Knowing your rights during a home invasion
A homeowner was armed and took action when three suspects allegedly broke into his home.
Stacey D. Martin, a 43-year-old man from Springfield, and Katelyn A. Tosi, a 22-year-old woman from Dover, Massachusetts, have been arrested and charged with home invasion, battery, and theft with a firearm. The third suspect, who was shot by the homeowner, is still hospitalized and has not been identified yet. The three are accused of trying to break into a home on the 1800 block of East Keys Avenue in Springfield on Wednesday.
Fox Springfield spoke with Sangamon County State's Attorney John Milhiser about what a homeowner's rights are when or if someone tries to break into your home. Milhiser explained, "If the unfortunate circumstance arises where you have to use deadly force, if you reasonably believe that somebody is going to cause great bodily harm or death to you or somebody else, you can use deadly force. That's what the law is."
The State's Attorney says a person is justified in using force against another when it's self-defense of a person or self-defense of a dwelling. However, he added, "But it has to be reasonably believed that that force is necessary to prevent the imminent use of deadly force against them."
State law says when entry is made or attempted in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner into your dwelling, a person is justified in the use of force if they reasonably believe that that force is necessary to prevent an assault or other violence against somebody in the dwelling. "You could have a situation where somebody sneaks in, so it's not in a riotous manner but because of the other factors, that deadly force that's used [could be] justified based on the other factors in the case - if there are weapons inside, if certain statements are made, a whole host of other factors that could be present," Milhiser explained.
Milhiser also explained that while the use of deadly force can be justified, that is not always the best idea. "If there's a situation where you can retreat, where you can call the police, where you can call the authorities, where you can get away, that often times is the best course of action," he said.
However, Milhiser says a person is not required by Illinois law to retreat. "They don't have a duty to retreat, and if they believe that there is the imminent threat of death or great bodily harm to them, they can use deadly force against that intruder even if they're not in their home," he said.
Milhiser says every case is very fact-specific. The size of the people involved, the time of day, the location are all factors that can come into play.
The two suspects from Wednesday's home invasion, Martin and Tosi, will be making their first court appearance on Monday, and the third suspect is in stable condition at Memorial Medical Hospital.
The Springfield Police Department and Sangamon County State's Attorney's Office continue to investigate the incident.