Saturday, February 29, 2020

Montana Court Case Involving Self-Defense

“The sound of breaking glass…”
Written by Robert A. Waters

The following court document describes a home break-in that ended with the resident shooting an intruder in Missoula, Montana.  State of Montana vs. Dillon Torey Franklin tells the story.  (NOTE: I have taken the liberty to change the legal format into readable paragraphs.)

The Story

“On Sunday, September 15, 2013 at approximately 2:00 a.m., Detectives Stacy Lear and Arianna Adams responded to 532 N. Pattee Street in Missoula County for a report of a burglary in which the homeowner, 77-year-old Robert ‘Bob’ Withrow Jones, had shot Defendant, 22-year-old Dillon Torey Franklin.

“The detectives were briefed by officers on the scene.  Mr. Jones informed them he was sleeping when he woke up to the sound of breaking glass.  Mr. Jones began walking to the living room and heard the sound of breaking glass again.  He then went back to his bedroom where he retrieved his .357 magnum handgun.

“Mr. Jones yelled out and asked Defendant who was there and [ordered him] to stop.  Mr. Jones yelled again to the person that he had a gun and to stop.  The suspect had gained entry and Mr. Jones [once again] told the person to stop or he would shoot.  The suspect was in a standing position and continued to come into the house…

“Defendant, on notice that Mr. Jones had a gun, did not stop as instructed and took one step forward… At that time, Mr. Jones fired one shot and Defendant fell over.  Mr. Jones immediately called 911 and officers and EMS arrived.  Mr. Jones acted in self-defense and reported he was scared during the incident and felt his life was in danger.”


While in the hospital being treated for a gunshot wound to the abdomen, Dillon Torey Franklin, 22, admitted he was high on methamphetamine and heroin when he broke into Jones’ home.  In his clothing, investigators found drug paraphernalia and meth.  He verbally abused staff at the hospital, calling them “monsters,” among other things.

Franklin eventually pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and was given a deferred sentence of 6 years of house arrest.  The court mandated that he wear an ankle GPS monitor and alcohol monitor for his entire sentence.

Self-defense with guns

What is missing in all the talk about gun restrictions is the reality that Americans use firearms every day for self-defense.  Checking online newspapers can be a start to learning more about this positive aspect of guns.  Online, there are literally thousands of stories similar (or more harrowing) to the one mentioned above.  And these are just the cases that found their way to some local newspaper—many times, the mere threat of a gun is enough to scare off an attacker.  No shot is fired and no report made.  Carjackers, rapists, robbers, home invaders, domestic abusers, terrorists and murderers are among the violent criminals who have been stopped in their tracks by armed citizens.

Both sides of the story

When discussing gun issues, politicians tend to ignore the use of firearms for self-defense.  But unless this aspect of guns is examined fully by policy-makers and the public, no rational decision can be made.  As Paul Harvey used to say, it’s time to present the “other side of the story.”

Meanwhile, in the heartland of this exceptional country, guns are used every day to save lives.

Robert A. Waters is the author of six true crime books, four of which focus on self-defense stories.  His latest, co-written with his son, Sim Waters, is entitled, Guns and Self-Defense: 23 Inspirational True Crime Stories ofSurvival with Firearms.     

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