From AP via Raleigh's WNCN (nbc17.com) of February 27, 2004:
Defendant Invokes Defense Of Habitation Statute
A man who says he shot a man while defending his apartment against intruders has been found not guilty of murder.
Officials say the case has brought the little-known "defense of habitation" statute into play for perhaps the first time in Durham.
Kennis Thaxton shot 18-year-old Abdullah Ali Helms twice in the back in June 2002, killing the teenager. He says Helms and another man barged into his apartment and that he thought Helms was going for a gun.
The defense of habitation statute says homeowners may use any degree of force to prevent an illegal intrusion into their residences or to oust an intruder. But homeowners have to fear for their physical well-being or believe the intruder will commit a felony.
The statute differs from the self-defense law. That one allows people to use "reasonable," but not excessive, force to protect themselves.