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Colorado homeowner shoots drunk trespasser, faces no charge

Imagine: It is 3'oclock in the morning. You and your loved one are sleeping in your bedroom when a stranger then enters the room. She says nothing and doesn't respond to your orders for her to get out of your house. If you had a gun in the home, would you shoot the trespasser?

In May, this was the situation a couple woke up to and they had to make the decision. To shoot, or not to shoot? They shot the trespasser, who turned out to be an incapacitated female college student who apparently didn't know what she was doing. The homeowner didn't face any violent crime charge for shooting the student. But the student wasn't so lucky as to avoid criminal consequences.

The 21-year-old student was charged with first-degree criminal trespassing. She recently pleaded guilty to the charge in a Colorado court and has received a relatively forgiving sentence. She will serve no jail time but is basically on probation for 18 months. During that time, she cannot commit another crime or consume alcohol. If she gets through the deferred sentence and meets those criteria and more, the trespassing conviction will be cleared from her record.

As for the homeowner who shot the defendant, he didn't get charged with a crime due to Colorado's Make My Day Law. The bullet hit the intoxicated student in the hip and is in there for good. Before the incident, the student says that she had been at a party and believes that she might have been more physically compromised not due to alcohol but due to the "date rape" drug. Tests, however, to detect such a drug were not performed.

The young woman doesn't have a criminal background and wants this incident put behind her. This is an example of why young adults need to be careful about what they drink and who they trust. It isn't entirely uncommon for a seemingly innocent night to become a night one regrets.

Source: Boulder Daily Camera, "CU-Boulder student Zoey Ripple takes plea deal in drunken trespassing case," Mitchell Byars, Oct. 10, 2012

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