Cleveland Man Charged With Shooting 11-Year-Old Girl Playing On His Front Lawn

Charles DuBose, 55, is accused of the heinous act of shooting Ivhan`e Merritt, 11, for the offense of playing on his front lawn in Cleveland at 10:40 p.m.

Witnesses said DuBose was upset with the children and then fired after one child walked across his lawn and another bumped his car.

DuBose is charged with Felonious Assault.

What is a bit surprising is the quote from Ivhan`e’s mother, Aquadea Merritt: “Everything else is fine, she’s doing fine . . . I’m not mad or anything, I’m not upset. I’m hurt that she’s in the hospital and she’s injured. But otherwise that she’s good, she’s healthy, ain’t nothing wrong. It could have been a main artery or anything, she could have been dead.”

Notably, while I do not believe it will help DuBose, Ohio has a Castle Doctrine law. That law states in pertinent part:

2901.05 Burden of proof – reasonable doubt – self-defense.

(A) Every person accused of an offense is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the burden of proof for all elements of the offense is upon the prosecution. The burden of going forward with the evidence of an affirmative defense, and the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, for an affirmative defense, is upon the accused.

(B)(1) Subject to division (B)(2) of this section, a person is presumed to have acted in self defense or defense of another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if the person against whom the defensive force is used is in the process of unlawfully and without privilege to do so entering, or has unlawfully and without privilege to do so entered, the residence or vehicle occupied by the person using the defensive force.

(2)(a) The presumption set forth in division (B)(1) of this section does not apply if the person against whom the defensive force is used has a right to be in, or is a lawful resident of, the residence or vehicle.

(b) The presumption set forth in division (B)(1) of this section does not apply if the person who uses the defensive force uses it while in a residence or vehicle and the person is unlawfully, and without privilege to be, in that residence or vehicle.

(3) The presumption set forth in division (B)(1) of this section is a rebuttable presumption and may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.

Some courts have extended these laws (which I have criticized in the past) to cover lawns or yards as part of the curtilage. Others have rejected such claims. For example, in Michigan v. Riddle, 467 Mich. 116 (2002), rejected such a claim:

Defendant, who was outside his home in the driveway or yard between the home and a detached garage at the time of the homicide, contends that he was wholly excused from any obligation to retreat because he was in his “castle.” We disagree and hold that the castle doctrine, as it applied in this state and as was codified in our murder statute in 1846, applies solely to the dwelling and its attached appurtenances. Although many courts have extended the castle exception to other areas, 26 we conclude that there is simply no basis in the case law of this state, contemporaneous with the enactment of our initial murder statute, to justify extending the rule in this manner.

Here the child was not an aggressor and DuBose was not acting in defense of himself or his dwelling.

Source: Fox *

14 thoughts on “Cleveland Man Charged With Shooting 11-Year-Old Girl Playing On His Front Lawn”

  1. He could be dangerous? Surely you jest, he used deadly force on the girl.

  2. X-Sender:
    Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 17:55:30 -0500
    To: Kay Sieverding
    From: David Sieverding
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    From: “Tom Ernst”
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    Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 08:26:17 -0600
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    Not much in comparison.

    I was looking at a vacant lot next door to Bennett to purchase. When we
    were walking the property with our three kids, we noticed the property
    below us and thought it was a wonderful view. Just then Bennett came out
    of his house and met us. In short, he said if any of us attempted to
    step foot on the property he would shoot us. He also mentioned that if
    we built a home on the property he would put up a privacy fence so we
    couldn’t see the property that went down to the river.

    He scared the hell out of my wife and kids. Needless to say we never
    went back to the property and found something else.


  3. Clearly we don’t know all the details, but I too think an 11-year-old is too young to be wandering around at that time of night, being watched perhaps only by the angry sociopath neighbor who has surely exhibited behavior many times indicating he could be dangerous.

  4. Bumped his car…not a castle defense in most jurisdictions unless…it was in the garage…..

  5. Concerning “Castle doctrine” in Ohio. I served on a grand jury about 5 years ago in Stark County (Canton), OH. We did not deal with this issue in session but talked with the prosecutor during a break. His “opinion” stated with some certainty was that the doctrine did extend outside the house but, as I remember, the threat had to be more evident than if the incident had occured inside. In any case he suggested the use of “deadly” force should only be used based on the seriousness of the threat and as the only alternative. My memory of cases in Ohio suggests that the courts usually side with the occupant, at least if it is a “normal” residence (i.e. not a drug deal gone bad). I doubt if DuBois can use any of this. That all being said, after reading this blog for a while, I would not bet on things going the way they should.

  6. This idiot should be spending some serious time behind bars. He is lucky the parents didn’t take matters into their own hands.

  7. I agree with Patric. Who lets their kids play outside, unsupervised, that late in the city? Obviously, the guy is a lunatic, but the mom seems pretty uninvolved or unaware. I know that people just don’t respond deeply when they don’t feel they have much at stake And, as a former teacher, I’ve seen far too many parents who don’t really have much concern for their kids. This rings like that to my ears.

  8. Well, at least the mother is consistent.

    Her daughter gets shot and there “ain’t nothing wrong.”

    Her daughter is out playing in the neighborhood till 11pm and nothing wrong with that, either.

    So I’d opine that Mom doesn’t spend much time fretting over the fact that she saddled her child with a name that will be misunderstood, mispronounced and misspelled her entire life.

    Sometimes outcomes hinge on the little things that didn’t have to happen at all.

  9. Either that mom is the most forgiving person on Earth since the year 33 or that is a bad man. The kind of bad man that shoots someone & then the victim apologizes for inconveniencing the shooter.

  10. @Mas: I imagine she’s riding on the relief at learning her daughter, who had been shot, will be just fine.

  11. Wow. The mom isn’t hysterical or anything. I don’t know if I should be shocked or impressed.

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