Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Colorado Springs, Colorado

From the Colorado Springs Gazette of December 14, 2005
Man acquitted of murder under Make My Day law

A jury Wednesday ruled a shooting death last year was self-defense under the state's Make My Day law, acquitting Gary Lee Hill, who was accused of first-degree murder for killing a man who had assaulted him in his home but was in his car when he was shot.

The Make My Day law permits people to use deadly force to protect themselves from intruders into their homes.

Hill, 24, declined comment as he was leaving the courthouse.

“He’s not guilty. Justice has been done,” said his mother, Kathy Jastrab. “He didn’t deserve to even be here. Those kids beat him and robbed our home. There was no reason for him to even be on trial.”

The jury deliberated for about six hours, after being handed the case late Tuesday. Fourth Judicial District Judge Robert Lowrey presided over the two-week trial.

Hill was acquitted on charges of first-degree murder with extreme indifference, and two counts of menacing, in the shooting death of John David Knott, 19. The shooting happened Sept. 5, 2004.

“He got away with murder,” said Knott’s sister, who would only identify herself as Tina. “He was my only brother. My kids only uncle. This is a sad day.”

According to testimony, Hill had been having a party that night at the house at 513 Potter Circle. He got into an argument with Allesandra Ash and Amanda Padilla over Padilla’s missing purse. Padilla admitted punching Hill. He brandished a rifle and ordered them to leave.

The women left, called Padilla’s boyfriend, Knott, and Ash’s boyfriend, Anthony Padilla. They went back to Hill’s house and entered Hill’s basement room, where he was sleeping.

Padilla testified she hit Hill three more times, and once more with brass knuckles, causing his head to bleed. They fled the house. Hill got a high-powered rifle, loaded it and fired once from the porch into the car Knott was driving. Knott crashed the car into a house and died.

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