A Laredo, Texas jury has acquitted a man who was accused of murdering a boy who broke into his home with other teens in search of snacks and sodas in July 2007. Jose Luis Gonzalez, 63, shot Francisco Anguiano, 13, in the back after making him and his three friends kneel in front of him in his trailer after catching him in a break-in. For some, it is an example of the increasing carnage under the so-called Castle Doctrine or make-my-day laws.
It only took the Texas jury of eight men and four women three hours to acquit Gonzalez of a crime that prosecutors insisted was cold-blooded murder.
Gonzalez’s trailer had been broken into several times before when he saw the boys enter the trailer from a nearby building. He went into the trailer with a 16-gauge shotgun and found four unarmed and apparently scared boys ranging in age from 11 to 15. Both sides agreed that he forced them to get on their knees in front of him. The boys testified that they were begging for forgiveness while Gonzalez hit them repeatedly with the shotgun. He then shot Anguiano in the back and the boys testified that he forced them to carry his body outside. Police would later find two mashed Twinkies and some cookies were stuffed in the pockets of his shorts.
From the evidence in the case, it is hard to see how the jury reached this decision. Clearly, much of a trial depends on the demeanorThe homeowner had four kids on their knees and was holding a shotgun. The wound was in the back. The concern is that more people, like Mr. Horn in the case linked above, are forcing lethal confrontation when they previously would have relied on the police to protect their property.
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