There are usually two sides to a story, right? It’s a common expression, and a perfect example of it came up recently.
There was an article in the Insurance Journal with the headline, “Lawsuits Filed Against South Carolina Homeowner Who Killed Intruder.” You can read that article here (http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2015/12/31/393397.htm). The article went on to say that two lawsuits were filed by the mother of a man, named Leandus Pickens, who was fatally shot by a homeowner in South Carolina. The homeowner, Marcus Brown, said Pickens was trying to break into his house when the shooting occurred.
Each lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages. The first lawsuit alleges that the homeowner caused the death by “negligently and recklessly discharging a firearm.” The second lawsuit alleges that the homeowner failed to exercise ordinary care before shooting
According to the article, the homeowner said he was acting in self-defense when he shot an unknown intruder who was climbing through a window in his home. The article also points out that no criminal charges would be brought against the homeowner.
And that was where, according to this article, the story stopped. The online story generated many comments. Commenters called the lawsuits “frivolous” and “bogus.” One commenter suggested the mother pay the homeowner’s legal bills after she loses, while another suggested that the mother’s lawyer should bear all court costs and pay a hefty fine.
But one commenter shared a link to an Independent Mail article on the same incident. You can read that article here (http://www.independentmail.com/news/shooting-death-draws-clashing-opinions-ep-867394754-343730392.html). Immediately this article portrayed the events in a different light with the headline, “Shooting death draws clashing opinions.”
This article provides additional information regarding the events that took place. According to the article, a County Coroner’s report says Brown staged the fatal shooting at his home to make it appear that he was defending himself from an intruder.
The report provides several reasons supporting the Coroner’s conclusion including the size of the window compared to the size of Pickens. There was blood smeared on the inside of the window, which indicated to the coroner that the window was opened from the inside of the residence by someone with bloody hands. No blood was found on Pickens’ hands.
The report alleged inconsistencies with Brown’s statements and the angle at which Pickens was shot and a lack of damage to blinds and flower pots near the window. While this is only an opinion from one investigator, it certainly raises questions about what happened that evening.
Without the link to the Independent Mail article, it’s clear to a reader that Brown was justified in defending his home and that Pickens’ mother’s lawsuit may have lacked merit. But once both stories are reviewed, the mother’s two lawsuits suddenly might not look so bogus after all.