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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive

News Release from the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office

Attorney’s Office announced that it will not prosecute the resident of 3212 Virginia Avenue, James Parsons, in connection with a shooting on December 28, 2008.

On December 28, 2008 at approximately 9:50 p.m. Colorado Springs police officers were dispatched to 3212 Virginia Avenue regarding a burglary in progress. As officers arrived they were advised that shots had been fired. Officers found an unknown male, later identified as Sean Kennedy, lying in the back yard near the back door of the residence. He was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy at the El Paso County Coroner’s Office later determined that Sean Kennedy died from two gunshot wounds.

Detectives from the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit were dispatched and conducted a thorough investigation of the shooting. The investigation revealed that at about 9:45 p.m. on Sunday, December 28, 2008, the resident of 3212 Virginia Avenue was at home with his girlfriend when he saw a white GMC pickup truck drive up and park in front of his house, a small ranch-style home. The resident saw an unknown male get out of the truck and approach his front door. Two dogs belonging to the resident, including a German Sheppard, started barking loudly and continually as the unknown male began forcefully pounding and beating on the front door. He was yelling obscenities and appeared to be angry and upset. The unknown male continued to beat and pound on the door, during which time the resident told his girlfriend to call 911 and he went into the bedroom to get his gun, a revolver.

After several minutes the resident and his girlfriend saw the man run around to the back of the home. The resident positioned himself near the kitchen and saw the man at the back door. The man broke the lock on the back screen door, pulled open the screen door and began beating his fist on the back door. The man continued to yell obscenities. The man then broke out the pane of glass in the back door nearest to the dead bolt. The man put his arm in through the broken window and was using his hand to undo the deadbolt when the resident shot at the man three times with his revolver.

Physical evidence at the scene and other witness statements corroborated the statements of the resident and his girlfriend. Review of the 911 dispatch tape also confirmed the statement of the resident. At the beginning of the dispatch tape, the resident’s girlfriend was heard saying “someone’s trying to get in the house” and telling the dispatcher to “hurry up, he’s trying to get in the house!” The resident’s girlfriend was on the phone with a police dispatcher for nearly 4 ½ minutes while the unknown male was trying to get into the home. The resident’s girlfriend was then heard saying “Oh my God, he’s coming in the back door!” and then “Are they on their way, because oh my God, he broke in the glass!” followed by the sound of gunshots. Both the resident and his girlfriend immediately sought medical attention for Sean Kennedy.

The resident and his girlfriend cooperated fully with this investigation. The evidence from the dispatch tape and from investigative interviews indicated that they were both terrified during this incident and were traumatized by these events.
It was further determined through the investigation that Sean Kennedy lived at 3212 N. Institute Street, one street west of Virginia Avenue, with several roommates. According to witness statements, Sean Kennedy had been drinking alcohol with friends at a local golf course just prior to this incident. His blood alcohol level at autopsy was .261 gm/dl, over three times the legal driving limit.

Under Colorado Revised Statute section 18-1-704.5 the Colorado General Assembly “recognizes that the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.” This law provides that any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person intends to commit a crime or use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.

Based upon the evidence and a review of Colorado law governing the use of deadly physical force against an intruder, it is the opinion of the District Attorney’s Office that the resident of 3212 Virginia Avenue did not violate Colorado law, and he will not be prosecuted.

Sounds to me some yelling first, shooting second might have saved a whole lot of trouble. But, this is the sort of situation where everyone loses and there isn’t really anyone to punish. Mr. Kennedy’s family might be upset, but his actions lead to his early end. What’s the lesson here? Get someone to drive you home if your so drunk you might drive to the wrong house.