US Air Force Tech Sgt. Matt Pinkerton shot an intruder in his home on September 13th just before 2am.
That is not in question.
Yet somehow, in Maryland, where Castle Doctrine does not exist by statute but rather only by case law, Sgt. Pinkerton is being charged with 2nd degree murder.
The intruder, Kendall Green, had reportedly been harassing Matt’s wife, Jessica. Green had been a friend who helped Jessica when her brother was in a coma after being involved in a accident while Matt was overseas.
All evidence points to Jessica only maintaining a friendship with Green yet when he pushed for more she ended the friendship completely.
Jessica has stated:
Green had texted me sometime in July or August saying that he missed the kids, and Matt didn’t deserve us and that he deserved a chance. He wanted more.”
Which brings us to an early Sunday morning where Matt and Jessica were entertaining another couple one of whom was Matt’s brother Mike. Green showed up shortly before 2am demanding to see Jessica. Matt refused to let him in and closed the door on him then turned to return to his wife and guests. It was at that time that Green kicked in the front door and stormed into the house.
Matt, who had retrieved his Glock 17 when he first heard someone outside (not unreasonable when he wasn’t expecting anyone at 2 in the morning) still had it on him when Green busted in the front door and came at him. Matt fired once from 10 to 15 feet away and when Green continued toward him fired again.
Mike Pinkerton, one of the guests recalls the incident:
“He (Green) kept coming forward so Matt fired. He rocked backwards and took another step forward at which time Matt took his second shot. He stumbled backwards and fell out the door onto the porch.”
“When the shots were fired Jessica called 911. Matt spoke to the operator; he removed the clip from his gun and the bullet in the chamber. Police arrived within five minutes.”
So what did Matt do wrong when a crazed man broke in his front door at 2am and was after his wife? To me, nothing. Yet according to the state of Maryland, Matt should have called 911 first and waited for the police.
That isn’t some glib, pro gun caricature of the how when seconds count cops are minutes away. This is the reason he is being charged with murder. It doesn’t help that on top of the lack of a Castle Doctrine Statute the Assistant State’s Attorney, Glen Neubauer, is an rabid anti gunner himself.
Besides maintaining the ridiculous notion that calling 911 while a crazed intruder just smashed his way into your house is the only legal option, Neubauer also claims that even the act of grabbing the gun in the first place is “bizarre behavior in itself.”
Getting a means of protection when an unexpected person comes to you door in the middle of the night is bizarre behavior? I always took it for common sense.
But Neubauer’s stance just goes to show the institutional anti-gun sentiment that is running rampant in Maryland right now and unfortunately Sgt. Pinkerton has to bear the burden of their politics.
Because even if (hopefully when) Pinkerton is exonerated the legal costs alone will dramatically impact his and his family’s lives. They have all ready spent $25,000 on legal fees while taking a loan out for another $25,ooo to get Matt released on bond.
This is a case which shouldn’t even be going to trial since the courts have previously set up common law principles in this matter.
The Court of Appeals of Maryland ruled the following in the case of Baltimore Transit Co. v. Faulkner:
The law of self-defense justifies an act done in the reasonable belief of immediate danger. If an injury was done by a defendant in justifiable self-defense, he can neither be punished criminally nor held responsible for damages in a civil action. . . . One who seeks to justify an assault on the ground that he acted in self-defense must show that he used no more force than the exigency reasonably demanded. The belief of a defendant in an action for assault that the plaintiff intended to do him bodily harm cannot support a plea of self-defense unless it was such a belief as a person of average prudence would entertain under similar circumstances.
So, let us look take a look at the situation from Matt’s perspective.
At 2am a man who has an unhealthy fascination with his wife and has harassed her previously breaks in the front door and charges toward you and your wife.
I think it the UNREASONABLE thing would be to go for the phone and call 911. Matt shouldn’t have to wait to be shot at or stabbed before he is allowed to defend himself with his firearm.
The moment Green busted in the front door and came at the Pinkertons was the moment that he crossed a line and Matt was morally and legally justified in shooting him.
Of course, to someone like Neubauer who thinks it bizarre to grab a gun in the middle of the night to answer the door, I guess it’s no wonder that he cannot fathom a person defending them self at all. Hence the reason he will pursue this gross miscarriage of justice.
Just another reason why states like Maryland NEED a Castle Doctrine Statute rather than implied case law. With Castle Doctine in place the State Attorney would have a much more difficult time crucifying an innocent man who was simply defending his family and friends.
I hope for a quick resolution and exoneration for Sgt. Pinkerton and his family.
A fund has been set up to help pay for Matt’s legal fees, it can be found here:
UPDATE: After having to deal with facing a murder trial for over a year simply for defending his home, and having to go through the expensive process of getting adequate representation to defend himself against such spurious charges, Circuit Court Judge William C. Mulford II dismissed all charges against Sgt. Pinkerton.
“Matthew Pinkerton is delighted with the court’s decision,’ defense attorney Peter O’Neill said.
‘We believe the court’s decision was well-reasoned and a correct reflection of what should have happened in this case as it pertains to the witness statements presented in this matter.”
It took a while but fortunately justice worked out this time.
Unfortunately while Pinkerton had all criminal charges dismissed against him he still may face a civil court trial as the family of Kendall Green filed a lawsuit against him for $6 million in October of 2014.