CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. - If a man’s home is his castle, then how far can he go to protect it?
That’s the question now facing the Carroll County District Attorney after sheriff’s investigators say a homeowner apparently shot an intruder dead.
It happened early Wednesday morning but there are still plenty of loose ends in the case.
In a ditch off South Highway 16 is crime tape marking the spot where Carroll County Sheriff’s investigators say 20-year-old Hampton Chappell was found dead on a stolen ATV.
Sheriff Terry Langley says a few hours earlier the 911 center received a call of a burglary at this nearby home. The sheriff said Chappell had loaded the ATV with chainsaws, gas cans, a rifle, and more after breaking into this barn.
The sheriff says the homeowner was awoken by a loud noise when Chappell rammed his way out of the barn on the ATV.
“He looks out he sees his barn door has been flattened and he sees an individual standing beside his ATV. He retrieves his handgun a nine millimeter. He opens the window and fires three shots. The suspect jumps back on the ATV, leaves the scene and is found later dead,” said Sheriff Langley.
The sheriff told FOX 5 News Chappell was found with meth and a crossbow he’d bought hours earlier. The sheriff speculated Chappell may have bought the crossbow to protect himself if caught. But there’s no indication the crossbow was used.
Chappell was found dead at the ditch where FOX 5 News met Patrick Rogers who said his wife is friends with Chappell’s family.
“You do have the right to protect yourself and your property but to what extent, that’s my opinion,” said Rogers.
That’s the very question now facing the district attorney.
“We’re going to turn the file over to the district attorney’s office but in light of our investigation we suspect we will not press charges,” said Sheriff Langley.
There was no answer at the homeowner’s house but his attorney Jason Swindle sent FOX 5 News a prepared statement. It reads in part, “The citizens of Carroll [County] have a low tolerance for dangerous criminals threatening the safety and wellbeing of our people. My team is in contact with Sheriff Langley and the rest of their team as they perform their duties that keep our community safe.”
Sheriff Langley said an autopsy will determine if the bullet which killed Chappell is from the homeowner’s gun. It is unclear how long before the DA makes a ruling.