A Houston man was charged with Murder in the stabbing death of another man according to this story in the Houston Chronicle. The suspect was later shot by a homeowner when he fled the scene. The victim was flown by Life Flight to Memorial Herman, but later pronounced dead. The suspect survived and is charged with Murder.
An deputy on routine patrol spotted the suspect and victim fighting and stopped to investigate. At that point the suspect fled to a nearby residence, kicked open the front door and went inside. The resident then shot the suspect, who was left with non life-threatening gunshot wound in his arm.
The incident is a good example of Texas self -defense law. For example if the victim had punched the suspect, the suspect was justified in using force when and to the degree it was immediately necessary to protect himself. However, under that scenario if the suspect used a knife, which is a deadly weapon, to defend against being punched, he would not be justified.
The Texas Self Defense Statute is codified in Penal Code Section 9.31:
§ 9.31. SELF-DEFENSE. (a) Except as provided in
Subsection (b), a person is justified in using force against
another when and to the degree he reasonably believes the force is
immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or
attempted use of unlawful force.
(b) The use of force against another is not justified:
(1) in response to verbal provocation alone;
(2) to resist an arrest or search that the actor knows
is being made by a peace officer, or by a person acting in a peace
officer’s presence and at his direction, even though the arrest or
search is unlawful, unless the resistance is justified under
(3) if the actor consented to the exact force used or
attempted by the other;
(4) if the actor provoked the other’s use or attempted
use of unlawful force, unless:
(A) the actor abandons the encounter, or clearly
communicates to the other his intent to do so reasonably believing
he cannot safely abandon the encounter; and
(B) the other nevertheless continues or attempts
to use unlawful force against the actor; or
(5) if the actor sought an explanation from or
discussion with the other person concerning the actor’s differences
with the other person while the actor was:
(A) carrying a weapon in violation of Section
(B) possessing or transporting a weapon in
violation of Section 46.05.
(c) The use of force to resist an arrest or search is
(1) if, before the actor offers any resistance, the
peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts
to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search;
(2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably
believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself
against the peace officer’s (or other person’s) use or attempted use
of greater force than necessary.
(d) The use of deadly force is not justified under this
sub-chapter except as provided in Sections 9.32, 9.33, and 9.34.
However, the homeowner would would be justified in using deadly force as the suspect was unlawfully entering habitation.
If you or someone you know is in need of a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney call Texas Board Certified Attorney Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.