each one. What should the intruder have been charged with if he had survived? He calmly, rationally, in cold blood decided to break into a house and threaten other peoples’ lives.

    None of you say squat about the intruder’s responsibility. None of you consider the mental state of someone surprised in their home. You ignore shock and surprise and posit that he should have been a cold blooded stabbing machine, contemplating each stab before proceeding to the next one. You ignore all historical evidence of all such encounters, and probably your own personal history. Have you never been flustered by a surprise birthday party? Never had a small fender bender where you sat like an idiot before you got out of the car and said something stupid? Never had anyone say something so bizarre that you just stood there, mouth agape, while the rest of the world went by in circles around your confusion?

    I have. I can’t imagine what I would do if I were surprised by an intruder and the only weapon at hand were a knife. I can easily imagine I might do what this guy did, stab until I were worn out. I can easily imagine any number of reactions. The one thing I cannot imagine is being such aa perfect cold blooded stabbing machine that I could make each stab perfectly and observe it afterwards to calculate its affect and whether a followup stab were necessary.

    There’s another fact. 39 stabs — means to me that none of them were particularly successful. Means he was not stabbing in the right places, not deep, not twisting the blade, nothing. He was not that cold blooded calculating stabbing machine.

    You who think he got away with murder are out of touch with both reality and common sense. I wonder how perfectly you control your own lives that you don’t even remember the times when you were flustered and not cold bloodedly calm and collected.

    Not one comment said he should have “counted stabs and contemplated each one”. It has been quite clear that the concept is, defend yourself against a real threat until the threat has stopped. You say “None of you say squat about the intruder’s responsibility” — yet many of the comments have discussed this. So I’m unclear why you would think that the thoughtful people who have left comments here are somehow “out of touch with both reality and common sense.” -rc

  43. In the workplace, there is a leadership flaw called Micro-Management, where you are not only told what to do, but exactly, in excruciating detail, how to do it. In hindsight, juries attempt to do the same thing.

    In states without a Castle Doctrine, you do NOT have the right to use deadly force when someone breaks into your home. It’s considered murder, and you’ll need to prove mitigating circumstances that you had no other choice to keep your own life. And even then, you may STILL be convicted.

    But in states WITH a Castle Doctrine, the presumption is that someone in your home without permission is that he does intend to do you harm, and deadly force becomes a right. Not a partial right. Not a right up to a certain point, and then no longer a right. Defense with a gun, death can be instant. With a knife, it can take longer. With fists, it can take a long time. Nothing in the law puts a time limit on the right. Either it’s a right, or it’s not.

    I don’t know the law in any of the Canadian provinces, but apparently the law made no distinction about the defendant’s mindset in considering whether he had the right to use deadly force. Mindset determines intent, but in this case, intent was previously established by the intruder.

    And let’s not confuse home intrusion with property trespass outside the home, as a couple of people mentioned. Trespass is a simple misdemeanor, and someone simply being on your lawn is not justifiable reason to kill him.

  44. All the Rambos salivating at the thought of killing a burglar should look into the facts of this particular case. Google “Edmonton Journal Eugene Michael Falle” and educate yourself.

    According to the perp’s own testimony, the victim tried to flee but the perp had the door locked. As bystanders watched, the perp kept hacking away, frustrated that the guy wouldn’t bleed like they do on TV.

    The perp testified that he didn’t want to let the victim flee because his friends in the hallway might then attack. Besides, they’d fought before, and this time the perp had the advantage.

    My friends, this was not a rational homeowner blogging away in comfort when jumped by a burglar; it was fight among a bunch of drug addicts. While I have compassion for their sorry state in life, I really don’t think we should encourage them to solve their disputes by hacking at each other, hanging the corpse halfway out the window, and demanding a pizza.

    If you want to feel sympathy for the perp, you’d want to park him in some sort of institution where he could get treatment for his various disorders, or at least protection from the “Hells Angels snipers” that he’d worried about. Instead, he’s out on the street and let’s hope you don’t meet him when he’s feeling threatened.

  45. Seems overboard when a felon is begging for his life and helpless to just kill him. That said, we civilians do not have the training or temperment to exercise the restraint necessary to stop defending our lives and property. In the heat of battle most people can’t put on the brakes and just stop.

  46. For many here, the law needs to be defined, though it varies from State to State and country to country, in Canada our laws are similar to those sotb (south of the border).

    How this guy got away with ‘murder’ is likely in the details of the trial and a lot that was never reported. In Canada, unlike the U.S., the jury members cannot talk about any conversation or how a decision was reached in the jury room, during or after the trial: To do so is a criminal offence.
    (A small note: Since Edmonton, Alberta, is in ‘oil country’ and like its sister city Calgary to the south, populated by ‘lost Texans’, there may have been some ‘cross-border shopping’ on that jury.)

    -First degree murder: premeditated intent
    -Second degree murder: with malice but without premeditation
    -Manslaughter: killing without intent
    -Felony murder: a killing happening during the course of a felony – robbery, rape, kidnapping, etc.

    One might conclude this was a twisted case of felony murder, but actually it fits the second degree murder charge to a ‘t’. Sorry Jon, Ohio.

    And James in Canada just goes to show we have a few ‘loose noodles’ here too, unless he’s one of those ‘lost Texans’.

    Greg in Milwaulkie wants to defend his property (not the grass, I hope) without limitations on his ability to do so. Maybe you should just get a used tank and set it on the front lawn, Greg. That should do the trick.

    Nick in Tri-Cities: some ‘intruders’ have friends so your case might not be as ‘clear-cut’ – pardon the pun – as you think.

    As for Brett, in Texas: aside from my ‘small note’ we all know Texans are a little over the top with their ‘gunnery’, ‘mission accomplished’ and all. Actually, it sounds like they’re still in ‘Alamo mode’. Highest rate of death sentences anywhere in the civil(?) world (unless some place in ‘Eye-rack’ has recently topped the list). Gee, you guys in Texas must be proud.

  47. Had the intruder not invaded that fellow’s home, he would likely still be alive. I say “likely” because he may have invaded somewhere else and been gunned down instead of stabbed. He may also have killed somebody there as well.

    That is the problem with conjecture: there’s no end to it.

    I have a large problem with anyone that continues to stab a person who is begging for mercy. On the other hand, I have a larger problem with people who break in to other peoples home. Especially in this day and age.

    As the homeowners response to this burglar shows, you cannot be certain of how anyone is going to behave in a high stress situation. Which is what that unfortunate burglar discovered at the end of his life.

    If someone is willing to invade my house, I will presume that their motives are less than wholesome. Though that may not give me the right to cap them right off, the invader will not get a Miranda from me. He will get exactly one “GET OUT OF HERE” (if circumstances permit) from me. That is more than fair.

    He knows he is in my house illegally, and that I am aware of his presence. If that is not enough to compel them to depart, then I must presume their motives are to harm me and mine. They die at that point. Period.

  48. Well, Gee Whiz, Randy…

    Again you made everybody think, and raised some controversy. You’re good at that, making people think and comment. You work hard at it. I think the controversy part is mostly a side effect, not on purpose.

    Well, having read all the comments before mine, all I can interject is:

    1) Looks like both the stabber and the dead guy had mental problems… But now-a-days, don’t we all have a few issues?

    2) While I feel sorry for a “sick” man who dies, apparently these two had prior interactions, and well, this time they both went too far. But the home invader went too far FIRST. Poor fellow. Well, his troubles are over, at least. The stabber is not out of the woods yet, he apparently will face various troubles and the “waking up screaming nightmares” that result from this sort of life event, for some time to come…

    3) I hope nobody ever has to deal with such a problem. Namely that if being either an invader, or being invaded. Yes, I know, this is a pipe dream.

    Anyhow. Keep on trucking Randy. Your opportunity to give people an outlet on various issues is a genuine public service. Who knows, you may have saved us from reading about a few more home invasions and resultant stabbings.

  49. You have forgotten, perhaps conveniently, one important fact regarding the opinion of a jury versus public opinion, a jury, especially the OJ jury, is selected by professionals who study how to eliminate jurors who might be biased against the defendant.

    Pubic opinion is not so selective and if the poll is large enough, more than a few hundred, it is certainly a better indication of how the public feels about an issue and certainly how they feel about protecting their family and home. Based on some jury decisions recently I would not wish to put the protection of my home and family to a jury with the current selection process.

    You didn’t specify which “you” you were referring to, but yes, I’m well aware that professionals choose the jury. But you’re only telling half of it: both sides have a hand in the process. -rc

  50. In Britain we have a legal concept of “reasonable force”. Anyone exceeding it may face a criminal charge.

    Falle obviously exceeded it, and considering his confession, should have been found guilty of the murder. Self defence stopped soon after he started stabbing.

  51. The following quote should have been enough to show it as murder and not self defense:

    “He wouldn’t bleed properly the way he should’ve bled, according to the movies.”

    It sounds like the guy has watched too many episodes of CSI. 🙂

  52. I am inclined to give the resident the benefit of the doubt in cases like this. My feeling is that when someone enters your premises without permission, they suspend any and all rights and you have every right to attack and kill that person.

    Two points. One is, you cannot know what that person is doing there and anything they say is not to be trusted. If they illegally enter your home, you have to assume that they are there for illegal purposes and that their intentions are to do harm to you and your family. You therefore have a duty to do anything in your power to stop them.

    The second point is, if you repel the intruder or do them any harm at all, there is a reasonable expectation that they will return for reason’s of revenge. So if you fail to kill the intruder, you may have increased your future risk that they may return with their friends to “get even.”

  53. It seems to me that in most countries’ courts, legislators have left holes that were supposed to provide provision for compassionate interpretation when a crime is committed, just as many judges (excepting those working in mandatory sentencing regimes) have some leeway in sentencing. But why even bother legislating the crime of murder if you’re going to leave room for a truck to drive through? This guy just went way too far, and if the crime against him and his property mitigates his response, he committed murder. Mitigation in sentencing would still have some claims to be a justice system.

    This trial reminds me of a policeman in Australia who used his police handgun to shoot dead a molester who’d (probably) interfered with his nieces, and was acquitted of the murder, although he explained very clearly how he’d premeditated the crime, illegally obtained the man’s location, and then shot the man (Link). The man had been arrested and charged with the molestation, but the charge was never tested because of his death. The jury was obviously violently opposed to paedophilia, but we’re relying on the defendant’s claim that the victim was a paedophile. The case shows clearly the difference between a legal system and a justice system. Why bother legislating at all? Just give everyone a gun and let natural justice take it’s course, just as it does in the wild.

  54. Just reread some of the other comments, including that of Lynn, in Australia, as I am. Lynn, you’re right, it was a brutal homicide, but as you can see from the Said Morgan case that I referred to, there’s no moral high ground or superior justice system here in Australia, either. We can see that the juries in both cases have decided that the inconvenient part of law that declares the confessed killing illegal can be discarded in accordance with the prejudices of the jury. That’s a functional fault with the legal system. I know that in some cases here the judge can set aside the jury’s verdict if it violates some other obscure legal wrinkle, but as to what circumstances would lead to that invocation, I’ve no idea.

  55. I’d like to pose a simple question for those of you who think this was murder: imagine yourself surprised by an intruder and freaked out enough to pick up a knife and start stabbing in fear for your life. Do you really think you would have the presence of mind to pause between stabs and calculate, in cold logic, whether you had done enough damage?

    None of those (including myself) who think this was justified self-defense extend this to any kind of vigilante hunt and kill or to any circumstance other than a breakin of our homes. But all of you who think this was murder close your eyes to the distinction and insist that every death is murder, without regard to who attacked whom.

    I’d really like an answer from someone who thinks this was murder. Do you really think that you yourself, if surprised by an intruder and in fear of your life, could calmly count each stab and consider its effect before going on to the next stab?

  56. My problem is with the cases that allow a burglar that injures himself while breaking into your home to successfully sue you for damages and medical expenses. Or, cases like the lady that bought a cup of hot coffee at a fast-food drive-thru, put it between her legs while driving and after it spills and burns her, sues the fast-food company for $4.5 million in damages.

    Sure, I think there should be a limit to the response one gives a transgressor for his sins (i.e.-shooting a teenager for cutting across the grass at the corner of your yard is a little over-the-top), but law-breakers should be held accountable for their actions and idiots should reap what they sow without penalizing those innocents peripherally affected by their doings.

  57. Sorry everyone. I’m afraid I have to agree with Randy: use only the force needed to remove the threat.

    As with the police if they “get caught up in” the shooting of someone and use to much fire power, everyone starts yelling that the police force are “killers” and “mad dogs”.

    Yes everyone is human but it can’t be discarded: Falle stated that the guy he was stabbing was “not bleeding like on TV” and the thief was stabbed 39 times! Get real–have any of you repeatedly stabbed something 39 times? It isn’t quickly done and yes your arm gets tired–even with the adrenalin rush. Aiming for the jugular intentionally seems to bring it a little above the “using enough force to repel attacker” reference.

    So, think about it, really. If that was your relative being stabbed y’all would have a flying fit. Admit it!!!

    I’m happy to say I don’t have any relatives stupid enough to break into someone’s house for the purpose of robbing or hurting someone. And I’m forever thankful for that fact. -rc

  58. Felix – my answer to your question is that your hypothetical does not represent the facts of the case.

    Like I said above, go read about the case; google “edmonton journal” (the local paper that printed about the trial testimony) and the perpetrator’s name.

    This was a knife fight, between junkies, with bystanders looking on, in which the victim tried to flee and the perpetrator testified that he made the decision to kill the victim because the perp was afraid of the victim’s friends on the other side of the locked door.

    Your hypothetical is interesting but not relevant.

  59. Felix: You seem to have forgotten a few lines in the story. Not one reply I have read here is suggesting a “stab and assess” scenario, though even after a few ‘stabbin’s’, even a harried person might contemplate the bloody deed.

    As others have rightly pointed out, he knew what he was doing. There seemed to be little or no fear of his own life, though he does suggest it to begin with.

    But just contemplate the words… “I told him just hurry up and die already…” also “stabbin’ him and stabbin’ him, trying to slash his throat, get a jugular vein,” and “He wouldn’t bleed properly the way he should’ve bled, according to the movies.” And on top of that, he told the police that “Chalifoux was begging for his life”.

    Are you trying to tell us here that he didn’t know what he was doing? Are you suggesting he was out of his mind, in some sort of ‘excited delirium’, as the taser-twits call it after shocking a guy repeatedly and wondering why he died? (Vanc. Airport, 2007) Was he in some state of shock when he was obviously waiting for someone.

    Finally, to drape the body from a window and sit on a ledge close-by as if showing off his trophy, well, you might get the image of a satisfied defender, but I think most would think otherwise. More like that of a self-congratulatory killer.

    SECOND degree murder was the appropriate charge. Unfortunately, some others see differently. Maybe, just maybe, there is evidence that would sway our opine the same way and we wont know it unless access to the court records is available.

    Take a peek – [link removed: no longer online]

  60. “Well I agree with the jury. As soon as he broke into the home, I believe, the Shane C. gave up his rights: including the right to live. Now many will disagree with me, thinking that some sort of ‘limited response’ should be the standard. :shrug: I believe that we as a society have gotten too easy on criminals, too easy on _demanding_ personal (and societal) accountability.

    Next, we will be fining drug dealers as ‘illegal pharmacy distributors’ or some-such BS. You break into a home (defined as a home invasion) you lose the right to be treated as a human being and are nothing more than a rabid animal to be put down. :flame suit on:”

    Well, you see Greg, there’s these things called “the Constitution” and “due process”. Not to mention less technical concepts like “the punishment fitting the crime”. We’ll see how your theory holds up when your sons friends talk him into shoplifting something and the shop owner puts a bullet in his head over it.

  61. Yes, I do think he was nuts, whether before or after the killing is immaterial. I know nothing of how nuts he was before the killing, but pretty much by everyone’s definition, hanging a body out the window is proof of being nuts after. Are you saying that anyone so deranged is capable of knowing when to stop?

    As for those details, read them for yourselves. The intruder was one of three who tried to break in. No doubt while he was stabbing the intruder, the other two were banging away on the door and screaming what they would do once they got in which must have fed his stabbing frenzy and delayed any return to the state of mind which could stop stabbing. I can think of any number of reasons for the homeowner to sit outside on the ledge — it might be something he did commonly anyway, as it appears to be a nice sunny spot. Maybe he didn’t want to be inside with the body. Maybe he wanted a smoke and always did it on the ledge so he didn’t stink up his home. Maybe he was still afraid of the other two guys outside.

    The bottom line is: three guys tried to break in to someone’s home, one did and died, and he began the chain of events leading to his death, and while I do feel sorry for him being a loser in life who resorted to breaking in, I don’t feel sorry for him being dead. He made the decision to break in, not the homeowner.

    Most of these postings have nothing to do with the specific details, which weren’t even posted in the beginning. Most relate to the general idea of when homeowners should stop defending themselves. That’s certainly what I have been responding to, and if you look at the number of comments which show every sign of the poster not having read many comments, it is what they are responding to also.

  62. Felix, if you were asking me about his state of mind, I made no assumption one way or the other. It was you that suggested such by inferring the 39 stabs were to be expected from this ‘defender’ of his rooming house apartment.

    There was nothing in the new report about two other intruders waiting in the hall, that was a supposition/halucination by the owner/renter/stabber. What was said was three persons had tried to get in ‘that night’.

    As for “when homeowners should stop defending themselves”

    – how about when the invader is sufficiently incapacitated
    – how about when he/she pleads for their life?

    You want suppositions: How about the intruder paying a return visit to the homeowner who might have invaded his pad? By the sounds of the place, they were both pretty desperate down and outs. But they still had a life to live.

    Hmmm… I wonder if I could drag someone in off the street and do the deed claiming he broke into my pad…?

    Murder, 2nd degree – from the evidence(?) presented. Guilty!

  63. Quoth ken Delta: There was nothing in the new report about two other intruders waiting in the hall, that was a supposition/halucination by the owner/renter/stabber. What was said was three persons had tried to get in ‘that night’.

    Quoth the news article: The jury heard Chalifoux was one of three gangsters who tried to break into Falle’s apartment that night, but was the only one to succeed.

    I don’t know what information you have access to, but it wasn’t the one I saw.

    Quoth ken Delta: Felix, if you were asking me about his state of mind, I made no assumption one way or the other. It was you that suggested such by inferring the 39 stabs were to be expected from this ‘defender’ of his rooming house apartment.

    Of *course* I made the assumption. That is my entire point, which you refuse to answer. My point is that having three people try to break in, one succeed, and stabbing him, is positively going to put someone in an unexpected frame of mind. Please answer: if he were not in a confused and desperate frame of mind, how can you expect him to know when to stop stabbing? Don’t just wave your hands and say he should have known, or any rational human being should have known, please state in detail how he would have been calm and cold blooded enough to know when to stop?

    You can make silly assumptions about about a return visit, but I can make sillier assumptions about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny being the two compadres who didn’t get in. The newspaper article says three tried to get in, one did. Where you got any other info, I don’t know, and I frankly don’t care, since it still boils down to one fact: The dead man broke in and the homwowner freaked out and killed him. My suggestion that the other two may have been beating on the door is just a guess, but at least it holds with the newspaper article. Yours doesn’t. Furthermore, if one were trying to guess what unknown evidence the jury heard to return a verdict of not guilty, my suggestions fit, yours doesn’t.

    Unless you were on the jury, any additional news source you trot out is still less than what the jury heard and still leaves enough assumptions for anybody.

  64. Well, I guess I gotta kick this cat…


    Dutch Flat Felix?

    Foresoothe, my dear Felix, ‘you never answered’ – I never answered. Let’s stop the ten-pin ball rolling and head for the lists! (smile)

    I thought I’d made it clear but will give it one last go on the presumption I was lax at some point, as my wife has been wont to suggest.

    We both agree, there were three
    At what we don’t, is what we see
    You see the ‘three’ as ‘one’
    I see the ‘three’ as ‘three’

    The paper said, and I quote: “The jury heard Chalifoux was one of three gangsters who tried to break into Falle’s apartment that night, but was the only one to succeed.”

    If this is the same statement/news release you read, it is definitely UNCLEAR as to whether there were three at once or it was three ‘different occasions’ where someone tried to get in.

    So – you are obviously supposing the three came at the same time and by some mysterious plan, only one got in. An interesting thought comes to mind: Did Falle have a pay-as-you-go turnstyle on the door thus allowing only one at a time? ‘Step right up! Come in and get a stabbin’!’

    I really can’t conceive of how three ruffians knock at your door and, if the intention is to invade your premises, how only one of the three would gain entry. Hmmm… perty perplexing…

    I’m taking in the more likely possibility that the three came at separate times. Shades of a rough neighbourhood and the character of the surviving individual portrayed, maybe?

    I don’t know why you are quoting me regarding the 39 stabs. YOU wrote: “And I don’t see 39 as taking all that long if he were just flailing away, certainly something he could do in the shock of being surprised.”

    I see you mentioned, and I quote you – “…who knows what his mental state was — if he were scared and surprised and started stabbing out of pure fear, how could he possibly revert to cold blooded sanity in seconds?”

    This definitely sounds like you are giving him the benefit of a harried ‘state of mind’ to me. PLUS, you were putting accomplices at the door (to spur hime on?) when there is no mention in the Edmonton newspaper about such. Your imagination is getting away from you. You did see my ‘link’, did you not?

    My ‘silly’ comment was hypothetical, sure, but it could actually fit if we were to consider the neighbourhood, which came across as kind of ‘iffy’ at best.

    Ignore it if you must but it is no less fanciful than two imaginary accomplices pounding on the door.
    As for the jury decision, sure, your decision may fit anyway you see the picture. Are we keeping score here? Are you ‘winning’?

    I am more likely to expect there was something else the jury based their decision on, not just what we read in the paper or they just came to a dumb decision, one not based in law as does happen at times.

    If the paper was all that was heard, which I doubt, then it truly is SECOND DEGREE MURDER, nothing less.

    Let somebody else be the judge of this mangy cat. I’m Flat out of Dutch…

    “Quoth me!”

  65. Felix: My apologies. I just realized, with your short note, I’d unerringly equated your name with a cartoon character: Nothing of the sort was intended, believe me. May I put it down to the fog we’re currently living in up here – it’s continuous and obviously contageous, at least as far as the mind goes. Again, my apologies.

    Any other reference with Flat and Dutch surely must have come up before now, even around your kitchen table? If not, I’m mystified as to how you view Randy’s humourous remarks that seemed to add fuel to the fire on this item.

    Sorry my comments put you off but I was sure I had made several points on this issue that either had or hadn’t been addressed in this forum.

    Hope the home invasions are not too aggressive in Sunny California.

    ‘Not much of a cartoon reader’


  66. Hi Randy:

    Your last statement re: “the Court of Public Opinion” raises an interesting dichotomy between the Justice Systems in our Canada of America and the United States of America.

    In Canada, we do not elect members to the bench nor do we elect sheriffs.

    It’s that old Parliamentary rhubarb; we gotta do it differently. But then, the Parliamentary System is older than the ‘opposition’, er republican, isn’t it.

    I’m not sure where the idea that the ‘educated’ upper crust thought they ‘know what’s good for the plebe’s’ and therefore kept some positions aloof from the ‘voting for everyone’ idea as if that were a ‘proof’ of ‘democracy’. Just think having a majority of people of the calibre, now maybe that’s not fair, of the Edmonton jury voting for Judges; who knows who or what they’d elect?

    Is electing a Judge supposed to prove the justice will be that of the ‘majority’ instead of law? Where does the average Joe learn about the qualifications, experience, etc., of Judges that sit in his everyday or Superior courts before he makes his vote? How much depends on the individual’s ‘charisma’ or ‘charm’ while ignoring ‘experience’ or ‘knowledge’, both items which some people might consider elitist and ‘not one of us’.

    I must Google this subject. I once did consider law. Darn. Wouldn’t be appraising my meagre pension in this trying time.

    In Canada: Judges are appointed, usually from a listing presented by the various Provincial Legal Associations or Agencies but not necessarily. They can be a Political appointment though those rarely cause any problem at election time. Our Prime Minister appoints Judges to the Supreme Court of Canada, usually deferring to a ‘balance’ of appointments across the country. Though there, again, it is a process that puts preferred names forward usually based on years of experience and possibly a preferred requirement of the Court itself; say a learned judge with expertise in Family Law.

    I understand your Supreme Court is similarly appointed, though with approval by the Senate. The latter is a use of the Senate we could adopt quite easily in Canada, but Prime Minister’s being what they are, they are reluctant to giving up plum appointments to the selection processes of another body. What a beast!

    A Sheriff here is quite different from those in the U.S. Here the sheriff is responsible for Court Administration and trial preparation, the selection of jury panels and the serving of legal documents, etc: Quite different from down south. Canna imagine voting for someone to fill that position; better left to the courts who know the requirements of the job, usually police and legally trained personel as I understand it.

    But you can bet, many in this country figure our systems are the same: Far from it and much to their dismay should they reach our courts with ‘Judge Judy’ in tow.

    I find pulp-fiction publicity through tabloid-style ‘news’papers to be the worst kind of judicial information and your story may be an example of just that hurry-up reportage that raises the ire of the populace for little or no reason. Wouldn’t want my job depending on that tripe. Elected? No thanks.

    Actually, our sheriffs have the same functions here (though they’re only involved with jury selection when ordered by the judge to go out and round up some jurors right now), and they have the responsibility for patrol and law enforcement in the portions of the county that are not municipalities with their own police departments. -rc

  67. You sure have stirred the pot this time, Randy!

    Though I’m not an attorney, I did work awhile as a police officer in a small, rural town and a much longer while as a security patrol officer in a fairly large city (about a million people), so I picked up more than usual in training and on the streets.

    I don’t know Canadian law at all, but in the case of the U.S. — in all jurisdictions, to the best of my knowledge — there’s a legal principle that even some in law enforcement have trouble grasping: juries don’t find people innocent. Nor do they find them truly not guilty. What they find is that the prosecution hasn’t made the case.

    Assuming Canadian law takes the same basic approach, and based on the sketchy details available, it appears the jury in this case had little choice.

    As for the “Castle Doctrine,” we’re allowed (in Texas, at least in my day) *reasonable* force, though just what that is gets to be a hotly debated issue.

    I’ve been a victim once, during a thwarted robbery attempt in my apartment. A guy came in from the balcony through my [stupidly] open sliding door and grabbed be around the neck, holding a knife at my throat. I plain froze. But one of my guests threw a steaming cup of hot tea into his eyes, and he ran away. (He did manage to barely nick my shoulder as he flailed around to rush out.) Sure, we tried to catch him, but it never occurred to me to try to harm or kill him once he fled. I’m not claiming any sort of holier-than-thou status, just that that’s not the way I’m built, whether for better or for worse.

    I never had to fire my gun in the ten years I carried one — and I’m glad things never came to that. I *nearly* did once, on a call that came out as a rape-in-progress, but, thankfully, my partner stopped me. It turned out to be an attempted rape, but even if the would-be rapist had been successful, it wasn’t my job nor my right to kill the guy; had I done so, I would have expected to be arrested and charged under on of Texas various murder/manslaughter statutes.

    Not that I had any sympathy for the guy, who did end up being arrested and charged with a sexual assault charge, and he got convicted.

    All these years later, though, it still bothers me once in awhile that I was so ready to flat-out blow the guy’s brains out — and it still relieves me my partner stopped me.

    Getting back to the case in Canada, I’m not going to second-guess the jury or the judge, because it’s pretty clear we’re all somewhat in the dark. Heck, maybe it was a *directed* verdict, if Canada’s judges have that option.

    To those who disagree with me, that is your right, of course. But please think about this when you’re condemning our police: my oaths included “to protect and serve” — and did not include “except someone I think is a bad guy.” I took those oaths completely seriously, as do most law enforcement officers, which I imagine you, Randy, as well as some of the contributors here who have served in such positions will confirm. It’s often a difficult thing to keep in mind, but it’s necessary.

    I’m also not a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, but it sure seems the guy is deeply disturbed.

  68. I agree with the others who have said criminals forfeit their rights when they undertake activities to harm others.

    Mekhong Kurt wrote: …I never had to fire my gun in the ten years I carried one […] I *nearly* did once, on a call that came out as a rape-in-progress, but, thankfully, my partner stopped me. It turned out to be an attempted rape, but even if the would-be rapist had been successful, it wasn’t my job nor my right to kill the guy; had I done so, I would have expected to be arrested and charged under on of Texas various murder/manslaughter statutes… All these years later, though, it still bothers me once in awhile that I was so ready to flat-out blow the guy’s brains out — and it still relieves me my partner stopped me.

    I realize it’s a matter of you having to live with yourself, with not wanting to be punished by others judging your actions as excessive and thus possibly removing you from your family/friends, but if I was that girl & you blew that scumbucket’s brains out, I would’ve been sincerely grateful for making sure that man didn’t try to come back to harm me, my family, my friends &/or anyone else. I would’ve railed against anyone who tried to insinuate you applied excessive force. IMHO anyone who would defend the rapist’s rights has never dealt personally with sexual abuse nor dealt with a loved one trying to cope with the tragedy.

  69. Those last words by Danielle rekindled thoughts I’ve had when reading the comments on this forum. Why is so much of the U.S. citizenry ready to use a gun to blow someone away? You’ll notice that even that term came from the movies? Do people indulge in B-grade movies to the extent that killing has become an item on their ‘to do’ list? The temper of some comments is chilling! An angry vengeance seems endemic. It scares the bloody bejesus out of me.

    My wife has a cousin who’s family reside just south of the U.S./Canada border. Her daughter married a reasonably nice fellow by all expectations but one: he’s a gun-toting character who rails at some minor idiocy so vehemently that I wonder for the family’s safety. Sadly, I don’t think it would take much to set that keg of dynamite off.

    I know there is much thought about the latest interpretation of the second amendment by your supreme court, that supposed ‘right to bare (sic) arms’. I used to chide the cousin’s hubby when the subject came up. ‘Just roll up your sleeves’, I’d say. He knew where I was coming from when that old Heston-hissing started at their family gatherings. I walk away from that table.

    To me, it sounds like there’s great satisfaction to be had by some responders here, that of blowing someone away. That old Dirty Harry ‘make my day’ drivel run amuck.

    We need to recapture civility in a society before it crumbles under the weight of stupidity. With luck, your new president will be the one to show you the way.

    I should talk. Some idiot shot someone on the Toronto Subway this morning. Those guns are coming across the border so fast it’s giving us untold headaches. Even grandmothers have been caught attempting to smuggle them in, if you believe that.

    We all got work to do here. Bare Arms time it is! Roll up those sleeves.

    And keep these kind of items on your board, Randy. You just may save someone’s life from the actions of a fool with a gun.

    You’re confusing talk with action, and scenarios with reality. “IF this happens, this is what [I think!] I would do.” is a far cry from daily mayhem on every block. -rc

  70. ken delta asks: “…Why is so much of the U.S. citizenry ready to use a gun to blow someone away?…”

    I believe part of the problem is that we have, sadly, become a very fear-laden society. Partly, this is because on the TV, violence sells! Many of us learn gory details of violent crimes that take place on the opposite side of our great nation. Yet our brains don’t understand that those crimes are far from us, and don’t represent a real threat. Indeed, at some level, our brains don’t recognize that a lot of fictional violence is no threat. Our brains just understand that several people are slaughtered bloodily near us every night … we see the corpses right there on the TV machine … and our biochemistry adapts to this nasty and brutish world by becoming nasty and brutish itself, unless we work hard to change.

    (The science behind this is well described in the 1st chapter of “The Assault On Reason”; there’s links to the scientific studies if you are an appropriately skeptical person. Or there’s a short description of one study a href=”http://articles.latimes.com/2001/apr/10/local/me-49146?”>here in the LA Times)
    There may be other factors as work (humanity is nothing if not complex) but I hope some of the violence can be cured by teaching ourselves not to fear.

  71. Randy – Actually, I’m more likely confusing the comments of many on this forum with ‘action’ when in reality they might well be disposed to do otherwise considering the ‘commenting few’ are a microcosm of the population. But that ‘talk’ can be infectious.

    When one subjects the final outcome of ‘talk’ “and” action, such as when four Mounted Police Officers died in Mayerthorpe at the hand of a lone gunman who, wounded, kills himself as more police enter the scene, it becomes obvious that ‘talk’ really can inflame an issue.

    The final outcome of this case after nearly four years of undercover work is – the killer had the help of two other men; ‘quite innocent young men’ according to the community. After beers and much talk between the trio, the deed was arranged with the help of the “quite innocent”. They have since plead guilty to manslaughter, which leads me to suspect the evidence was insufficient for a more serious charge of murder.

    In this case, the largest mass killing in RCMP history, talk really did become action. How much this led to two more long-gun related RCMP killings shortly after is unknown.

    I would not suggest the ‘action’ was on every block either here or there, but the ‘thought’ might well be. Relative to other nations, one has to admit the U.S. has one hell of a head start in that ‘shoot-’em-up’ Olympics though our tiny, California-populated country is trying, sadly, to catch up.

    I agree with rewinn of Mercer Island that far-flung tragedies often get misconceived as ‘local’ by the ‘instant news’ networks. This has long been one of my pet peeves. I’ve often said the epidemic of ‘locking up the house’ for a walk around the block came from the news-related fears of the “Mau-Mau”, of a thief/killer breaking in to a home in Timbuktu, or Florida. We now lock up the doors and windows; next, the shutters? To my mind, this scenario led to the logic of a weapon carrying thug. To enter a home, he was never assured of an empty nest. Previously, the thug often beat the hell out of someone who interrupted their enterprise and got clean away.

    Now we get ‘alarm-force’ companies creating that, what you, Randy, call the “mayhem on every block” scenario in their television adverts, further creating the ‘fear-factor’ so prevalent in National politics in both our countries, especially when it comes to ‘terrorism’. ‘Nuff said on that subject.

    I guess all this is supposed to lead to ‘progress’ of some sort. That’ll be the day!

  72. In reading all the comments, I’m surprised at how many people said something to the effect of “kill him *before* he comes back to kill you.” That is *definitely* illegal pretty much everywhere in the US — there is no law supporting “pre-emptive self defense.”

    In terms of self defense, the criminal statutes that I’ve read (and I used to work for a guy who wrote and published criminal law textbooks) are all pretty clear that there has to be an imminent threat of harm (to oneself or another, as perceived by a reasonable person), that the force used must be reasonable, and that once the imminent threat of harm has passed (i.e., when the criminal has fled or been disabled) any further action by the victim against the criminal makes him (the original victim) the assailant in a new crime and the original criminal the victim. In California this is called the “one step back” rule — once the assailant retreats from the commission of an offense (by fleeing, being incapacitated, etc.), the original offense is over and any further action taken by the victim is a new crime on the victim’s part.

    39 stab wounds, taken in conjunction with the statements made by the accused, surely equates to 2nd degree murder (unpremeditated, but with malice, the legal definition of which is “with intent to do injury”). Self defense should have no taint of malice, otherwise it becomes vengeance (which is not legally defensible).

    If, as a lot of people are saying, the accused had mental problems, they should have entered a plea of “not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.”

  73. Reading Vera’s comments, I was reminded of the incident we had here in Vancouver, Canada two years ago.

    Four policemen cornered a Polish visitor who, unable to converse in either of our national languages was, after 10 hours of hanging around a so-called ‘secure’ area of the airport, a little upset.

    His mother was there to pick him up but after waiting for several hours was advised by administration that her son had not arrived. She was to travel 250 miles to her town and await their notification of his arrival.

    When the son began to get totally frustrated, having nothing to eat or drink for that 10 hours, he got agitated and threw a chair and some other minor items. He didn’t hit anyone, was a danger to no one and still no one came to his aid except a civilian who could not speak his language. His screaming in Polish finally attracted ‘security’. They didn’t want to ‘get involved’ and called in the police.

    When the four police officers arrived upon the scene, within ten seconds (NO exaggeration – verified by tapes of the situation) they had taken out a taser. In Polish, the visitor threw up his hands and suggested “what’s this?” No answer. He backed up against a half-wall and glass partition. He was calm but distressed at the presentation of a ‘weapon’ – one he knew nothing about.

    Tasered once, the immigrant fell to the floor writhing wildly. He was pounced upon by the four policemen and tasered four more times. FIVE in total! He died.

    Question: Are the four policemen culpable? Should they be tried for, at the very least, manslaughter? How many policemen should it take to allow a visitor, distressed by a long wait enclosed in a huge waiting area in the airport of a strange country to present, through one means or another, a reason for his distress without being tasered to death?

    As Canadians, we are extremely distressed by this occurrence and wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. Unfortunately, in this province of BC, we allow the police to investigate the police and make recommendations. This is looked upon by most citizenry as “collusion” and that evidence is mounting.

    But it still begs the question: Were these four officers, seemingly unable to “control” a man who needed NO control by all accounts, except the control freaks of this land, were those policemen as guilty as a homeowner who defends his property using every resource at his command well past vengeance?

    Just a ‘simple’ question, as someone on these pages put another inquiry. Maybe some things are just not so simple?

    I’m unclear how this murder justifies or excuses the murder described on this page. -rc

  74. Sorry Randy but I equated the repeated stabbings of a pleading victim, albeit in a language the attacker could understand, with the repeated taserings of a victim obviously in distress. And by evidence presented at an inquiry by an interpreter, the victim repeatedly asked: Why? Why? Why?

    If it was not right for the ‘stabber’ in your outline, surely it wasn’t right for the four policemen. What induced them to continue shocking someone they could not understand?

    What made this case even less understandable? We had eighteen deaths by tasers in this country at that time and this was top of mind and in the news.

    Sort of has one asking, Why?

  75. It frightens me that many people posting here don’t seem to draw a distinction between “I believe that people guilty of home invasion should have no rights” (an example of free speech) and “I believe that people guilty of home invasion do have no rights” (advocating disregard for the law).

    Incidentally, I used the word “trespassed” in an earlier post. While I admit that I was swayed by stories of people being shot for happening to be on others’ land, I actually meant trespass in the more general sense of wrongdoing. If people claim that committing any particular crime renders one liable to indiscriminate force, it isn’t hard to imagine individuals being framed for whatever that crime might be after they’ve been killed for unrelated reasons….

  76. Neil’s comment may well represent others on this page. I’m not sure I fall into a category of slipping from one to another or have slipped unwarily into an unintended position in an argument.

    I do know that parsing the language, English being so many other languages thrown into the mix, make for an interesting time. Presently my mind is virtually in a fog after listening to hours of cross examination by a Committee lawyer questioning a former Prime Minister of this country, a Ronnie Reagan, Irish eyes are smiling songbird. Boy, can that guy muddy the waters of mystification. Six days on the stand and despite top level inquisitors, he believes he came out on top.

    Probably still unknown to him, he’s next to the only one who thinks he’s ‘walking tall’ when he’s looking into a mirror.

    Still, I like the way Neil parsed his message to the unwary.

  77. I went through several positions as I read this item and its 77 (to date) comments.

    First as I read the original posting I agreed that this was more than self defense.

    Then as some commenters added some additional details (prior contacts with the deceased, potential of gang initiation, 2 additional gang members waiting outside etc) I started to think that maybe this was justifiable.

    Finally, as commenters started to focus on things like this persons’ mental state to say (and repeat) things like “die already” I started to think that while this may, in part, be justifiable, that the mental state being shown was definitely not one of a sane person. If indeed this was a quarrel between two drug users sanity and sobriety become an issue.

    Reasonable force for self defense means that you stop when the invader is no longer a threat. 99 times out of a hundred, that’s when he drops and is no longer able to act offensively.

    I do wonder if this is the 100’th case as there was no mention of what the previous quarrels scope was and what the police and courts had done in those cases. If Falle had seen Chalifoux skate on the prior offenses and thought that letting him live through this one would only see him return even angrier the next time, I can see not stopping until he was dead as being self defense. I am reaching here and do not have the benefit of all the evidence that the jury had.

    Absent the unfortunate comments, I can see in the heat of the fight that deciding when to stop stabbing might be tougher than standing back 10 feet and deciding that since the other guy had hit the floor that additional shots were unnecessary. With the comments, there seemed to be some thought going on and continuing the attack seems excessive. That leads me back to the idea that this guy might fear, based on history, that this would continue if he did not finish it then and there.

    Regardless, the jury has spoken. I just hope that Falle can get some mental help as (IMO) he has demonstrated that he needs it!

  78. Shane went there not to cause harm but to try and help eugene who has had serious mental condition’s, he had the front door barracaded, so shane used the window which eugene opened for him so tell me people how on earth was shane ever an intruder that should have been justifiably killed, never mind the fact that it took several stab wounds I would think after the first stab wound my dear shane would have faught back intensly! He was also trying to get away when he realized that his help could not be applied to that man, but that disgusting piece of scum from the bottom of my shoe took his life as if it were a game. I think everyone of you needs to look at the true facts before you sit there and downgrade an innocent life that was taken because of facts you think you know.-in loving memory of shane william chalifoux a wounder friend, son and brother will be loved and cherished forever 🙁

  79. I was the victim of a home invasion once. It happened at 12:45am on a Sunday, where two thugs literally kicked in the door to the room I was in, pulled another gentleman out of bed, and kept us both on the floor with a gun pointed at us, while the partner ransacked the house for valuables.

    There were times that the guy watching us was distracted for a few (moments? seconds?) and, I admit, I had that annoying voice in my head saying, “you can jump him now, he’s not watching, he might not shoot, you can get him, go get him get him NOW!” Then rational thought kicked in, and I just stayed on the floor.

    If I had had a gun when I first heard them break in, I know that none of that would have happened — there was definite fear for my life and a very real threat. I don’t know if the guns were loaded, I don’t know if they would have shot me, and it really doesn’t matter; as my shooting instructor told me, “It’s better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.”

    Hoping a criminal’s gun isn’t loaded is a pretty vain hope. Ammunition is a lot cheaper than a gun. So I think you made a good decision. -rc

  80. Based solely on the information in the story, I’d agree that his actions went beyond self defense. Given that the jury ruled that it WAS self defense, I suspect that they had information about the totality of the situation that goes well beyond what was included in the story. I suspect that the facts published were deliberately picked out from a larger set of facts to provide a “sensational” aspect to the story that would make it “sell”. I don’t know know all the facts, so I reserve judgement.

  81. As a part time college professor, apart from my day job as a programmer, I HAVE considered this question at length so I would be prepared if a student became violent in some way.

    And yes, I HAVE been stalked by students unsatisfied with their grade, thankfully never to the point where I felt in danger very much, but called Campus Police in all instances to be sure the right message is sent to the stalkers.

    Back to the story at hand, upon first reading, my take was when does “imminent danger” end. That’s a tough question. We all have heard cases of people being killed by someone for whom a restraining order had been obtained. A restraining order doesn’t actually “restrain” anyone, it simply puts them on notice, hopefully to the degree necessary to make them cease and desist.

    Then I started reading the comments and came across the one from someone who lives in the neighborhood and indicated it was a repeated offense by the intruder. As RC correctly pointed out that may even be true, no aspersions being cast here, it is just one persons comment.

    But IF that is true them “imminent danger” takes on a different meaning. IMHO “imminent danger” in that case means “as long as the person in not in jail”. And we also know that Breaking and Entering means the person will not be in jail for very long.

    So if I was on the jury and had all of the above presented to me as factual evidence, I would found for “not guilty” as well.


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