Montana trial recalls other defense cases in US

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 17, 2014 at 3:21 p.m.



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MISSOULA, Montana (AP) — More than 30 states have laws expanding the right of people to use deadly force to protect their homes or themselves. One of those states is Montana, where such a law was key to the trial of a man who shot and killed a 17-year-old German exchange student trespassing in the man's garage. The gunman was found guilty of deliberate homicide on Wednesday.

Since Florida in 2005 became the first of several states to expand the use of the so-called "castle doctrine" outside the home, there has been a flurry of cases testing the boundaries of self-defense law.

Here's a look at some:

—A 65-year-old Minnesota man was convicted of murder in May for fatally shooting two teenagers who entered his house. The man hid in his basement with a weapon after moving his truck to make it appear no one was home.

—A Florida auto dealer owner faces attempted murder charges for staking out his dealership after it was burglarized and shooting two teens who entered the property, even after they tried to surrender, authorities say. Both boys survived.

—A Colorado prosecutor blamed his state's "Make My Day" law for preventing him from prosecuting a 36-year-old man who fatally shot a 47-year-old during a drunken brawl. Part of the New Year's Day fight occurred in the gunman's house.

—An 89-year-old North Carolina man in July shot and killed a 47-year-old tenant who angrily demanded the landlord fix his air conditioning. Prosecutors declined to file charges.

—Most famously, George Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, in 2012 after following the teenager and contending the unarmed boy attacked him. A jury acquitted Zimmerman of murder charges.

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The Associated Press

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