Names Released – Charges Filed in Missoula Home Defense Shooting [DOCUMENT]
Names have been released and charges have been filed following a burglary and subsequent shooting that occurred early Sunday morning, September 15, at a residence in downtown Missoula.
According to court documents, Dillon Torey Franklin, 22, was shot in the abdomen by the homeowner Robert 'Bob' Withrow Jones, 77, with a .357 magnum handgun in the living room of the home. Jones called 9-1-1 and reported the shooting immediately.
Jones told officers he was sleeping when he heard glass breaking, so he walked into the living room and heard more glass breaking. Jones returned to his bedroom and retrieved his .357 magnum handgun. Jones yelled at the intruder to stop or he would shoot. When the intruder, later identified as Franklin, kept advancing toward him, Jones fired one shot, striking Franklin in the torso. According to court records, Jones told police he acted in self-defense because he felt his life was in danger.
Detectives also found evidence that Franklin had broken into one of Jones' vehicles before smashing the window and entering the house.
Court records go on to state that Franklin was awake and alert while being transported to St. Patrick Hospital. He was also intoxicated, and told officers he was high on heroin and methamphetamine. He was verbally abusive to officers and hospital staff.
Officers also recovered what appeared to be drugs from Franklin's clothing.
Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said on Wednesday afternoon, September 18, that Jones would not be charged with a crime because he was acting in self-defense when he shot Franklin.
"I think he was defending himself more than he was defending his place," Van Valkenburg said. "Some people refer to that as the castle doctrine, but in Montana, it's actually called justifiable use of force."
Van Valkenburg outlined the possible penalties Franklin may face once he has recovered from the gunshot wound to the abdomen.
"Burglary is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine," Van Valkenburg said. "The criminal trespass and criminal mischief are good for six months in jail and a $500 fine, and the disorderly conduct is 10 days in jail and a $100 fine."
Franklin is still in St. Patrick Hospital being treated for his wounds, and has not yet officially been taken into custody.