Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez, 21, is facing an extraordinary set of charges of three counts of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary. The men killed were actually her accomplices in an attempted burglary. None of the them had a gun but one had a knife and one has brass knuckles. The homeowner’s son however did have a gun and shot and killed all three men. Prosecutors then charged Rodriguez with the deaths even though she was only the getaway driver.
Two of the men broke through a glass door in the back of the house. The homeowner’s son confronted them and, after a brief exchange, shot them with what is believed to be an AR-15.
There might be a question of whether two men armed with a knife and brass knuckles justifies such a response. However, a knife is a lethal weapon and the victim is allowed to respond under the common law with commensurate force. Moreover, Oklahoma is a Castle Doctrine state and provides that :
PHYSICAL OR DEADLY FORCE AGAINST INTRUDER
A. The Legislature hereby recognizes that the citizens of the State of Oklahoma have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes or places of business.
B. A person or an owner, manager or employee of a business is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
1. The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or a place of business, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against the will of that person from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or place of business; and
2. The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.
In the meantime, Rodriguez will be charged with the deaths of her alleged cohorts as three counts of first-degree murder in addition to the three counts of first-degree burglary.