April 08, 2008

Tragedy in Stillman Valley. UPDATED!.

When I returned from my trip on Sunday I heard a news story about a 14 year old boy being killed during a home invasion in Stillman Valley. The kid was breaking into the house and a house guest who was house sitting for the owner that was in an accident a couple of days prior shot the kid. (Here are news stories about it from local news sources: Rockford Register Star, WREX, WIFR, WTVO). Tammi of Tammi's World has a post up about her reaction as she lives in the community shattered by this incident.

When I first heard this story, I told Ktreva I thought I knew the home owner from down at Fritz's. It turns out I was right, I had met him a couple of times when I was down there hanging out with T1G.

Today this was the big talk on the radio and news. I don't just mean the talk radio circuit either. The music stations where also discussing it. The big news today was that they announced the name of the 14 year old boy who was shot, Travis Castle.

This brought up a lot of different discussions, but the one that pissed me off was when people would say that the house guest should be arrested and sent to jail for killing the 14 year old boy. You know what, bullocks to that! The house guest, who was in the house legally heard someone breaking in, grabbed a firearm and chose to defend himself and his friends property. When he saw the 14 year old punk holding a weapon he shot him. This is a clear cut case of self defense if I ever heard one.

Now before I go any further I do want to give my condolences to the boy's mother and father. It's tough to lose a child. Yet, he shouldn't have been in the house. I don't know if this is the first time Travis got in trouble or if he had already started down the path to be a career criminal. Either way he chose the wrong day and the wrong house to break into. The kid brought it upon himself.

If anyone deserves to go to jail for Travis' death it's the two partners he had. I don't know if the kids are being protected, but I find it hard to believe that no one knows who Travis was hanging out with that night. If I was Travis' parents I'd be out looking for the two idiots, that along with Travis, decided to break into the house.

The police have not identified the house guest yet, so I'm not sure if I know the individual or not, but I really hope the State's attorney decides that he was acting with in his rights. If they don't I know I'll be donating to his defense fund.

The other thing that pissed me off about this is the number of people blaming the guns. "If guns were illegal, none of this would have happened. They wouldn't have broken into the house and no one would have gotten shot." Okay, were as if we lived in a world there were no firearms, that doesn't mean Travis would have been beaten to death with a baseball bat. The only way this whole thing could have been completely prevented would be if Travis and his friends didn't break into the house. The responsibility for the death lies solely at their feet.

UPDATE: (04/09/08) They caught the others involved.

UPDATE: (04/12/08) I created a new post based on my comment below. Also, here is an update in the RRSTAR on the story about the Three others involved and more details. It appears they specifically went there to steal firearms.

Posted by Contagion in Rants and Raves at April 8, 2008 05:33 PM | TrackBack

We had an incident near here where a man pried the vent hood off the roof of a house, climbed into the attic and fell through the ceiling into the house in the middle of the night.
The home owner grabbed his gun, went to investigate, found the stranger in his home, and ordered him to leave. Several times. He shouted so loud, the neighbors woke up and heard.
The stranger, while unarmed, did not leave. He wandered down the hallway. And when he entered the bedroom of the home owner's daughter, the home owner shot him.
In the back.
But not dead.

So later, the stranger was able to file suit for pain and suffering.
Fortunately, the judge laughed him out of court.

The only people who disagree with the judge are friends and family of the stranger.
Everyone else wishes the home owner had aimed a little better.

Posted by: Roses at April 8, 2008 07:36 PM

It's unfortunate that this had to happen. The blame lies solely at the feet of the children. At that age the DO know what they are doing but are still dumb enough to ignore the consequences. Of course the parents are NOT going to fess up to their child's wrong doings but will blame everything from the guns to the man staying there.

I feel the for the man in the house. It's unimaginable what he will go through the rest of his life.

Posted by: Navy CPO at April 8, 2008 09:02 PM

I feel bad for the kids parents, but I feel worse for the guy that shot him. I can't imagine what he must be going through right now, even though the kid had it coming - breaking and entering? With a weapon? Yeah, sad as it is, he had it coming.

Posted by: Wes at April 8, 2008 09:47 PM

"But Castle’s parents expressed doubt about the self-defense argument.

“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” his mother said."
I just read that in the Rockford Register Star.

Doubts about the self-defense argument? Are they STONED!? Your precious little boy pointed a RIFLE AT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING! And got his chest perforated for it!

And "he was in the wrong place at the wrong time"?! Who put him in that "wrong place"? HE DID! Willingly and knowingly!! It's not like he was eating in the local diner when a truck crashes through the window and kills him... He was willingly breaking and entering into another's home, and he pointed a gun at the resident! It wasn't an accident, it was a FELONY! If the parents want to blame somebody, they can blame their son (for starters) and they can blame THEMSELVES for letting their son hang out with people they suspected already where bad influences, but no they'll blame the eeevil guns, and the citizen that used one to defend himself.

Bastards just piss me off...

Posted by: Wes at April 8, 2008 10:19 PM

The Castle Doctrine under Missouri Law defends the homeowner in cases just like this.

Under that Doctrine you have the right to protectyour home, property or vehicle.

Shame Illinois is still in the dark ages.

Posted by: BloodSpite at April 9, 2008 11:34 AM

"The only way this whole thing could have been completely prevented would be if Travis and his friends didn't break into the house. The responsibility for the death lies solely at their feet."

So very true. And I feel bad for the guy who shot him - what a thing to have to live with even though he was in the right. :(

Posted by: Richmond at April 9, 2008 02:35 PM

Nice how the older boys let the youngest hold their shotgun.
I hope there was at least one more friend who decided not to join the rest that night.
One kid with a brain.

Posted by: Roses at April 10, 2008 09:37 AM

Amen. Couldn't have said it better myself. It is a shame for the parents; however, they may have been saved a lifetime of misery. It is pretty obvious the kid was headed down a nasty road in life and usually its the parents who bear the brunt of the child's bad choices in life. It may sound bad, but maybe better dead now than stuck in prison or dead in the gutter later?

Posted by: TNT at April 10, 2008 10:12 AM

Hi Gang...

I blogged about this:


and Yes, I do feel that way...

Punk kid had it coming.


Posted by: Chuck in Michigan at April 10, 2008 05:19 PM

In Florida this would be open and shut. Easy case... Our Governor is a member of the NRA and today they just passed a law stating we are allowed to have guns in our cars at work, as long as we have a concealed weapons permit, unless of course you work at a school and then you can't.

People can say what they want about Florida, but you can protect yourself here and nobody questions.

I feel for the guy who shot the kid. He was defending himself, but he will forever remember the day he shot a 14 year old kid, even if the kid was guilty as hell.

Posted by: Bou at April 10, 2008 07:05 PM

the saddest thing of all of this is that all of you self righteous, non God fearing idiots feel there is a right or wrong side to this. that you with out knowning either party want to side with, defend or condemn. your lives are pitiful. i hope sometime in your pointless future you learn to love and cherish life, and rid yourselves of your hatred. those of you who have written the "bad road" Travis would have been on, you are on a worse road because you are the evil that infests this world. There are two broken families here, and there are always two sides, but sorrow should be left to be sorrow, and stupidity should be silenced.

Posted by: penny isham at April 10, 2008 07:57 PM

First of all, the story that was given to this person is incorrect. Travis didn't point a gun at anybody! He may of had a weapon in his hand but he dropped it as soon as he say the homeowner. And did I mention that the lights were on. So, that means the homeowner saw this and stll decided to pull the trigger..in the head and in the chest. So pretty muvh shoot to kill. Now, I agree that he shouldn't have been doing what he was doing but the homeowner didn't have to kill him. I am a very close firend of the cousin of Travis and I had met him once before and he didn't seem like a bad kid at all. And his parents loved him dearly. And how can you say the parents shouldn't have let him hang out with those kids....have you tried telling your kids not to hang out with somebody...but it didn't work to well.Unless your over protective and lock them in the house forever. YOu people have no heart. A 14 year old just basically got murdered and you think he deserved it. OH and by the way the police wont the the family kinow anything about the autopsey or about the police repoets....nice keeping the family in the dark. Havent they been through enough!

Posted by: A friend at April 10, 2008 07:58 PM

Dear, "A Friend",
While I'm sorry for the Travis's family for the unbelievable loss that they are experiencing. Let's call a spade a spade.

First, "He may of had a weapon in his hand but he dropped it as soon as he say the homeowner.", um were you there? Did you witness firsthand what took place in that house? If so, then you need to be talking to the police and explaining your actions or lack thereof.

Second, "Now, I agree that he shouldn't have been doing what he was doing but the homeowner didn't have to kill him." Um, that's where you're wrong. See kids today are coddled WAY too much. There are fewer parents that know by drawing a hard line in the sand and setting expectations and consequences, is the only way you raise a good person. Travis should not have even had the THOUGHT of entering someone else's home for the purpose of seeing what they could get. There was no point to this and this dumb kid brought about his own death as a result. He made the choice to go. He made the choice to break into a home. He made the choice to pick up a weapon. He made the choice to die.

The guest of the home owner had no way of knowing what that kid was going to do. Drop the gun and run like hell or start shooting. He took appropriate actions for the situation.

Now, when you're done singing kumbaya by the firepit with your other tree-hugging hippie friends, try pulling your head out of your arse and seeing what the world has been turned into because kids today and generation before are being raised to think they have a RIGHT to whatever what they want, without working for it.

Again, I feel badly that Travis' parents have lost a son. But their son was doing something ILLEGAL as well as stupid and paid a high price for being an idiot. And the houseguest, who should not face any charges whatsoever, will have to live with the fact that he had to take a persons life.

Nobody won in this instance. Hopefully Travis' other stupid friends will learn a lesson from this. Doubtful, but dare to dream.

Posted by: Lee Ann at April 11, 2008 07:22 AM

Penny: There is a wrong and a right side to the story. Travis and crew were wrong for breaking into the house. I'm sorry, they were. I don't care how anyone tries to sugar coat that fact. He ought to have known that it was illegal. Two wrongs don't make a right, but killing someone to defend life, limb or property is not wrong.

A Friend: I never said Travis pointed a gun at anyone, just that he had a gun. But to be honest gun or not if it had been my house and he was in there, you're damn right I would have shot him. And no, I would not have "aimed to maim". I'm ex-law enforcement and I'm sorry, I know that tactic more often than not doesn't work.

I have a son that is with in months of Travis' age. And you know what, I can keep him away from friends I don't want him hanging out with. I have also instilled in him a serious sense of right and wrong. I may have my issues with him, but to this point the only criminal activity he's been involved in was damage to my property.

Travis wasn't murdered. He was killed while committing a felony in self defense. God gave man a brain and free will. Whether or not Travis and his friends used the first is questionable, but they definitely used the second.

Maybe, just maybe in this society of pass the blame if people would wake up and take responsibility for their own actions our country would straighten things up. But no, we are a victim society. Every time someone does something wrong, or every time something bad happens to someone it's somebody else’s fault.

Travis made a decision. His decision was bad. As a result of that bad decision HE GOT HIMSELF KILLED. IE Travis killed himself. Don't blame anyone but Travis for the death. It's not being filled with hate, it's not being cold hearted, it's not being an asshole, it's just the way it is.

Posted by: Contagion at April 11, 2008 07:50 AM