Janorris Hughes (a convicted felon) committed a home invasion in Fayetteville, PA, and got into a fight over control of the rifle with Terry L. Fulton (who had his own rap sheet), in which Fulton was shot three times.
Hughes and Fulton dropped the rifle, and each tried to make their respective escapes. Hughes apparently ran in circles, while Fulton crashed his car trying to reach the hospital, and was carted away by EMS.
After the Hughes-Fulton fight and flight, Mickle Joe Shaffer (who had four DWIs) picked up the rifle, reloaded it with his own ammunition, and went hunting for Hughes.
Shaffer cornered Hughes, and the situation went downhill from there.
Police interviewed the rest of the people who were at the house, but did not identify them in court documents. They reportedly told police the same story about Hughes leaving the residence after the attempted robbery, and seeing Shaffer come back inside with the rifle. According to the affidavit, they told police that they saw Shaffer load the rifle with his own rounds, and heard him say, “I’ll shoot that (expletive) with his own rifle.”
The witnesses told police they saw Shaffer go outside with the rifle and flashlight and, about 30 minutes later, heard him shout, “I’ve got him trapped!”
The witnesses also told police they saw Hughes trying to climb the embankment, saw Shaffer pointing the gun at his back, then heard the gunshot.
They saw the man flip over onto his back and hold his lower abdominal area, and heard Shaffer say, “Move and I’ll shoot you again!”
It was only after Hughes stopped moving that Shaffer decided to call for law enforcement, roughly an hour after the incident started.
While we can all grasp that Shaffer was angry at being the victim of a home invasion and seeing his friend Fulton shot, it does not justify going out hunting for another man, and shooting him in the back as he desperately tried to escape by climbing a snow-covered embankment.
This was without a doubt a criminal homicide and not remotely a legitimate case of self defense, and considering the 30 minute search with premeditated deadly force intent—remember that Shaffer said, “I’ll shoot that (expletive) with his own rifle”—there is the possibility of murder charge, not just manslaughter.
I doubt anyone will long lament the death of home invader Janorris Hughes, but society cannot allow citizens to murder even men like Hughes in cold blood.