Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sound the Horn: In Texas, You Can Kill Without Being Threatened

by Katherine Scardino

Everyone is talking about Joe Horn, the Pasadena, Texas citizen who shot two Black burglars in the back after he saw them burglarizing his neighbor’s residence. We have all heard the 911 taped conversation with Mr. Horn - where the Operator is saying "Don’t go out there" . . . "Stay inside" . . . "You are going to get shot." (Listen to the call here.)

And our Mr. Horn (pictured upper left) stating that he is going to go outside with his gun and shoot them. He did, and he killed two people. Two people who were Black, burglarizing a home, and I have heard, were illegal immigrants.

This week, he was "no-billed" by a Harris County Grand Jury, meaning he will not face criminal charges for the deaths of two people, Diego Ortiz (left center) and Miguel Antonio DeJesus (lower left).

Let’s look at our Penal Code to see whether we agree with the Grand Jury. Did he use deadly force in defense of himself? No, we know he was inside his house when he called 911 dispatch; the burglars were not burglarizing his home; nor did they provoke Mr. Horn.

How about the use of deadly force in defense of a third person? No, there was no "third person" around.

That leaves us with whether he was engaged in the "protection of one’s own property." He is justified in using deadly force to protect his property when he "reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the property."

But wait a second. That refers to his own property. How about another person’s property? Under this statute, he is justified in using deadly force if he "reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary" to prevent the burglars from "imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, etc."

I thought the burglars were walking away from his neighbor’s home. If so, there is no "imminent" offense.

So why is he being allowed to walk away? What attitude have we assumed that says he did the right thing. I know. Could it be that the people in our area are sick and tired of their hard-earned property being stolen, their women being raped and/or assaulted, criminals breaking into homes and taking property, killing people, and the list goes on. We are just sick of it. And, you know what? I agree.

Do you think Joe Horn would be facing charges if Joe Horn was Black and he killed two White people under the very same circumstances? Yes, I believe that. I know it is terribly insulting to us to think that we are still racially motivated. But come on, let’s get real. Because we are fed up with crime and because he "only killed two Black people" who were "illegal immigrants" are the reasons Joe Horn can breathe easy today.

Maybe that’s OK. What do you think?


Sandy said...

I think that it doesn't matter if the two burgulars were purple with yellow polka dots, they shouldn't have been up to no good, and they might still be alive. Perhaps that is why there is so much crime. This race card is played too often. Right is right and wrong is wrong no matter what color any of us are.

Anonymous said...

Yes, people are sick of being violated and losing their hard earned valuables to SOBs that want to support their drug habits and those that are just too lazy to get a job.

I think this case, like a lot of others, kind of straddles the fence. I can accept the GJs decision to let him walk and I could have accepted it if they deceided that he should have just called 911 since it wasn't himself or his property that he was trying to protect, and they had indicted him. IMHO, either decision is understandable.

As far as race goes, I tend to disagree. I would have to know the race of each of the Grand Jurors to make that assumption. Where I live, there is more black on black crime than anything else. And I don't have any doubt that if it were two white guys running from his neighbors house, Mr. Horn would have shot them.

Wow, someone was busy last night.

Rob Taylor said...

Why's Illegal immigrants" in quotes?

I happen to be (half) Black and I don't know if Hor's a racist but I think there's more to it thant that on the part of the jury.

These two were breaking into a homein broad daylight. When I lived in the worst areas in Jersey the daylight hours were safe enough that there would be no break ins. They robbed a house in front of other people without a care in the world.

There's an essay called Importing Violence by a woman (I forget her name but she wrote the book Vulture)which discusses the increase in crime that is due to our unwillingness to advocate for Assimilation as a gaol of immigration from cultures where criminality is more acceptable. The horn case in my minds illustrates the backlash of communities that are routinely victimized by violent aliens who have no impetus to assimilate into American culture.

Anonymous said...

rob - this is texas, not nj - and race has been front and center in this case down here with the illegal immigration issue explodng along our border. plus joe horn's a redneck if i evern seen one. open any newspaper around here. its everywere. check out the houston chronicle -

Community activists, who denounced the grand jury's decision on Monday, said they planned to stage a demonstration outside the Harris County District Attorney's office next week.

Community activist Quannel X accused the district attorney's office and the justice system in Harris County of being racist and broken and needing to be fixed.

Torres and Ortiz were unemployed illegal immigrants from Colombia. Horn is white. Torres had been deported to Colombia in 1999 after a 1994 cocaine-related conviction.

"I believe that the racist mind-set that was there when Chuck Rosenthal was leading that office is still in existence in that office today," Quannel X said. "I believe that mind-set would allow a grand jury to be impaneled that is the racial makeup of really one race."

Quannel X said he suspected most of the grand jurors were white and called on the new district attorney, Kenneth Magidson, to release details about the racial makeup of the grand jury that cleared Horn.

Rosenthal, the former district attorney, resigned in February under the weight of a scandal involving the release of dozens of controversial e-mails, including racist ones, found on his office computer.

The city's black activists began to publicly question whether race played a role in several incidents in Rosenthal's career.

His assistant district attorneys were accused of finding creative ways to strike blacks from juries and using racist code words to discuss black jurors.

Donna Hawkins, Magidson's spokeswoman, said a court order issued by the judge who handled the grand jury prevents the release of their names or any other information about the panel.

Grand jury proceedings are secret and normally no information about panel members is made public, she said.

Anonymous said...

The fact of the matter is that Horn didn't know those two were illegal immigrants when he shot them. That wasn't determined by the authorities until later. And the prosecutor isn't responsible for the Grand Jurors decision to no bill the indictment against Horn. Even if the DA is a racist, that has nothing to do with the GJs decision. Unless all the Gjs happend to be racist. And as you pointed out Funky, we don't know the demographic makeup of the GJs. So it is out of line to automatically assume that race is an issue in this case.

Anonymous said...

I agree with ya there Leah. It seems to me that most people are sick of being taken advantage of. We live in a society where the rules have gone out the window. Parents make excuses for their childrens bad behavior instead of allowing them to be punished. The majority thinks they are entitled to something even if they have not earned it.
I am not sure that shooting these two was the answer, but I can understand where he is coming from. If I saw people breaking into my neighbors house I would have my shotgun out too. I am not going to wait to find out if they are only there to rob them or if they plan on raping and killing them too.
I appriciate the fact that I live somewhere where I am allowed to protect my family and property (that includes my neighbors who I know would protect me and my family too). It doesn't matter to me if it was not his property. We have to take ownership of our neighborhoods and let criminals know we will not be subjected to the nonsense. Isn't that how ghettos become the way they are? No one wants to do anything because they live in fear. Bullshit.

Not only that. I could give a rat's butt if they were white, black, purple or every shade in between. If I am threatened I will protect myself and my property including the area I live in.

He even called the police to let them know what was going on.

Anonymous said...

I will be moving to East Texas in about two months and I have been looking on the Chamber of Commerce sites to get basic info about the two cities I will be living and working in. I was stunned to find that the percentage of whites is 83%. I have never, ever lived in a community that is majority white. And what that tells me is that any given jury panel for this area is going to be predominately white. It has to be because of the demographics. So if an asian, mexican, black, etc, gets indicted for something, and there is an all white jury panel, is this going to mean that there is racism if the perp is convicted?? I hardly think so but I am sure that defense attorney and other activists are going to be claiming racism. I think it is irresponsible to throw that out there just because you can.

Anonymous said...

I live in a community that is 53% hispanic and growing. The belief here is the same. You protect your property. Every one of my neighbors is hispanic. One is a police officer. They all own guns and they will all use them. I have no qualms about that. There are plenty of white punks here too. This behavior knows no boundries. Hell the other day a kid from the rich neighborhood down the street from me stole my nephews brand new DS.

Anonymous said...

Exactly Michelle. And a city where that is majority white is going to have more white criminals. Hell, I have two BILs and a cousin that are drug addicts. Two have stolen to support their habit, the other somehow manages to keep his job. Crime, especially theft, is so unnecessary and it pisses me off.

I don't own a gun anymore. I had one when I was young, but when my son [who is 22 now] turned 2 years old I gave it to my dad because i was afraid he might find it and hurt himself. I have never bought another one but I really should. I have other weapons to use if someone breaks into my home and I suppose I can grab a kitchen knife if I am desperate.

Brenda Evans said...

My name is Brenda Evans and I am a reporter for the Pasadena Citizen in Pasadena, Texas.

I had the opportunity to meet with Pasadena citizen, Joe Horn, on Monday, July 7, 2008 at the home he resides in Pasadena, Texas, where the “controversial shooting incident” took place.

The story I wrote after that interview came out in our Wednesday, July 9, 2008 issue of our paper, The Pasadena Citizen.

During my interview with Horn, I was impressed with this man's sincerity and truthfulness. He is a shy man and anybody would see that he is just a regular guy who was pulled into a bad situation. I had the strong impression that this could have been anybody, my dad, your dad, you or me.

In the story on the web at, there are some photos I took of Joe standing in the same spot he stood when the two men were warned to stop. I also had the opportunity to go upstairs with Joe and see the two windows he looked out while the two men were burglarizing his neighbor's house. I took some photos looking down through these window blinds to show how close Joe was to them as he was an eyewitness to their break in. I posted them with my story as well. They are in the photo gallery of that story.

I was impressed with this extremely kind, gentle man and I also found Joe Horn to be credible and truthful. He is a loving father, grandfather and protector of his family.


Brenda Evans

Anonymous said...

Joe Horn is guilty of, if not at least murder, manslaughter. However, this act, as pointed out in Ms. Evans' story, was premeditated. He did not have a weapon yet sought one out. The weapon was not loaded until he determined he was going to kill someone that day. It must have been a rush for him. He was never in any imminent danger.
Hopefully, the families of those involved will call for a more intense criminal investigation and then they file a civil case against Horn. Thanks to Ms. Evans for introducing new facts which were not made public previously.

Anonymous said...

Joe Horn is guilty of, if not at least murder, manslaughter. However, this act, as pointed out in Ms. Evans' story, was premeditated. He did not have a weapon yet sought one out. The weapon was not loaded until he determined he was going to kill someone that day. It must have been a rush for him. He was never in any imminent danger.
Hopefully, the families of those involved will call for a more intense criminal investigation and then they file a civil case against Horn. Thanks to Ms. Evans for introducing new facts which were not made public previously.

Anonymous said...

I thought Lou Minatti's post about the grand jury's racial mix made very good points. I wonder how many other juries accused of racism had little choice of a better racial mix because of not having enough other races to choose from when picking jurors.

Anonymous said...

Wonder what might have happened if the owner had come home while those 2 were going through the house? Because of the courage of a neighbor, no one will ever have to find out. We need more civic action like this. Score: Hero 2 Scumbags dead.