According to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the shooting took place some time after 4 a.m. this past Friday when 44 year-old Sterlin F. Misener Jr confronted 19 year-old Patrick Hutchison after seeing the teen exit a camper that was parked in Misener’s Naples Driveway.
Misener told authorities that he awoke to the sound of a burglar alarm and shortly after saw Hutchinson exit a camper that was parked in his driveway. According to reports, a confrontation began and Misener stated that the teen lunged at him before he fired the fatal shot.
According to Florida Law, if a person has a reasonable belief that they’re in danger of death or great bodily harm, they can legally respond with deadly force. Further, that a person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm if the intruder had forcefully and unlawfully intered a dewlling, residence, or occupied vehicle.
The statute, enacted in 2005, goes on to state that a person who uses deadly force is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution.
Whether or not the camper parked in Mr. Miseners driveway will meet the definition of “Dwelling” is yet to be determined.
According to the Naples Daly News, Homeowners generally aren’t prosecuted, but a Hillsborough man was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery, was prosecuted, but won a motion to dismiss the charges. The prosecutor appealed and won in December 2007, when the Second District Court of Appeal ruled David Heckman was not entitled to immunity from prosecution under a statute that provides immunity when protecting a home.
The Hillsborough decision will not bar Mr. Miseners ability to use this defense as the two cases are quite different, but Floridians will have to follow this case for the final result.
For more on the Justifiable Use of Deadly Force Defense take a look at Florida Statute Section 776