Jerry Stefani, 49, and Douglas Wienberg, 39, may want to just go with Internet news in the future. The two were arrested after chasing newspaper carriers and then firing shots at them in the mistaken belief that they were prowlers.
Stefani and Wienberg are neighbors on Turkey Road in Pensacola, Florida.
Wienbueg’s wife told her husband that she thought that she spotted prowlers along the fence around 3:45 am. Stefani and Wienberg grabbed their guns as a white delivery vehicle was pulling away. They jumped in their car and pursued the men. When the delivery vehicle became stuck, three carriers bolted from the vehicle and fled as Stefani fired several rounds at them. The carriers say that they thought they were about to be robbed.
Wienberg and Stefani were booked into the Escambia Couty Jail on charges of aggravated assault.
The case could be viewed another cautionary tale over “Castle Doctrine” or “Make My Day” laws allowing homeowners to use lethal force whenever their homes are invaded. Critics have long argued that some people are too eager to use lethal force. In this case, the doctrine would not apply –even with a broad view of what constitutes the curtilage of the home if they walked around the outside of the fence (here). The laws also do not allow pursuit as in this case.
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