Homeowner faces manslaughter charges for detaining thief

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Charge may be filed in death of suspected thief

Everett (WA) Herald: A man could face a manslaughter charge in connection with the death of a suspected thief he confronted on his property south of Everett last summer.
Detectives have forwarded the results of their investigation to prosecutors and are recommending a manslaughter charge, said Kevin Prentiss, a bureau chief with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.  Prosecutors are reviewing the file, which details how a man died after he allegedly attempted to steal a boat motor, and was restrained by the owner.
“No charging decision is imminent,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Ed Stemler said. “A charging decision is probably going to be made shortly after the first of the year I would guess.”  Stemler said prosecutors will evaluate the case. They also have people they need to talk to before making a decision.
Dylan Thomas Jones, 23, of Everett, died July 19 in the 400 block of 117th Street SE. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office listed the cause of death as asphyxia due to compression of the neck, and the manner of death as homicide.
Jones reportedly was held down in a driveway by the man, 67, who said he caught him attempting to steal an outboard motor from his boat, which was parked outside his house on a dead-end street.  When deputies arrived, Jones was lying on the ground near the house and was not breathing. Despite attempts to revive the suspect, he died at the scene.
The boat owner said he held down Jones to detain him for police after the two exchanged punches.  The older man said he wrapped an arm around the younger man’s neck and tried to stay on top of him. He said he recognized Jones as a friend of his nephew. “I was scared to death he was going to get up,” he told The Herald the day after the confrontation. “Truthfully, I’m not fighting. I’m hanging on … I hung on because I was scared.”
The homeowner said back in July, “As a parent, I really empathize with his parents,” the man, 67, said while sitting on his concrete front porch Wednesday morning. “Our kids, right or wrong, they are our kids.”  The retired carpenter, who said he lives with arthritis and has two artificial hips, spoke about the fatal encounter on the condition his name and photograph were not used for this story. The man was stiff and sore from the ordeal the day before, and still had a bruised and swollen lip.  “I had no intent for this to escalate to this extent,” he said.
At the time of the incident, the homeowner went to the front yard, he said the younger man was trying to remove an outdoor motor from his boat.  “You don’t expect trouble in the middle of the afternoon,” the man said. “I let him know he was going to face the cops. At that point I was not going to let him leave.”  The younger man made it clear he had no plans to stick around, the retiree said.  Punches were exchanged.  “I remember being on the losing end of slinging fists,” he said. “…I was taking a real shellacking.”
The older man, who stands about 5 foot 10 and weighs around 220 pounds, said he eventually was able to get on top of the suspected thief. His foe was about his height but probably about 50 pounds lighter.
The manner of death was listed as homicide?  Exactly what kind of homicide (in legal terms) – justifiable, excusable, or criminal.  Wouldn’t this be important in justifying a manslaughter charge? And how can the coroner make the homicide determination without a trial before a court of law?
What about the Bill of Rights – don’t we have personal rights and freedoms when it comes to protecting our homes and property?  The homeowner clearly told the young man he was going to call the cops after he caught him in the act.  And the thief engaged  in a fight with the homeowner. 
This is not the first time that a homeowner protecting his property is facing charges and/or time for doing so.  I wrote of a Washington State man who was sentenced to five years in prison for killing a burglar on his property.  And I wrote of another man who was cited for violating gun laws after he shot a prowler on his own property. 
More rights for the criminals than the property owners.  This is what has become of our Amerika today.

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21 responses to “Homeowner faces manslaughter charges for detaining thief

  1. DCG, thanks for posting. I’ll keep my eye out for updates.

  2. He should have just put a bullet in the burglar’s ass.
    If I’m on the jury, the guy is going to walk.

  3. He could’ve detained the alleged thief without killing him; that is the point of him possibly being charged. The young man was making a mistake, but did not deserve to be murdered over an outboard boat motor. The old man probably had insurance on the motor and could’ve gotten a new motor and wouldn’t have taken a young man’s life. I’m all for protecting yourself and property but when a life is needlessly wasted something had to be done. This man can’t expect people to believe that he accidentally choked a man to death. That claim is simply absurd, because he would’ve known he was killing him while choking him. This murder was committed with the highest malice intended because of a damn boat motor.

    • The murder was committed with the highest malice intended? Have you ever been in a situation where your home/property is being stolen and the thief is fighting you? If someone is knowingly committing a “mistake” (i.e., crime) and stealing your property, what makes you think they will abide by any laws and not harm you? One is suppose to laydown because they have insurance? Really? Then why not just put your property out in the front yard for all to have their way with?
      Speaking of malice, wasn’t the thief acting in that manner, committing an unlawful act? The thief was causing harm without legal justification by going onto someone else’s property with the intent to commit a “mistake”. Risky business when you choose to steal property that isn’t yours. Especially when it’s just a stupid boat motor.

      • Not defending the thief, but this old man did not have to kill him in order to protect his boat motor. Call the cops. The article said the alleged thief had no intentions of staying, so in that case still call the cops give them the alleged thief’s description let them do their jobs. He could have let him leave and let the police find him, and no one would’ve gotten murdered. Choking someone to death you can’t say it was accidental. The laws and law enforcement we have are in place for a reason, so citizens don’t have to pay vigilante everytime something happens.

        • Call the cops? When, while engaged ib fight? How do you know the choking was accidental? You’ve tried to choke someone and know when, in the midst of a fight, that you need to stop?
          The laws are in place for a reason….too bad the thief didn’t know this.
          You think cops are going to waste their time finding the thief of a motor boat? Hardly. But guess that’s what insurance is for. Better require all that own property/items purchase insurance then so thieves don”t have to worry about being detained when hey forget to abide by the laws in place.

          • According to this article the man told the guy he was going to call the cops the guy wasn’t going to stick around to to get caught by the cops there. The older man instigated the violence by trying to play the role of vigilante. The thief would have probably left the boat motor and everything else he took, if anything, and left peacefully.
            And seriously is a boat motor, or any other material possession worth taking a life over? I think not. got it? They made the whole thing up.

            • According to this article the man told the guy he was going to call the cops the guy wasn’t going to stick around to to get caught by the cops there. The older man instigated the violence by trying to play the role of vigilante. The thief would have probably left the boat motor and everything else he took, if anything, and left peacefully.
              And seriously is a boat motor, or any other material possession worth taking a life over? I think not.

            • Why am I not surprised of your answers, seeing that your email indicates you are posting from an address associated with a public liberal arts college.
              Would I kill someone over a boat motor, prob not. But if someone steals from me something that I earned with MY money, why should I laydown and let them take it? As I said before, being a criminal is risky.

              • @DCG,
                You are absolutely right my Alma mater for my undergraduate Bachelor’s degree is from a public liberal arts college of which I am very proud to have my degree from that school. It prepared me well for my Graduate Program in which I am enrolled now at a different college. That however has no bearing in my views on this old man killing a youth to protect his ability to go out boating on the weekends.
                I do not believe it is right for the youth to steal the property of the man, but to take the kid’s life is taking the punishment for said crime exponentially too far. Even in an ‘eye for an eye’ society this is too harsh a punishment.

                • I’ve read most of “Atlas Shrugged”… I will not have leisure time to finish reading this book, or read freely, for that matter, until my Graduate Program is done.
                  By your last paragraph you say ‘intent to do harm to me or mine’ do you mean this to be physical, emotional, or psychological harm?

                  • @ sage_brush Quite easily actually. Ayn Rand is not as highly revered in literary circles as many seem to believe.

                  • @GrouchFogie,
                    No I quite literally meant LITERARY CIRCLES. One can, and most often does, obtain a degree in English without ever having to read Ayn Rand. Just because her books have been in print for a long time does not mean they are respected in the Literary community.

                  • Let me qualify that statement. I retract “respected” because she is respected: however, she is not seen as enough of a major literary figure to study alongside the greats.

            • @GrouchyFogie,,
              I agree that the youth was not practicing self-responsibility by attempting to rob this old guy. However, the only thing keeping the older man from having a murder charge is that he did not use a gun if the youth was unarmed, which this article does not address whether or not he was armed. Had the old guy pulled a gun and shot an unarmed robber he used a form of protection that was not warranted because the youth was unarmed. If he were to have killed the youth with a handgun or any other firearm he used aggression above and beyond what the youth was capable of at the time. At least that’s the laws where I’m from. And let’s not take this into a religious debate about ideologies, because honestly this case has nothing to do with religion. However, it does seem that every time I comment on religion on this page i get blocked from whatever thread I’m commenting on lol. I guess my views on religion aren’t meant to be heard on this page.

              • How is the property owner to know what the thief is capable of? We know one thing for sure, he was capable of breaking the law in an attempt to steal.
                You do not have to see a weapon to draw your own firearm and shoot, least around here (though that is now in question, whole point of the other links, you can’t shoot to protect yourself). If I feel threatened or my life in danger, I’m shooting. And courts are more lenient in this when it comes to a woman alone, protecting herself.
                Like GF said, the owner prob didn’t mean to kill the thief. But you forfeit rights when you break the law and enter a man’s home to steal what is not yours.

  4. you’ve GOT to remember to let them breath….
    or be prepared to do CPR….easier to let them breath

  5. Rights! What rights? Only criminals have rights in Ireland anyway. The felon kills you he gets 2 years, you kill the felon you get life.

  6. @GrouchyFogie,
    In all my years in Literature programs we never covered her writings. I have friends across the nation that have never studied her in their Literature programs. And getting your work in print for seventy years requires nothing more than developing a cult following. Look at L. Ron Hubbard, he was a Science Fiction writer and he developed a cult following and then released Dianetics, and successfully started his own religion… Scientology… A cult following is all it takes to keep your work in print.

  7. How much is a life worth? I think that depends upon the culture into which one is born.
    My husband worked in Nigeria back in the early 90’s and life was very cheap there. Once a woman tried to steal an empty steel drum from the yard in which he was working. A Nigerian guard (there are always guards there) shot and killed her, for a drum.
    In New Orleans recently, a Doctor was knifed to death, for a few bucks in his pocket. He was left to bleed out on a dirty city street. Whose life was more valuable in this situation?
    There is an under-culture developing in the US, that has no respect for life, it was proceeded by no respect for property. Is a pair of Jordan shoes, a few bucks, a steel drum or a boat motor worth a life?


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