December 23, 2007
• Darwin Award 10
The following is an article from the NY Times. The predisposition of the liberal NY Times comes shining through from the very first line: “Questions and Doubts in a Texas Shooting Case.” First, as of this writing, there is no case. True, Horn will go before a Grand Jury early in 2008, but to suggest there is a case is leading. The anti-gun elitist reach into their well worn bag of tricks and pull out the race card as a the reason Horn shot the two thieves. Then they interview the poor grieving widows that would have you believing they were one degree away from saint hood. “Concealed”
Questions and Doubts in a Texas Shooting Case
By RALPH BLUMENTHAL/NYTimes
Published: December 23, 2007
PASADENA, Tex. — Even before the police called the night of Nov. 14, Stephanie Storey said, she knew that her fiancé of two days, Miguel Antonio DeJesus, was dead.
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Michael Stravato for The New York Times
Stephanie Storey was the fiancée of Miguel Antonio DeJesus, who was fatally shot Nov. 14 after robbing a Texas home.
Miguel Antonio DeJesus
She knew it, Ms. Storey said, because she had not been able to reach him all day, and because she was watching the news at 9 o’clock when she saw his body.
It was lying on a front lawn decorated for Christmas in a middle-class subdivision in this Houston suburb ringed by refineries, not far from the body of his sometime construction partner and childhood friend from Cali, Colombia, Diego Ortiz.
Both men, illegal immigrants, one with a prison record, had been riddled with shotgun pellets fired by a retired computer manager, Joe Horn, who called 911 that Wednesday about 2 p.m. to say he was watching them break into the house next door. “I’m not going to let them get away with it,” he told the emergency operator. “I’m going to shoot.”
“I’m going to kill them,” he said.
Moments later, the police said, Mr. Horn, disregarding the operator’s pleas to stay inside, confronted the fleeing pair in his front yard and, saying “Move, you’re dead,” fired three blasts of 00 buckshot from his 12-gauge, striking them in their backs as a plainclothes officer who had just pulled up ducked for cover. Both ran short distances before collapsing and dying, leaving behind a tire iron used to break open a window, a lock-punch and a pillowcase holding jewelry and about $2,000 cash from the neighbors, a Vietnamese family that ran a local dry-cleaners.
“I knew it was getting hard for them,” said Ms. Storey, 39, a medical assistant from Katy, west of Houston. But she said she doubted that Mr. DeJesus, an avid salsa dancer who had courted her on and off for seven years and wore paint-splattered clothes to job hunts outside the Home Depot, had made a career of theft. But she said she knew he had another identity and false Puerto Rican papers; his real name was Hernando Riascos Torres.
“If this was something he did,” she said, “he would have money and jewelry, and he never did.”
Either way, Ms. Storey said, they did not deserve to die. “We saw they were doing the crime; we can’t dispute that,” she said. “I’m not saying they were saints, but I’m sure they’d prefer to be behind bars than dead.”
The case has resonated beyond Texas, drawing international coverage and raising questions of race, self-defense and property rights.
Mr. Horn, 61, is white; Mr. DeJesus, 38, and Mr. Ortiz, 30, were dark-skinned Hispanics described by Mr. Horn to 911 as black. Both were Colombians in the United States illegally, the police said.
“If they were two white boys,” Ms. Storey said, “he would have given them the opportunity to stop.”
In his 911 call, Mr. Horn had cited a law that would have allowed him to protect his own home. But legal experts said the case probably falls under a Texas law allowing the use of deadly force to protect someone else’s property under certain conditions.
Many questions remain unanswered, including what happened in the final seconds, before Mr. Horn told the 911 operator, “I had no choice,” adding, “Man, they came running in my yard.”
Also unknown is how Mr. DeJesus and Mr. Ortiz got to Pasadena, about 15 miles outside Houston. Some recall seeing a silver truck with the words Ortiz Painting, but no vehicle was found after the shooting, so they could have been dropped off.
The Harris County district attorney, Charles A. Rosenthal Jr., said a grand jury would meet early in the new year to decide if Mr. Horn should face charges.
Mr. Horn’s lawyer, Charles T. Lambright, said last week that he was not inclined to put his client before the grand jury. “But if he gets indicted,” Mr. Lambright said, “certainly he would testify.”
Some are contrasting the case with that of another suburban Houston homeowner, Damon Barone, who shot dead a burglar who was climbing into his bedroom window at 2 a.m. on Dec. 14.
Mr. Horn, who lives with his daughter and her family, has been in seclusion but responded by e-mail last week to questions from The Houston Chronicle that did not concern details of the shooting. Known to his grandchildren as “Papa Joe” and to friends as “average Joe,” the paper said, Mr. Horn talked about his family and said he had never taken self-defense, had not been in the military and did not hunt.
In contrast, little has come out about the two dead men.
Ms. Storey said Mr. Ortiz was separated from his wife, who had their baby daughter, and had a relationship with a married woman. The Houston Chronicle last week quoted a woman who said she had been living with Mr. Ortiz and described him as “a very good guy, a sweet man.” The woman said he also had a son and daughter in Colombia.
Mr. DeJesus was a child of the streets who ended up in the Colombian army, Ms. Storey said. She said he boarded a smuggler’s boat for the United States, spent 10 days adrift and nearly died before being rescued and taken to Germany. From there, he made his way to the United States.
Capt. Bud Corbett of the Pasadena Police Department said Mr. DeJesus was convicted on drug charges in 1994 and sentenced to 25 years before being ordered deported 5 years later, though Ms. Storey questioned whether he ever left.
He was in Texas around 2000, Ms. Storey said, when she first met him at a west Houston salsa dance hall. She met him again last September, and he proposed on Nov. 12.
“We were going to take our tests on the 15th,” she said.