Texas Couple Kills Seven-Year-Old and Wounds Adult Who Trespassed on Property

2398616Texas is proud of its laws allowing citizens to shoot and kill intruders into their homes under so-called Castle Doctrine or “Make My Day” laws. However, critics have charged that these laws have encouraged homeowners who are predisposed to use violence as the first response to intrusions as in the recent cases of Joe Horn and other homeowners. Those critics may have another case in Sheila Muhs, 45, and her husband, Gayle Muhs, 45. The couple did not wait for a home intrusion before allegedly killing seven-year-old Donald Coffey Jr. and seriously wounding Patrick Cammack, 30. Five-year-old Destiny Coffey and her father and Donald Coffey Sr. were also wounded. The family (including a 5-year-old sister) were off-roading when they stopped to allow the kids to go to the bathroom.


The Muhs live in a small house with rebel flag flying from the roof and a sign that reads: “Trespassers will be shot. Survivers will be reshot!! Smile I will.”

The boy was hit in the head.

It is not clear that the off-roaders were actually trespassing. Sheila Muhs reportedly fired once with a 12-gauge shotgun and then handed it to her husband, who also fired once. Sheila told a dispatcher that “They’re out here tearing up the levee, so I shot them.”

What is notable is that with a shotgun, they could not have been too far away to cause this level of injuries — close enough to see the children. By handing over the gun, they also showed obvious pre-meditation.

For the full story, click here.

60 thoughts on “Texas Couple Kills Seven-Year-Old and Wounds Adult Who Trespassed on Property

  1. Gary T, I believe that your comments cut to the core of the debate on capital punishment, although I disagree with your conclusions. The prosecution of crime is the exclusive prerogative of the state because under our system the commission of a crime is deemed to be a wrong against society and the social order. Therefore, the issue as you have framed it is whether social catharsis is a legitimate justification for execution. I do not believe that it is. First, emotional satisfaction is not a proper measure of justice, except justice as defined by a lynch mob. Second, a moral legal system ought to ennoble society, rather than merely cater to it. Third, the execution of a human being forecloses the possibility of forgiveness and rehabilitation. Fourth, the institution of capital punishment, however restricted by rules of evidence and judicial review, is implemented by human beings, guaranteeing that we will sometimes get it wrong. In addition, it can be argued from a purely religious standpoint that execution interferes with the relationship between God and man by eliminating the chance of redemption. From a secular standpoint, I agree with the sentiments of John Donne, who wrote, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind.”

  2. I am against the death penalty specifically because I do not think that there is any instance where the guilt is so clear cut that the evidence is incontrovertible. This includes eyewitnesses, confessions, video tapes, voice recordings and even forensic evidence.

    Eyewitnesses = Have been shown to be unreliable.
    Confessions = Can be coerced or due to mental illness.
    Video Tapes = Can be cut or altered.
    Voice Recordings = Can be cut or altered.
    Forensic Evidence = Even the FBI Lab has been shown to be compromised.

    There have been many killers whose act is so vicious that they clearly deserve to die. In all honesty if I knew for a fact that they were truly guilty, I would pull the switch without compunction and I take no pleasure in violence. However, if even one person is executed wrongfully and more than a few have been, then the whole system is bad. I believe that life without parole is the punishment that should be imposed for murder, at least if a mistake is made there is a possibility for some redress.

    This too is not a liberal vs. conservative issue as some would have it. It has been cleverly put that way by the fake conservative elements so that they can continue their phony
    issues that liberals are somehow weak, while conservatives are tough. Dick cheney is a perfect example of this since when he had a chance to go to war, for a war he believed in,
    he said he had other things to do and avoided the draft. Yet
    some conservatives (and liberals) see Cheney as a tough guy,
    when in reality he is a bully.

    To carry this further it is my opinion that the Bush/Cheney Crime Family was responsible for murdering a lot of people, including our troops. Would that they could suffer the death penalty for their crimes, as have other war criminals, but I’ll settle for life without parole for the whole lot of them.

  3. jw:

    “mespo727272,

    Unless I’m reading it wrong, you missed the “and”. You’ve got to come up with something under part 3 as well, and that’s the stickier part.”

    *****************

    I think that would be the easiest lie to make: “I’m sitting around the house with my woman and reading the Bible according to Jefferson Davis, when, all of a sudden, I hear the squeal of off-road vehicles pull up. There is all kinds of hell-raising going on and some’in that sounds a lot like “Barney is a dinosaur….” Then I see four,dark shadowy figures destroying my levee that protects me from the river, and even hear running water. We’ve got floods you know. So I’s tell my woman to get the shooting iron while I investigate. I calls out several times and hear nothing except the pitter patter of approaching footsteps right for my door. In mortal fear of her life and that of mine’n, she fires–just to warn ’em off you know. But they keep on coming and yellin’ some’en terrible. I get the gun and fires ag’in while she calls the Rangers. What’s a southern man’sposed to do? Run?” Some Texas jury somewhere will buy it.

  4. Mespo:

    That example is ruined when you said she feared for her life. Nothing else in the hypothetical matters once that is established; she’s justified in shooting, and that standard is active in many states that are a lot less conservative than Texas.

    Look at the standard again:

    (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or

    Call the police? Run them off? Confront them prior to shooting them? They are miles from meeting this standard.

    (B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

    There was some distance between the shooters and the victims, plus they handed off the gun; it’s pretty obvious between that and what they said on the 911 call that they didn’t fear for their lives where they stood. There’s no evidence that they thought the family was armed, there’s no evidence that they thought they were committing any crime other than vandalism, so they are on shaky ground in terms of thinking they could be put in danger if they used non lethal means to stop them. Sure, they might be afraid of being run over by the ATVs, but the sight of a shotgun is usually a pretty good deterrent for that.

    These people are going to prison. For a long time.

  5. I could not agree with you more purely from an economic stand point. However, I do believe that there are certain circumstances that NO TRIAL or Incarceration would tame the rage that I have. Such as child abuse, serial rapist, pedophile priests to name a few.

  6. jw:

    It’s an objective standard for fear (“reasonably believes”), not a subjective one (“well, it scared me, and so what if no one else was scared”)lest Cretans like this would win. I agree that these Neanderthals should be boiled in oil, heads run up on a pike for 60 days, and then imprisoned for life, but this is Texas and Jethro and Granny are likely on the jury with Jed as the Judge. Anything can happen, and usually does in this third world theocracy, so you will understand my reticence that justice will be prevail.

  7. CL

    “The death penalty costs more to the state than supporting them for life. That is the sole reason I oppose it myself.”

    ***********

    Glad you never let principle compromise your adherence to cash.

  8. Mespo: “Glad you never let principle compromise your adherence to cash.”
    **
    Perhaps I would have a different rational if economics went the other way.😉

  9. Appeals to emotion work both ways. It’s easy to get Jethro and Granny to convict when it’s a couple of adult men with different colored skin that got shot. But when you’ve got a dead seven year old and aren’t in the same galaxy as a reasonable defense….

  10. Mespo: “Glad you never let principle compromise your adherence to cash.”
    **
    Perhaps I would have a different rational if economics went the other way.
    __________________

    Mades perfect sense (cents) to me. C.L. is a’fixin’ to become a real lawyer someday…doncha know. (JK)

  11. Look at these two winners. This is nothing but plain simple murder and hopefully a jury will see through all of this.

  12. FFLeo:

    Christa and Lia (C.L.) are on their way to being fine lawyers and we love’em here on the blog. Evidence their own cyber contribution, “Torted,” by clicking their initials. I just like to tweak the young lawyers a little and remind them “our is (was?) a noble profession,” and wealth should derive from principle not the other way ’round.😉

  13. M72,

    Yes Sir, and I just had to get my JK ‘jab’ in while I could. That C.L. visit(s) this blawg says a lot about ‘them'(her).

  14. Where’s the Love? It’s gone! I read these comments and smell hatred big time. We have gone from a race war in this country to a hate based civil war.

    Like many others, the Muhs were sick from all the free riding off roaders, atvs, day and night noise of the law breaking land destroyers. Not to mention loss of peace and the harrassment given them by these free wheelers. You drove them to murder!!!

    How many complaints did they make about these civil rights violations. Tresspassing, Noise, Destruction of Private Property and General Harrassment. Call them rednecks!!!

    You free loading off roaders and atv riders are responsable for these sick peoples gun reaction.
    Your personal guilt already has them on deathrow.
    Way to go rednecks.

  15. its a shame that had to happen, but i think alot of the people around the area it happened will think twice about goin on peoples property. we have that in pa and the law will not do a thing about it.if they made a law you could just shoot the tresspassers i dont think people would go on land they have no bussiness being on.the land owners in pa would love for the law to make a fine of 2000.00 dallars and lose of atv or dirt bike for a year first time,and lose of atv and 4000.00 fine 2 time an never get it back.just the way it is tree huggers.

  16. What these two people did was horrid and extremely unforgivable but we can not and should not look to abolish “castle doctrine” laws just because people have taken advantage of and distorted these laws.There have been cases where people have been killed by home invaders all because the state/township where they lived in denied them the right to defend themselves by any means necessary.The above mentioned people did indeed murder that poor child in cold blood and deserve the death penalty in my view,but what about all of those criminals out there that are just like the couple mentioned above that kill without any remorse?Should they be allowed to continue to get away with committing cold blooded murder with the utmost impunity and have the full protection of the law on their side while the rest of us as law abiding citizens cower in fear?A lot of you that make comments on here really need to check yourselves because you make no kind of sense at all,this couple unjustly shot and killed that poor child and because this couple has no scruples or moral compass the rest of us should be denied and stripped of our right to defend and protect ourselves?ARE YOU PEOPLE REALLY THAT STUPID?!!!YOU MUST BE BECAUSE TO JUDGE OR DENY THE MAJORITY BECAUSE THE ACTIONS OF THE FEW IS IGNORANCE AND STUPIDITY IN ITS PUREST AND SIMPLEST FORM.WE ARE NOT ALL ALIKE AND AS SUCH SHOULD NOT ALL BE JUDGED DEEMED AS BEING ALIKE,I’M SPANISH AND I HAVE BEEN CALLED BIASED RACIST NAMES BY SOME WHITE PEOPLE,SO THAT MEANS THAT ALL WHITE PEOPLE ARE RACIST JUST BECAUSE THE THE FEW THAT CALLED ME BIASED RACIST NAMES?GET A CLUE PEOPLE!!!DO YOU SEE HOW RIDICULOUS WHAT I JUST IS?WELL THAT’S HOW RIDICULOUS YOU PEOPLE SOUND SAYING THAT “CASTLE DOCTRINE” LAWS AND THE RIGHT FOR PEOPLE TO DEFEND AND PROTECT THEMSELVES SHOULD ALL BE TAKEN AWAY JUST BECAUSE OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED COUPLE THAT SO SHAMELESSLY AND WITHOUT REMORSE MURDERED THAT POOR CHILD.YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK!!!THE ABOVE COUPLE CLEARLY ACTED IN A SELFISH AND SHAMELESS MANNER YES BUT WHY SHOULD THE REST OF US HAVE TO SUFFER BECAUSE OF THAT?!!!WHAT?SO YOU’LL THROW THE WHOLE CAKE IN THE GARBAGE JUST BECAUSE YOU MAY HAVE DROPPED A FEW EGGS IN THE PROCESS OF PREPARING AND BAKING THE CAKE?WAKE THE HELL UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE PEOPLE!!!

  17. Speaking of coffee, maybe you should watch your caffeine intake there, Nelson. You seem a bit . . . jittery.

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