Nevada jury finds man not guilty in killing of unarmed trespasser

Big ChiefBig Chief Senior MemberPosts: 32,990 Senior Member
I personally THINK I would not have shot them, but I wasn't there. Been better if he retreated (if he could have safely) and called the police to evict the trespassers.

I am for our SYG law here in FLA 100%, but have my own personal breakpoints when, where and under what circumstances I would exercise that right which may be somewhat on the safe side after the tripwire to use the law has been set-off. I am more prone to avoiding having to use deadly force if I can avoid it.

Don't get me wrong if my life is in imminent danger or my family, I won't risk being a nice guy....................... I guess what I'm trying to say is because I can shoot under SYG doesn't always mean I would in certain circumstances.

What say you?

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/05/30/nevada-finds-man-not-guilty-in-killing-unarmed-trespasser/?intcmp=latestnews

"RENO, Nev. – Accused of murder for confronting two unarmed trespassers with a deadly barrage of gunfire, Wayne Burgarello walked out of a Nevada courthouse a free man after the jury found him not guilty of all charges in the latest of a series of cases nationally testing the boundaries of stand-your-ground self-defense laws.

"It's going to be OK," he said as he laughed with family members outside the courtroom after hugging his lawyer after the clerk's reading of the verdicts Friday night.

Burgarello, 74, a retired Sparks school teacher, insisted he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Cody Devine and seriously wounded Janai Wilson in a vacant, rundown duplex he owns in February 2014.

A jury deliberated for six hours before finding him not guilty on a charge of attempted murder as well as four alternative charges of first- and second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. He would have faced up to life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder.

Burgarello's lawyer told reporters he wanted to go home with his loved ones after a long day and had no further comment.

"We'd just like to say thank you to the jury for finally seeing what this case was about, which is justified self-defense," Reno attorney Theresa Ristenpart said. "He did what he had to do to protect his own life."

A friend of the Devine family who now serves as a victims advocate in Minnesota said state lawmakers need to re-examine "how these stand-your-ground laws have led to unjust homicides."

"Justice was not served today," said the Rev. Howard Dotson, a former Sparks minister. "Cody Devine did not deserve to die for being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Washoe County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Hahn had argued first-degree murder was warranted because Burgarello acted with premeditation. He said Burgarello wanted to exact revenge for repeated burglaries at the property he largely abandoned nine years ago in a working-class neighborhood just east of Reno.

"There was going to be a deadly confrontation," he told the jury. "He was mad. Somebody was going to pay."

Hahn declined to say whether he was surprised by the verdicts Friday night.

"The Sparks Police Department did a tremendous investigative effort and we're grateful for the jury's service," he told The Associated Press.

Wilson testified during the two-week trial that she stayed at the duplex off and on for three years. She said Burgarello opened fire without provocation while she and Devine were sleeping in a makeshift bed on the floor.

Neither trespasser had a firearm, but Burgarello told police Devine's arm "came up like a gun."

Ristenpart said he might have mistaken a black flashlight found at the scene for a gun and had only a split second to respond. She said it was Devine and Wilson, not Burgarello, who "created the dangerous, threatening situation, trespassing, getting high on meth and being where they shouldn't be, where they had no right to be."

"The state wants you to find Wayne was the aggressor for going into his own home. That's not being aggressive. That's your right," she said.

Hahn said the trespassers had no business being there, but did nothing to threaten Burgarello and didn't deserve to be "shot like fish in a barrel on the floor."

Devine was shot five times, including once in the head. Wilson was shot three times.

"It wasn't one or two (shots), then we'll talk. It was eight rounds," Hahn said. "It was open season."

Nevada's stand-your-ground law allows property owners to use deadly force against attackers who pose an imminent threat, regardless of whether they are armed as long as the shooter isn't the initial aggressor.

More than 30 states have adopted or strengthened stand-your-ground laws since Florida expanded its law in 2005 to allow deadly force outside the home. Interpretation of those laws has been controversial since a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman in Trayvon Martin's 2012 shooting death."
It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
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Replies

  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Posts: 6,412 Senior Member
    So long as none of the shots were delivered 'coup de grace' style, I'm good.


    Carry on, folks...nothing to see here.
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,665 Senior Member
    Yeah definitely sounds like this guy was just sick of squatters and decided to do something about it. I don't know how I feel about this, but then if you don't want people squatting then don't abandon your property. If you leave a piece of property unoccupied, unmaintained, and unused for 9 years, you can pretty much expect things to happen to it.
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,614 Senior Member
    Facts here are skimpy, but it's not likely I would have voted for conviction. You can't write laws that cover every possible eventuality, and there are hundreds of ways that such a confrontation can 'go sideways.'

    Bottom line: The guy set out to protect his property, the people were trespassing, and there was apparently insufficient evidence to suggest that the landowner set out to kill unarmed trespassers. He had a right to patrol his property, armed, and the events that transpired as a result apparently can't be cleared up with conclusive evidence. In other words, he walks...just as dozens (or hundreds?) of felons do, every day of the year, when the evidence to convict is not there. Knowing that a crime has been committed does not equal proving it - it works for both sides.
  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Posts: 6,412 Senior Member
    Yeah definitely sounds like this guy was just sick of squatters and decided to do something about it. I don't know how I feel about this, but then if you don't want people squatting then don't abandon your property. If you leave a piece of property unoccupied, unmaintained, and unused for 9 years, you can pretty much expect things to happen to it.


    Not sure where you get this...as our own Jermanator can attest, 'squatters' often do LARGE amounts of damage in the name of 'just hangin' around'. The DA even referenced 'multiple burglaries' as reasoning for charging the defendant with murder one. Trespassing is still trespassing regardless of the reason. Whether or not the property was 'unused, unmaintained and unoccupied' is irrelevant, and doing so does not justify another's poor choices.

    He maintains that he wanted to run off those poor squatters that were probably just getting their lives turned around, or hold them for authorities...apparently the jury agreed. Asserting anything else is talking out of your six.
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    I personally THINK I would not have shot them, but I wasn't there. Been better if he retreated (if he could have safely) and called the police to evict the trespassers.

    I am for our SYG law here in FLA 100%, but have my own personal breakpoints when, where and under what circumstances I would exercise that right which may be somewhat on the safe side after the tripwire to use the law has been set-off. I am more prone to avoiding having to use deadly force if I can avoid it.

    Don't get me wrong if my life is in imminent danger or my family, I won't risk being a nice guy....................... I guess what I'm trying to say is because I can shoot under SYG doesn't always mean I would in certain circumstances.

    What say you?

    I agree with you on the general idea of avoiding lethal force if possible. We can't always be perfect of course, and it seems from the account that the guy was marginally within his rights and therefore his innocence is a good thing.

    It's likely that a similar event in Texas might not have even resulted in an indictment, unless you were in Austin, maybe (liberal bastion that it is).

    Good verdict of course. But I also tend to agree with you that he might have also shown more restraint and not fired. However, as you also say, we weren't there so we can never know the actual circumstances.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 7,000 Senior Member
    With more SYG laws, castle doctrine, and CCW around the country, we're going to see more cases like this, and the thing to keep in mind when judging them is WHAT THE LAW IS, without allowing our personal opinions of the shooter's judgement and character to excessively Monday-morning quarterback the incident.

    The alternative is Ferguson and Baltimore-like situations where criminals are afforded more courtesy under the system than the people who are trying to stop them.

    Which world would YOU rather live in?
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,990 Senior Member
    Bigslug wrote: »
    With more SYG laws, castle doctrine, and CCW around the country, we're going to see more cases like this, and the thing to keep in mind when judging them is WHAT THE LAW IS, without allowing our personal opinions of the shooter's judgement and character to excessively Monday-morning quarterback the incident.

    The alternative is Ferguson and Baltimore-like situations where criminals are afforded more courtesy under the system than the people who are trying to stop them.

    Which world would YOU rather live in?

    I see your point, but just because something falls within legal parameters doesn't mean one should always do it.

    What if it would have been two teenagers screwing in an old shack just because they were on his property should he shoot them just because he would be legal? Obviously they would be startled and grab for flashlight too if they had one.................

    Now in this case if they would have pulled a gun/ knife/ threatened him or approached him menacingly, yes I can see pulling the trigger, but from what I know so far like others I say he pushed the limits of a justifiable shoot on this one.

    This was not a police involved incident and yes you are correct in every city where they have riots they have backed off from enforcing the law and crime has skyrocketed and even in places where they have stopped things like stop and frisk like NYC and more aggressive policing, crime has spiked too.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 19,314 Senior Member
    People doing something they shouldn't be doing in a place where they shouldn't be do NOT get my sympathies. As BC says, we weren't there so we don't know if it was a justified shoot or not - BUT the criminals have been getting away with far too much for far too many years.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,655 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    I see your point, but just because something falls within legal parameters doesn't mean one should always do it.

    What if it would have been two teenagers screwing in an old shack just because they were on his property should he shoot them just because he would be legal? Obviously they would be startled and grab for flashlight too if they had one.................

    Went into a lot of vacant houses for sex and this law does make murder pretty easy to get away with. Look at the guy that killed his daughters boyfriend that she bought into the house for sex, no charges. I like the law but it has a major flaw.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,655 Senior Member
    zorba wrote: »
    As BC says, we weren't there so we don't know if it was a justified shoot or not -

    There is the rub, no one does.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,492 Senior Member
    Buford wrote: »
    Went into a lot of vacant houses for sex and this law does make murder pretty easy to get away with. Look at the guy that killed his daughters boyfriend that she bought into the house for sex, no charges. I like the law but it has a major flaw.
    What flaw?

    If this guy was going to do murder, he wouldnt have shot 8 times. Sneak in and pop one in the grape at close range, trap the place, or lay in wait. Sorry, it was a 74 (SEVENTY FOUR) year old who found two meth heads in his house. ANYTHING but rolling over on your face with your hands locked behind your head is a ADDITIONAL aggressive act.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,614 Senior Member
    Buford wrote: »
    I like the law but it has a major flaw.

    Every law we pass has unexpected consequences. Laws are just like every other political action that is taken - they benefit some, at the expense of others. If any political act or law benefits the majority, it has accomplished all that any government action is capable of.
    .
  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,665 Senior Member
    coolgunguy wrote: »
    Not sure where you get this...as our own Jermanator can attest, 'squatters' often do LARGE amounts of damage in the name of 'just hangin' around'. The DA even referenced 'multiple burglaries' as reasoning for charging the defendant with murder one. Trespassing is still trespassing regardless of the reason. Whether or not the property was 'unused, unmaintained and unoccupied' is irrelevant, and doing so does not justify another's poor choices.

    He maintains that he wanted to run off those poor squatters that were probably just getting their lives turned around, or hold them for authorities...apparently the jury agreed. Asserting anything else is talking out of your six.

    Agree that trespassers can cause a lot of damage, that's why IMHO it's unwise to leave any property you own unused and unoccupied for long periods of time. Where things get fuzzy for me is that this wasn't someone breaking into his prmary residence while he was occupying it, it was him entering a piece of property he owned and confronting individuals trespassing there. Trespassing is a crime and those doing so should be punished. However I'm not a huge fan of deputizing property owners with the right to dole out a death sentence for what in many states is a misdemeanor offense.

    Sure, the law is the law, and it appears that at least in the eyes of the jurors in this case he was within his rights to shoot, but that doesn't mean it was necessarily the right thing to do.
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,340 Senior Member
    Try "securing" a piece of property against determined trespassers sometime. My grandmother's home sat empty for a few years in a deteriorating neighborhood in east Nashville and it was broken into and vandalized several times. Nothing short of razor wire and claymore mines will keep some of the more determined ones out. The woman who survived the shooting admitted she had been using the place as a shooting gallery for some time, and both she and the guy who died had been shooting up meth just before the confrontation. How to you reason with a methed-up drug freak- - - -politely ask them to leave?
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,990 Senior Member
    I guess what we all are really trying to say is we wished it had turned out differently, even though we all agree that SYG laws are a good thing and it is better the property owner was found to have acted within the law by his actions than not. Even though a lot of us may have reacted differently.

    Because we all know in some states he would have been prosecuted even if they had attacked him.

    I don't relish ever having to make such a decision.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 25,957 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    Try "securing" a piece of property against determined trespassers sometime. My grandmother's home sat empty for a few years in a deteriorating neighborhood in east Nashville and it was broken into and vandalized several times. Nothing short of razor wire and claymore mines will keep some of the more determined ones out. The woman who survived the shooting admitted she had been using the place as a shooting gallery for some time, and both she and the guy who died had been shooting up meth just before the confrontation. How to you reason with a methed-up drug freak- - - -politely ask them to leave?
    Jerry

    I've dealt with a few meth heads in the neighborhood over the years. And I can say that doing so unarmed would be damned foolish. While high or crashing from a high, meth heads are paranoid beyond belief.

    I have an old house and an outbuilding on the farm that used to be a magnet for trespassers. I removed the floors from both, boarded up the windows, and removed the flooring from both. If they knock down the padlocked doors with the NO TRESPASSING signs on them and fall onto the floor joists and break a bone or three, then it sucks to be them.

    The solution has always been so simple even a child can understand. If you don't own it, if you don't have permission to enter, then stay the hell out and there won't be problems. Not a hard concept to grasp.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.


  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,737 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote: »

    The solution has always been so simple even a child can understand. If you don't own it, if you don't have permission to enter, then stay the hell out and there won't be problems. Not a hard concept to grasp.
    :win:
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,655 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote: »
    The solution has always been so simple even a child can understand. If you don't own it, if you don't have permission to enter, then stay the hell out and there won't be problems. Not a hard concept to grasp.

    Actually it is not. Young folks and underage drinking, drinking while driving, exploring abandoned houses, illegal fire works and the list goes on I have done all of these and some I wont mention. I knew better then but I really didn't care. I just don't think you should kill someone for doing stupid . I don't know the answer but this law opens up the door for murder after all it's just you and the dead dead person, we weren't there.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • horselipshorselips Senior Member Posts: 3,626 Senior Member
    From the news story:

    NOT this > "Justice was not served today," said the Rev. Howard Dotson, a former Sparks minister. "Cody Devine did not deserve to die for being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

    BUT this > Ristenpart said he might have mistaken a black flashlight found at the scene for a gun and had only a split second to respond. She said it was Devine and Wilson, not Burgarello, who "created the dangerous, threatening situation, trespassing, getting high on meth and being where they shouldn't be, where they had no right to be."

    End of story. Not guilty. Case closed.
  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,655 Senior Member
    I'm looking at in general it opens the door to kill someone because your angry and you can.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 25,957 Senior Member
    Buford wrote: »
    Actually it is not. Young folks and underage drinking, drinking while driving, exploring abandoned houses, illegal fire works and the list goes on I have done all of these and some I wont mention. I knew better then but I really didn't care. I just don't think you should kill someone for doing stupid . I don't know the answer but this law opens up the door for murder after all it's just you and the dead dead person, we weren't there.

    That was a long time ago. Times have changed, and not for the better. What would get you yelled at and your parents involved then has turned into dangerous situations now, for both trespasser and owner of property. Like I already said, surprise a tweaker on a 72 hour high and see how that works out for you. Nowadays a trespasser may be a little lamb or a rabid wolf, and you'd better be prepared to deal with either.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.


  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,655 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote: »
    That was a long time ago. Times have changed, and not for the better. What would get you yelled at and your parents involved then has turned into dangerous situations now, for both trespasser and owner of property. Like I already said, surprise a tweaker on a 72 hour high and see how that works out for you. Nowadays a trespasser may be a little lamb or a rabid wolf, and you'd better be prepared to deal with either.

    Can't argue with that.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • horselipshorselips Senior Member Posts: 3,626 Senior Member
    Buford wrote: »
    I'm looking at in general it opens the door to kill someone because your angry and you can.

    How on earth did you arrive at that conclusion? Nowhere has anyone gotten away with killing someone they were just angry at. Nowhere. Ever. And this case had nothing to do with anger at all. Just fear of a couple of meth heads looking like they were armed while trespassing. No doors have been opened here, it's not open season on kids. Get a grip.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Buford wrote: »
    I'm looking at in general it opens the door to kill someone because your angry and you can.

    Don't think that's true at all. I'm questioning the actions of the guy but he was marginally within his rights. These were trespassers who had zero business to be there. I'm not saying they were fair game but they were the ones breaking the law in the first place.

    The shooter may have indeed thought that the flashlight was a weapon. Or he may have just shot the guys because he wanted to. We'll never know. But what we DO know for certain is that if they weren't on his property, they wouldn't have been shot.

    As horse says, case closed.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,655 Senior Member
    Again, I'm talking about the law in general.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Okay, fine with me. I just respectfully disagree that the law tends to allow that, is all.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Posts: 6,412 Senior Member
    My God, I'm agreeing with horse and Sam in the same post, and disagreeing with Buford...:tooth:
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    coolgunguy wrote: »
    My God, I'm agreeing with horse and Sam in the same post, and disagreeing with Buford...:tooth:

    Hey, you throw "stuff" against a wall it sometimes sticks, right? ha ha\\

    Seriously, I understand the idea of keeping your property secure and dealing with intruders. And we'll never know whether the squatters actually presented a threat or not, or whether the shooter acting unjustly.

    Myself, I'd be extremely careful about when to shoot or not. And I really don't think it's justifiable to shoot someone on your property just because they're there. Some hard liners here think so but I respectfully disagree.

    However, if a threat is presented, such as might have really happened with the squatter pulling out a flashlight and trying to pretend it's a gun (this sort of idiotic behavior does occur, why I don't know, except that druggies simply don't act rationally) and getting shot for it? I certainly don't blame the property owner.

    But frankly, I do disagree with Buford that this opens the door for egregious flaunting of the Castle Doctrine. This particular case was bordernline, but I sure as hell wouldn't want to be the property owner who shot a trespasser and finds himself indicted for 2nd degree murder.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Posts: 6,412 Senior Member
    I'm with you...I fail to see how SYG has made things worse for those who are legally in the right. For those who are working outside the confines of lawfulness...tough cheese.
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,492 Senior Member
    Quote Originally Posted by tennmike View Post
    The solution has always been so simple even a child can understand. If you don't own it, if you don't have permission to enter, then stay the hell out and there won't be problems. Not a hard concept to grasp.
    Buford:
    Actually it is not. Young folks and underage drinking, drinking while driving, exploring abandoned houses, illegal fire works and the list goes on I have done all of these and some I wont mention. I knew better then but I really didn't care. I just don't think you should kill someone for doing stupid . I don't know the answer but this law opens up the door for murder after all it's just you and the dead dead person, we weren't there.
    tennmike wrote: »
    That was a long time ago. Times have changed, and not for the better. What would get you yelled at and your parents involved then has turned into dangerous situations now, for both trespasser and owner of property. Like I already said, surprise a tweaker on a 72 hour high and see how that works out for you. Nowadays a trespasser may be a little lamb or a rabid wolf, and you'd better be prepared to deal with either.
    And the ones not on drugs think they are entitled to the property, and are prepared to fight for it. You just stated you knew better. I bet you had a good idea what would happen if you were caught and expected it to happen, you just thought you were invulnerable. Society teaches that you are not responsible for your actions and you are entitled to whatever you want.
    FOX10 spoke exclusively to both the unnamed Good Samaritan and the family members of White. They're livid that their son was shot while pointing a gun in someone's face.

    “If [the customer's] life was not in danger, if no one had a gun up to him, if no one pointed a gun at him - what gives him the right to think that it's okay to just shoot someone?” a relative, who wished to remain anonymous, told FOX10. “You should have just left the store and went wherever you had to go in your car or whatever.”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/22/adric-white-robbery_n_4323080.html
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
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