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Published: Friday, 8/2/2013

OHIO’S CASTLE DOCTRINE

Homeowner not indicted in killing of man

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A West Toledo homeowner who shot and killed an intoxicated man he believed was breaking into his house will not be prosecuted.

A Lucas County grand jury on Thursday declined to indict Bryan Loyer, 45, on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Lucas Hassen, 24, of Toledo.

The shooting was determined to be an act of self-defense covered by Ohio’s Castle Doctrine, which permits homeowners to use deadly force when they are in fear for their safety or the safety of others, said Jeff Lingo, chief of the criminal division for the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office.

“The grand jury was instructed as to the Castle Doctrine, which states that a homeowner has no duty to retreat when they are in their home and they have a reasonable ground and honest belief that the use of deadly force is necessary to protect themselves,” Mr. Lingo said.

Mr. Hassen was extremely intoxicated early on April 13 when he approached Mr. Loyer’s Douglas Road home, kicked in a side door, and attempted to break a window in the back of the house. After calling out a warning that he had a gun, Mr. Loyer told police he fired at Mr. Hassen, who was found with a gunshot wound to the chest in the back yard of a neighboring home just after 1 a.m.

“He fired in his direction; the guy took off running, and he got a couple yards away before he collapsed,” Mr. Lingo said.

A recently released coroner’s report revealed that Mr. Hassen’s blood-alcohol level was 0.22 — nearly three times the legal limit to drive a car.

While it seemed unthinkable to those who knew him that Mr. Hassen — a University of Toledo graduate and CYO basketball coach with no criminal history — could wind up dead in a situation like this, Mr. Lingo said Mr. Loyer had no way of knowing what Mr. Hassen’s intent was.

“All he knew was that someone had kicked in the side door and someone was breaking the back windows out. He did not know if anyone else was in the house,” Mr. Lingo said. “The question is, is it reasonable under the circumstances for him to believe the use of deadly force was necessary to protect himself? You have to put yourself in the place of the homeowner with the information they have at the time.”

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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