EXPLAINER: Use of deadly force in Texas

Updated: Apr. 1, 2021 at 3:48 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - There are currently no charges filed against a woman who police say shot and killed an ex-boyfriend who was trying to get into her apartment Wednesday afternoon in Central Lubbock.

There is an indication there will not be any charges against her.

Police say 26-year-old Selena Carrion was punched in the face before her ex left her apartment and came back. The boyfriend, 26-year-old Leroy Hammond-Williams, is said to have kicked in the door and grabbed her as she ran upstairs.

That is when, police say, Carrion shot and killed him.

”This case is almost textbook self-defense,” Mark Snodgrass, Lubbock attorney who has practiced for around 25 years, said.

Legally, Carrion had every right to defend herself in this situation, he said. That is because in Texas, people are presumed innocent in their use of force if someone is unlawfully trying to enter their home.

But it has to be reasonable. That means someone, without a doubt, though they were in immediate danger.

“It’s never a good thing when someone dies for whatever reason,” Snodgrass said. “But you do have that right, if the person is acting with force and acting unlawfully, to defend yourself to whatever degree that you believe is necessary.”

This stems from what is called the Castle Doctrine in the Texas penal code. Reasonable use of deadly force can be used if someone, “unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation.

When it comes to criminal litigation, it is hard to file charges against anyone in cases like these, Snodgrass said.

“You have a right to be secure in your surroundings,” Snodgrass said. “And you have a right to defend your property in your surroundings.”

Read our previous coverage here: LPD: Ex-boyfriend fatally shot, “kicked the front door open” to woman’s central Lubbock apartment

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