Monday, November 27, 2017

Self-Defense in Knightdale, North Carolina 

Woman "reasonably believed her life to be in danger" 
by Robert A. Waters 

When violent felon Deondrea Allen Branch broke into the office of accountant Connie Wells, she shot him.  A clear case of self-defense, it seems.   

Branch was on probation when he was shot, had just shoplifted 10 bras from Walmart, and was running from police.  Some of his previous arrests included drug charges, assault on a female, injury to personal property, resisting a public officer, obtaining property under false pretenses, failure to appear, and DWIPublic records indicate that Branch started his criminal activity in his mid-teenage years. 

His father, Willie Mitchener, Jr., took issue with the shooting.  Mitchener told reporters that Branch "is still over here (in the hospital) with no options. [I'm] not really understanding where...he was a threat to someone in order for him to get shot." 

"A crime is a crime, but there are levels to everything.  Shoplifting is not right by no means, but that is in no fashion in comparison to your life." 

"He was a great kid In life you make bad choices." 

"The more I learned about the whole situation, the madder I got," Mitchener said.  "You're holding a firearm, so where is the danger at when, you know, you don't see a weapon on him, so you feel like you would have the upper hand anyway But more or less, you didn't give him a chance to respond anyway.  This is a scared kid looking to hide somewhere." 

Damon Cheston, attorney for Connie Wells, replied in a public letter, quoted here in full: 

"It is a tragedy any time a person is seriously injured. 

"While Connie Wells and her family understand the Branch family’s concern, the events of September 18, 2017 in Knightdale are entirely a consequence of Deondrea Branch’s own actions that day. 
  
"North Carolina recognizes a right of self-defense, enshrined in part in common law that dates back hundreds of years and in the Castle Doctrine which allows a person to defend themselves from attack in a person’s home or business. 
    
"54-year-old Connie Wells, 5 feet 2 inches tall, alone and cowering in her closed, locked, and secured office, was in fear for her life as Branch broke into the office.  Branch repeatedly slammed against a 150-lb solid core door, bent the deadbolt securing it, and stormed into Ms. Wells’ office suite. 
   
"He rushed at her as she was trapped in her personal office within the office suite.  Branch ignored Ms. Wells when she screamed at him to 'STOP!' 
  
"Ms. Wells had no idea at the time of the incident that Branch had allegedly stolen items from a nearby Wal-Mart or that he was fleeing from police.  Nor did she know that Branch has a criminal record, an extensive arrest record, and is on probation for a prior drug conviction. 
  
"Surveillance footage is clear.  The incident referred to in press reports occurred just 11 feet from Ms. Wells.  She lawfully exercised her right to self-defense with her legally-possessed firearm.  Ms. Wells fired a single shot because she feared Branch would assault, kill, or do her other harm. Another step and Branch would have been on top of her. 
  
"From the start, Ms. Wells has cooperated fully with authorities.  She and her family appreciate the quick response from the Knightdale Police Department and understand, as is true any time a person exercises the right of self-defense, that responsible authorities must conduct a thorough investigation." 

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Wells will not be charged.  "It has been determined," she wrote, "that Mr. Branch was engaging in the offense of breaking and entering, and that Mrs. Wells reasonably believed her life to be in danger and therefore was justified in using force in self-defense." 

The father of Deondrea Branch indicated that his son was shot in the neck, is partially paralyzed, and will have to learn to walk again. 

1 comment:

shotpusher said...

The gall and the nerve of the perp’s father is unreal! Probably all the trouble he caused while growing up was minimized as well, instead of being met with discipline. No telling what he would have done to the lady if he had got his hands on her. Now tax
payers will have to foot the bill for his medical care the rest of his miserable life.