On Christmas Eve in 2009, Ezekiel Gilbert paid an escort he found on Craigslist for $150 for what he thought would be sex. Instead, according to the San Antonio Express-News, 23-year-old Lenora Frago left his apartment after about twenty minutes without completing the act. Gilbert, now 30, followed her to the car with a gun and shot her in the neck through the passenger’s side window. Fargo was paralyzed and died about seven months later. Gilbert admitted to shooting her, but claimed he did not intend to kill.
Gilbert was tried for murder. Last Wednesday, a Texas jury ruled that his actions were lawful. This is because Texas Penal Code contains an unusual clause that gives citizens the right to use deadly force to prevent a person from “fleeing immediately after a burglary, robbery, aggravated theft or theft during the night from escaping with property.”
Texas A&M professor Mark Hoekstra, who is investigating the effectiveness of deadly force provisions in martial law, says the property protection component of the Deadly Power Act is “somewhat unique to Texas.” However, within Texas the case was not unique. In 2010, the law protected a Houston taco truck owner who shot a man for stealing a jar that contained $ 20.12. Also in Houston, a store clerk recently killed a man stealing a dozen beers, and in 2008, a man from Laredo was acquitted of killing a 13-year-old boy who broke into his trailer in search of snacks and soda.
Texas law also justifies murder to protect the property of others. In 2007, a man was told 14 times by a 9-11 operator to stay inside during a robbery shot two thieves as they fled his neighbor’s home. “There’s no asset worth shooting for, okay?” The operator said in a call. The shooter replied, “The law has changed … Here is my friend! You hear the sound of the shotgun clicking and I go!” He won an acquittal the following year.
The so-called “justifiable homicides” are on the rise in Texas, where Governor Rick Perry in 2007 expanded the already deadly force laws to allow self-defense to kill poisons in their vehicles and workplaces or anywhere to stop “aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault or Assault ‘aggravated sexuality, theft or aggravated theft. “Although the Penal Code included a section dealing with” stealing during the night “since the 1970s, some Texas residents may have changed in the open season declaration in 2007. From 2002 to 2006, 146 justified casualties were committed by ordinary civilians. From 2007 to 2011, the number jumped to 224 , Over 50%.
Such cases often provoked outrage and prompted companies to question the deadly power laws in the country. Supporters of the deadly force in self-defense cases say crime rates have dropped in response to laws. However, a study by Hoekstra and his colleague Cheng Cheng found that the total number of cases has increased in the 21 countries that adopted such laws between 2000 and 2010.
Chandler McClellan and Ardal Tekin, who are investigating the deadly force at the National Bureau of Economic Research, have done research that confirmed the results of Hokstra and Chang. They wrote: “To the extent that Gilbert’s credit rests on justified murder protection, the result is consistent with the notion that such power may not be used other than the liberalization of laws aimed at preventing murder. Moreover, this innocence may indicate to others that the use of deadly force is plausible In a wide variety of circumstances, leading to greater violence, while the expansion of self-defense laws has slowed down with recent notable issues such as Trayvon Martin, there has been no concerted effort to repeal these laws or set stricter standards.
Due to the criminal nature of the Gilbert case, the state cannot file an appeal.