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View Poll Results: You're on the jury. Do you acquit or convict based on the story below?
Acquit. A man's home is his castle. 18 24.66%
Convict. Send him up the river. 44 60.27%
I can't serve on a jury. I'm crazy, I'm telling you. CRAZY! 11 15.07%
Voters: 73. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-04-2013, 01:49 PM  
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Murder or Castle Doctrine?

A case not too far from my hometown.

http://www.therolladailynews.com/app...8&refresh=true

Slaying case may hinge on property rights


STEELVILLE, Mo. James Crocker had grown weary of the partying canoeists and rafters who encroached on his neatly kept property along Missouri's Meramec River. When he caught a man about to relieve himself on a gravel bar by his yard last month, a nasty confrontation ensued that ended with one person dead and Crocker accused of killing him.

The case against Crocker is the latest to put a spotlight on "castle doctrine" laws, which allow the use of deadly force to protect property. Missouri is among at least 30 states that have enacted the statutes, which supporters say protect gun rights but others insist promote vigilantism.

Crocker's attorney, Michael Bert of St. Louis, said that Crocker was defending himself and his property.

"Here's a man in fear for his life and fearful he might suffer bodily injury," Bert said.

Prosecutors see it differently. Witnesses who testified at a hearing this month said Crocker was angry and raging, shooting into the crowd of people, narrowly missing two others before killing 48-year-old Paul Dart Jr. of Robertsville, Mo. Crocker has been charged with second degree murder.
Even some supporters of the doctrine say the violence seemed avoidable.

"The smart thing is to back away, and nobody seemed to be willing to do that," said Kevin Jamison, an attorney who lobbied for Missouri's castle doctrine bill as a member of the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance.

Crocker, a 59-year-old plastics plant worker with long hair and a thick goatee, lives in a small white frame home on a shaded gravel road about eight miles west of Steelville, the self-proclaimed floating capital of the world. Tens of thousands of people come to the region every year to raft, canoe or kayak down the Meramec and nearby rivers.

Drinking is sometimes part of the outings, resulting in bawdy behavior that doesn't sit well with owners of land that touches the river. Many have complained for years about loud parties, trash left behind and crude behavior.

Herb Smelser, 77, who lives three houses down from Crocker, said it isn't uncommon to find people using his yard as a restroom. The problem was so bad, he said, that he let his grass grow high to discourage trespassers.
Crocker, though, kept his yard trim and tidy "like a park," Smelser said. To keep out the unwanted, Crocker posted "No Trespassing" and "Private Property" signs along the hill that slopes down to a gravel area along the meandering river.

On July 20, Dart, a carpenter, and around four dozen other members of an extended family gathered at a campground for their annual float trip along the Meramec. A few hours into the trip, Robert and Regina Burgess stopped their canoe on a gravel bar. Robert, who had drunk about three beers, decided to relieve himself, he testified at the preliminary hearing.

Crocker confronted Burgess and other members of the party. When happened then is in dispute, and will be a crucial part of the case.

Burgess and his wife testified that Crocker was immediately agitated and aggressive, firing two shots in their direction Robert said one hit the ground near his feet. Another bullet hit Dart in the face.

Burgess said it was only after Dart was shot that members of the party picked up rocks to defend themselves against Crocker, who was armed with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol.

"I'm standing there unarmed and the guy's got a gun," Burgess said.
Crocker didn't testify at the hearing, but his attorney gave a different account.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Bert said Crocker politely asked the float trip party to leave. "The response he got was angry and profane," Bert said.

Crocker and those in the float trip party argued over whether the gravel bar was public land or Crocker's. Eventually, the men picked up "softball-sized" rocks and began pelting Crocker, Bert said. He said Crocker suffered head injuries, then fired his gun to defend himself.

"When people say is this a case of the castle doctrine I say, 'yes, kind of,' but more importantly these people were armed with what I would consider weapons," Bert said.

Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper Joseph Peart testified that he saw no evidence that Crocker was injured.

Police said Crocker told them, "I just shot the one closest to me."

Whether or not the floaters were on Crocker's property may be an issue in the case since Missouri law isn't clear on where private property along a waterway begins. Some experts say it starts at the vegetation line; others say property rights extend to the center of a river or stream.

"That may be a critical question," said Jamison, of Kansas City, Mo. "If (Crocker) reasonably believed the man was on his property and he wasn't, I'm not sure that's enough."

Missouri's castle doctrine statute, enacted in 2007, gives residents a legal right to defend themselves and their property against intruders. Supporters of such laws cite a number of cases in which homeowners were able to fend off burglars or other criminals without fear of prosecution. But Florida's law gained notoriety after a neighborhood watch activist, George Zimmerman, fatally shot teen Trayvon Martin, and was acquitted of criminal charges.

A 2012 Texas A&M University study found that homicides ruled justifiable rose by 8 percent in states with "stand-your-ground laws.

In the Missouri case, Crawford County detective Zachary Driskill said he asked Crocker if he could have called police instead of taking matters into his own hands.

"I guess I could have, but it's my property and I was going to protect it," Crocker responded, according to case documents.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:09 PM   #76
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as crazy as it gets down in that area w/floaters, I can't believe this hasn't happened before.

I've sat on the river bank and watched floaters pull up to a gravel bar and be so ****in drunk they fell on their face after crawling out of their canoes. watched one father and his 3 grown sons get in a fist fight while the rental dude is loading up their shit on a trailer. cops came and took the whole bunch off. I went over and asked the rental guy what the deal was and he said they were regulars...they'd get released the next morning then be back the next week and do the whole thing over again.

i get tired of people trashing the river and banks as it is, and I don't own any property down there. if I was an owner, i'd really be pissed. but, that's one of the communities main sources of income(floaters), so they're not going to put an end to it.

I vote idiots on both sides.
sec
I'd say that's about the sum of it, murder is for the jury to decide... but its way easy to believe the property owner was sick to death of rude behavior and trash always being strewn about the place.

I've been down the Current twice and no doubt there are a LOT of idiots, and also, if the victim was with two dozen others, you can damn near bet he was being a jackoff, i've seen it myself down there... the bigger the group, the bigger the assholes they're capable of being.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:21 PM   #77
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Dude was only on his third beer during a canoe trip? that's a lie.

Back to reading...
A lot like the "only two beers" drunk drivers always claim.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:22 PM   #78
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I saved a gal from Drowning a few years back. she was so hammered she could barely remain conscious. I saw her dipping under; then again....eyes closed....I could tell she was struggling in the 6' + feet of water. I hopped out of the canoe and pulled her ashore. I put her in a raft of some other drunk a**es in her party. I yelled out for someone in her party, and a guy and gal came up to me; trashed. I said "Dude, make sure she doesn't get out of this raft. She nearly drowned.

Yeah about 10 minutes later I saw the group, and the same drunk B was out splashing in the water. I didn't have to give CPR but it was very very close. We saw them the next day when we headed home at a breakfast buffet. My brother says in passing "You're welcome by the way". They looked at him like he had 4 heads and asked "What"? He proceeded to tell them that the chick (who was HUNGover at the table) nearly drowned and we pulled her out. NONE of them had any idea.

Scary
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:22 PM   #79
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We're missing essential information. Was anyone involved an ethnic minority? If so, it's probably not going to go well for that guy.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:23 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayze View Post
I saved a gal from Drowning a few years back. she was so hammered she could barely remain conscious. I saw her dipping under; then again....eyes closed....I could tell she was struggling in the 6' + feet of water. I hopped out of the canoe and pulled her ashore. I put her in a raft of some other drunk a**es in her party. I yelled out for someone in her party, and a guy and gal came up to me; trashed. I said "Dude, make sure she doesn't get out of this raft. She nearly drowned.

Yeah about 10 minutes later I saw the group, and the same drunk B was out splashing in the water. I didn't have to give CPR but it was very very close. We saw them the next day when we headed home at a breakfast buffet. My brother says in passing "You're welcome by the way". They looked at him like he had 4 heads and asked "What"? He proceeded to tell them that the chick (who was HUNGover at the table) nearly drowned and we pulled her out. NONE of them had any idea.

Scary
Whoa. Not good.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:24 PM   #81
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DERP DERP HE WAS PISSING ON MY LAWN, MY PROPERTY DOG GONE IT HE DESERVES TO DIE!! DERP DERP
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:25 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Dayze View Post
I saved a gal from Drowning a few years back. she was so hammered she could barely remain conscious. I saw her dipping under; then again....eyes closed....I could tell she was struggling in the 6' + feet of water. I hopped out of the canoe and pulled her ashore. I put her in a raft of some other drunk a**es in her party. I yelled out for someone in her party, and a guy and gal came up to me; trashed. I said "Dude, make sure she doesn't get out of this raft. She nearly drowned.

Yeah about 10 minutes later I saw the group, and the same drunk B was out splashing in the water. I didn't have to give CPR but it was very very close. We saw them the next day when we headed home at a breakfast buffet. My brother says in passing "You're welcome by the way". They looked at him like he had 4 heads and asked "What"? He proceeded to tell them that the chick (who was HUNGover at the table) nearly drowned and we pulled her out. NONE of them had any idea.

Scary
sit in a canoe/kayak/innertube for a few hours in the hot sun slamming beers, you don't have any idea how drunk you're getting.
sec
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:25 PM   #83
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the bonus was my hand got some boob action whilst hoisting her out of the water into the raft.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:26 PM   #84
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Whoa. Not good.
Totally believable though.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:26 PM   #85
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sit in a canoe/kayak/innertube for a few hours in the hot sun slamming beers, you don't have any idea how drunk you're getting.
sec
yep. and this party was young. no way they were of age. They had all the makings of a bad day; Jack and Cokes, Jello Shots, beer bong.
nice little 100 degree day; 5 hour float.

good god.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:26 PM   #86
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the bonus was my hand got some boob action whilst hoisting her out of the water into the raft.
should have turned her over and picked her up like a 6-pack.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:26 PM   #87
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the bonus was my hand got some boob action whilst hoisting her out of the water into the raft.
That's probably not the only action she got if she was that drunk.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:28 PM   #88
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should have turned her over and picked her up like a 6-pack.
sec
I thought about it. I was scared though man. I pulled her out, and she was limp. I put her into the raft on shore, sat her up. she had a pulse. fairly shallow breathing. Finally got her to open her eyes, and she was talking (albeit slurring/barely audible).


but my hand got some. So I figured we were square
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:28 PM   #89
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the bonus was my hand got some boob action whilst hoisting her out of the water into the raft.
Ground rule double.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:29 PM   #90
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Totally believable though.
I don't doubt it for one second. We go to Havasu every year. I've seen plenty of that shit. Most of them topless.
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