A Houston grand jury yesterday ended the rancorous seven-month debate over Pasadena, Tx., resident Joe Horn’s decision to gun down two illegal immigrant burglars in his front yard, concluding the act was a justifiable use of deadly force and not murder, reports the Houston Chronicle. Each man was shot in the back. They had taken about $2,000 in a burglary next door. Horn’s defense hinged on his assertion that he fired out of fear for his life, making the shooting justifiable under Texas law.
Frank Ortiz of the local League of United Latin American Citizens chapter said he hopes federal authorities investigate the case further, saying, “It’s amazing to me that anyone with a Hispanic surname cannot get justice. This was no more than a vigilante.” In a 911 call, Horn cited a newly enacted Texas law, the “castle doctrine,” which authorizes the use of deadly force during a home invasion. But Sen. Jeff Wentworth, who wrote the law, said it did not apply to Horn because Horn’s home wasn’t under siege – his neighbor’s home was. “It comes from the saying ‘A man’s home is his castle,’ ” Wentworth said. “But this wasn’t his castle.”