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Joe Horn cleared by grand jury in Pasadena shootings

June 30th, 2008 . by TexasFred

A Harris County grand jury decided today that Joe Horn should not be charged with a crime for shooting two suspected burglars he confronted outside his neighbor’s home in Pasadena last fall.

The decision to clear Horn of wrongdoing came two weeks after the grand jury began considering evidence in the case, including Horn’s testimony last week.

Horn, a 62-year-old retiree, became the focus of an intense public debate after the Nov. 14 shootings. Many supporters praised him as a hero for using deadly force to protect property, while others dismissed him as a killer who should have heeded a 911 operator’s instructions to stay in his house and wait for police.

Horn called authorities after hearing breaking glass and seeing two men climb through a window into his next-door neighbor’s home in the 7400 block of Timberline.

The 911 operator urged Horn to remain inside, but he went outside with his 12-gauge shotgun and came face-to-face with Diego Ortiz, 30, and Hernando Riascos Torres, 38.

Full Story Here:
Joe Horn cleared by grand jury in Pasadena shootings

Make no mistake about it, I am very happy that Mr. Horn is not going to be charged with any crime, but I feel this action sets a new precedent here in Texas, simply because of this one line in the story: Ortiz and Torres died a short distance from Horn’s house, both shot in the back.

OK, I understand these 2 had burglarized a residence, I completely understand that they were bad guys and their leaving this world was no loss to ANY of us, and I am fine with that.

Here’s the part I just don’t understand, I know that if I feel my life is in danger from a person or persons in the commission of a crime, in my home or on my property, the Castle Doctrine reigns supreme, that part I DO understand, but how was Horn’s life threatened?? If BOTH of these burglars were shot in the back, HOW could they have presented ANY kind of life threatening, clear and present danger to Mr. Horn?

I am, and have been, of the opinion that Mr. Horn made a horrific mistake by placing himself in the position he did, he was told, specifically

According to a transcript of Horn’s 911 call, which he made about 2 p.m., the operator repeatedly urged Horn to stay in his house, but Horn said he did not believe it would be right to let the burglars get away.

“Well, here it goes, buddy,” Horn can be heard telling the operator. “You hear the shotgun clicking and I’m going.”

The operator replies: “Don’t go outside.”

That’s one of the things that still bugs me about this whole thing, as I said, I don’t mourn the loss of the 2 burglars, but they were guilty of burglary, not rape or murder, and even if they HAD committed a rape or murder, Horn had no way of knowing that, all he knew for a certain fact was that the 2 had made entry into his neighbors dwelling, thus, he assumed it was a burglary in progress.

I guess what this ruling has done is set the stage for Texas home owners to become judge, jury and executioner, it’s going to be very interesting to see how the next case turns out, in somewhere other than Harris county.

Why hell, if WE can kill em ourselves, why bother with calling the police? Look at the money we could save if all the cops had to do was come clean up the mess, there’s very little expense incurred to remove dead bodies, just call the *meat wagon* and they’ll send out 2 attendants, scoop up the garbage in a body bag and tote it off for you, and there’s no court costs.

Ya know, all things considered, if the interpretation is applied correctly, this could turn into a good thing after all.

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23 Responses to “Joe Horn cleared by grand jury in Pasadena shootings”

  1. comment number 1 by: Phred

    I dunno Fred, I fear this sort of thing might give the ” gun grabbers ” fuel for the fire. But, oh well - 2 less dirtbags on the street.
    Bartender, bring me a Coors Light….

  2. comment number 2 by: TexasFred

    Phred, it’s gonna give the activists all the reason they need, thank God Horn used a shotgun and not a really nice pistol or a Mini-14, then the Gun Grabbers would have a field day…

    Look, legally, I think the guy was dead wrong, the burglars were shot in the back, and that fact alone throws up all kinds of *warning* hackles for me…

    Then there’s that little part where Horn TOLD the Pasadena 9-1-1 operator that he was going out there and he was going to kill em, that in and of itself amazes me, that is an open statement of an intent to commit murder, premeditated murder, because Horn sure had time to think about it…

    And the fact that he DID go outside, and as heard on the tape, DID confront the 2 guys and shouted, “Move and you’re dead!”…

    3 seconds later, they were shot in the back…

    Burglary is a serious crime but here’s the deal, even a commissioned Law Enforcement Officer will NOT shoot a burglar in the back, the shooting in the back is a specific indication that they were fleeing the scene and presented NO immediate danger to Horn…

    I guess it’s things like this that keep me off Jury Duty, I have a strange sense of right and wrong, Horn knew NOTHING for a fact, other than the FACT that he saw the 2 go into and egress from the neighbors home, the Castle Doctrine, in MY opinion, is pretty damned specific in its description of what does and does NOT constitute a legitimate threat to ones safety, and for the life of me, I can’t see what the Grand Jury saw, not from the information available thru the news services…

  3. comment number 3 by: jo

    What ? The rights of a law abiding citizen usurped the rights of a couple of criminals ?
    What’s this world coming to when we no longer have to kiss the asses of the low life’s ?

  4. comment number 4 by: TexasFred

    Ya just don’t get it do you Jo??

  5. comment number 5 by: jo

    I was being sarcastic so apparently not.

  6. comment number 6 by: Mark Krauss

    Speaking for myself, I have no problem with his intent to defend his neighbors property. but you are right, burglary is not a capitol offense. I could not in good conscience shoot anybody unless some innocents, or my life was in immediate danger. I remember hearing this 911 tape on some radio show a few months ago. this grand jury blew it. not that I am cryin much over the two lowlifes, but life is precious nonetheless. defend yourself and your family, even neighbors, you community? hell yeah! shoot fleeing burglars in the back? hell no.

  7. comment number 7 by: Mark Krauss

    we hate it when liberals use the courts to push their agenda, we should hate it when ever anybody uses the court to this end. court should be about establishing facts and weighing those facts against the law and applying the law. while I understand many peoples frustration with our dysfunctional criminal justice system, we should not be executing burglars in the street.

  8. comment number 8 by: TexasFred

    Mark, exactly right on both comments…

  9. comment number 9 by: Robert

    I thought when this incident happened that Horn acted against the law and was going to be charged with Murder… I LOVE TEXAS!

    The only issue I have with the whole thing is Phred saying he wanted a coors light. sigh.

  10. comment number 10 by: BobF

    Let’s say I visit a relative who lives in Texas and they’re not home but left me a key to gain access to their home. Suppose a neighbor, who doesn’t know me, watches me enter the house and thinks I’m burglarizing the place. Say I then take a couple things from the house, which my relative tells me to take, and leave. Will the neighbor, who thinks I’m burglarizing the house, shoot me in the back as I’m walking away? Didn’t a Grand Jury give the go-ahead for him to shoot me?

    I’m glad two less dirt-bags are walking the streets of Texas but I don’t condone the way Mr. Horn went about killing these dirt-bags. Neither him or his property was ever in danger…their was no threat to him.

  11. comment number 11 by: TexasFred

    BobF, exactly right, this is, and will be, a far reaching decision by the Harris County Grand Jury, and I feel a very slimy can of worms has been opened..

  12. comment number 12 by: Pandora39

    I have several questions. First were these two men illegals. If they were it still doesn’t justify shoting them in the back while they were trying to run away but it might explain the Grand Jury’s decision. The anger level is getting this high over our wide open border with Mexico.

    Second could they speak and understand English? If they couldn’t shouting at them, “move and you’ll die” wouldn’t do much good. Moral; learn the language before you become a criminal.

    Third: How many times has this neighborhood been robbed in the recent months.

    You’re right Fred, a slimy can of worms.

  13. comment number 13 by: Top Gun

    In Texas, the written “LAW�? gives a person the “right�? to use deadly force to stop a felon.

  14. comment number 14 by: TexasFred

    Top Gun, some chapter and verse citation would go a long ways towards that statement…

    Like maybe Texas Penal Codes??

    I know the codes but I’m not looking em up and posting them for you, I also know the SCOTUS ruling on the Fleeing felon rule but citation is on you…

    Chapter AND Verse…

    And be aware, even a commissioned officer CAN’T shoot a fleeing felon unless said felon has just committed a CAPITOL offense and said officer fears that the fleeing felon presents a clear and present danger to him or to those in the immediate proximity, the key words here are FLEEING and imminent danger, and Horn shot these guys in the back…

  15. comment number 15 by: Basti

    Fred you know I disagree with you. The law doesn’t work any more or maybe it never did. Citizens are going to have to become the law. If he had waited for the cops these guys would have either been long gone or arrested and out on bail before the next day and be at it again. The way it is these perps won’t even do it again.

    In addition if memory serves the perps were illegal aliens (Correct me if I’m wrong) and as far as I’m concerned illegals should be shot on sight, in the back or otherwise.

  16. comment number 16 by: TexasFred

    Basti, obviously, you have formed an opinion and haven’t read the story…

    A Pasadena cop, a plain clothes officer WITNESSED it ALL, he was already parked in front of Horns home…

    And yeah, we DO disagree on this, no one has a right to commit MURDER, not for a goddamned burglary offense, not one that didn’t take place in your home, self defense is one thing, a threat on your life or that of others is a legitimate reason to shoot, but BURGLARY is NOT a CAPITOL offense…

    Bill, what part of this are you just not getting?? He interjected himself into a matter he had NO business becoming involved in, he shot 2 guys, IN THE BACK, and you don’t see where he was maybe just a little off base??

    Ya know, it’s probably a good thing you never were a civilian cop, you would have gone to prison with the line of thought you have…

    Unf*cking believable!!

  17. comment number 17 by: BobF

    Sorry folks but if I see someone robbing your house, I’ll try to stop them but I won’t kill them. Of course, I’ll be armed and order them to lie on the ground but if they walk or run away, then they’ll keep walking or running because I won’t kill another person over stuff.

    But, if I witness someone raping your wife or daughter, I’ll put 230 grains of Full Metal Jacket somewhere in their head. I’ll take a life to protect mine or someone else’s but I won’t take one to protect stuff, not even mine. That’s why I pay big $$$$ to State Farm each year.

    Does anybody have any idea what it would be like to take another life, even in a righteous shooting? What’s it like to live with yourself after ending the life of another person? Even combat veterans who have killed on the battlefield have difficulty with this. That’s why so many have PTSD. Most never talk of it.

    This issue has divided even staunch conservatives who believe in the use of lethal force to protect themselves and their families. What’s going to happen is this ruling by the Grand Jury is going to cause those who are sitting on the fence between the use or non-use of of lethal force for self protection to fall to the other side. Many people fought long and hard to get Castle Doctrine laws passed which allowed us to stand our ground. This ruling goes against what Castle Doctrine was all about: Defending yourself without having to retreat first. Mr. Horn was never in any danger.

  18. comment number 18 by: TexasFred

    BobF, there is only one thing you said that I have an issue with, “This issue has divided even staunch conservatives who believe in the use of lethal force to protect themselves and their families.”

    This has brought together those that would protect their homes and families from threat of physical harm, it has also brought out some really stupid comments from folks that are a lot like Horn, they just want a chance to shoot someone and not be penalized FOR it…

    In other words, they wish to become a vigilante and commit murder…

    And if that thought pisses off those that sympathize with Mr. Horn, too damned bad, Horn is a murderer, no one was ever shot in the back that presented a clear and present danger…

    Call it *The Cowboy Code*, call it what you like, only a COWARD shoots a man in the back, a coward or a homicidal maniac that is fulfilling his dream of taking a life.

  19. comment number 19 by: ablur

    The grand jury hurt American justice with their decision. To toss the case when Horn is so clearly wrong on so many issues is an obscene carriage of justice.

    Even a gratuitous punishment would have been better. Community service, parole sentencing, anything.

    The Gun grabbers will have a field day with this.

  20. comment number 20 by: TexasFred

    ablur, Amen to that…

    I can’t understand how so many people can be missing this point, excellent observation…

  21. comment number 21 by: topnotch

    Plain and simple Joe Horn is a “killer” who was just waiting for the right opportunity and Joe Horn is just a back shooting coward. The law of the harvest is still in effect Joe. What goes around comes around. Joe Will you be watching over your shoulder for the the rest of your life. Will your guilt take its toll on you. Will all Texans be judged by Joe Horn ????

  22. comment number 22 by: TexasFred

    topnotch, “Will all Texans be judged by Joe Horn ????”

    From some of the comments I have seen in the Houston Chron and some other blogs, yeah, we’re ALL a bunch of idiots because Horn is and the Jury got it ALL wrong…

    Guilt by association…

  23. comment number 23 by: Sarah

    I’ll admit that I was a little dismayed by the comments at the Houston Chronicle (not being a Texan myself). In fact, I found them downright scary. But I feel a million times better now that I have stumbled across this blog. It’s good to see thoughtful discussion on the consequences of this verdict. It’s also good to see that not everyone in Texas thinks this guy is some kind of hero. His actions were abhorrent.