A few days ago, on December 23rd, the same day an article was published here about a mother who mistakenly killed her daughter in Florida (almost 1900 miles and exactly four weeks earlier), a soldier who is a decorated Iraq war veteran mistakenly killed his 14-year-old stepdaughter in Colorado.
Kiana O’neil reportedly was sneaking back into her home in Colorado Springs just before 6:00 a.m. Monday morning. Though police say it’s unclear, Kiana’s stepfather, 29-year-old 2nd Lt. Daniel Meade – apparently thinking it was a burglar – shot and killed the girl as she came through a basement window.
On a police dispatch call it appears evident that the Colorado incident was at first thought to have been a burglary as the horrible scenario unfolded. According to reports, Kiana was shot in the chest and stomach, and later died at a hospital. A neighbor told KTRK that she heard three “bangs”.
Listen to an audio of a police dispatch call on the incident:
Meade, listed in military records as an active-duty health service officer in the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, was not arrested, pending the outcome of a police investigation. He is married to Kiana’s mother, Monica Meade.
A district attorney must decide whether he will face any charges, which is unlikely, due to Colorado’s variation of self-defense laws called the “Make My Day” law. It refers to Clint Eastwood’s famous line from his “Dirty Harry” movies, when he dared the bad guys to draw their weapon first.
The law gives a homeowner the right to shoot to kill if in fear of imminent bodily harm or death only inside the home – not on the porch, or outside. Scott Robinson, a prominent Denver criminal defense attorney, told the Denver Post that the “Make My Day” law is “one of a kind in the United States.”
In 2012, a homeowner in Boulder, Colorado shot and wounded an intruder inside his home, who turned out to be an intoxicated, confused woman. The homeowner was exonerated under the state’s “Make My Day” law. It may have led to prison had he shot her on his porch.
This week’s Colorado shooting follows another similar heart-breaking incident that took place in Florida on the Monday before Thanksgiving last month. In that shooting, 52-year-old Adele Bing, after a fight with her boyfriend, shot and killed her own daughter, 25 year-old Ruby Bing – who was holding a baby – when she fired a gun while opening a door.
Florida’s stand your ground law removes the “duty to retreat” from anywhere a person has a right to be – and in most cases gives the right to use deadly force when facing death or injury.
It’s important to note that there’s likely no need for any of these incidents to be considered stand your ground cases. Yet they highlight a sense of empowerment granted with guns inside a home. Each case is a different scenario, and under each state’s castle law, regardless of intent, stand your ground laws would be irrelevant because there was probably an authentic perceived fear of imminent bodily harm or death by someone inside a home.
UPDATE: a facebook page has been set up in memory of Kiana at http://www.facebook.com/pages/RIP-Kiana-Oneil/185939468280122
- Police: Colorado teen shot, killed by stepfather (wfaa.com)
- Mother Shoots Through Door, Kills Daughter Holding Baby (endstandyourground.wordpress.com)
- Renisha Mcbride Shooter Going To Trial (endstandyourground.wordpress.com)