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Criminal Justice

Judge, 65, Shoots and Kills Intruder at His Home

Posted Aug 23, 2010 3:35 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A 65-year-old Georgia judge shot and killed an intruder at his Richmond County home early Friday, authorities say.

Superior Court Judge Carlisle Overstreet was uninjured but upset after the incident around 4 a.m. reports the Augusta Chronicle.

The dead man, 20-year-old John Howard Jr., and another man allegedly threw a rock through a glass window or door at the judge's home, entered and went upstairs. Hearing voices, the judge got his gun and found Howard coming down the stairs with a bandana over his face, the newspaper recounts. He then fired, hitting Howard in the chest.

Howard was on probation in a previous burglary case. He apparently was not armed.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength commended Overstreet, saying "If somebody breaks into your home, we expect and hope that what Judge Overstreet did this morning would be done by any other citizen," the Chronicle reports.

Attorney Joe Neal Jr., who serves as president of the Summerville Neighborhood Association, echoed those sentiments, reports a subsequent Chronicle article.

Burglaries and home invasions have been increasing, according to Neal, and "I can tell you right now if someone walks inside my house, I'm going to blow their head off," he tells the newspaper. "If someone is in the house, he is asking to get shot and the law gives them every right to pull the trigger."

The other suspect in the Overstreet case later reportedly turned himself in.

A Chronicle editorial about the shooting notes that homeowners in Georgia have the right to use deadly force within their own homes and calls upon the justice system to deal more effectively with burglars to prevent such incidents.

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