Shooting leads to property protection questions

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STROUD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Monroe County man faces homicide charges after he says he shot two people who broke into his property Tuesday night.

While he may have been defending his possessions, his actions may not have justified the means. According to Pennsylvania law, someone breaking into your property isn’t enough to justify shooting them.

Tuesday evening police responded to 2040 Paradise Trail in Stroud Township where two people had been shot. When they arrived on scene a woman was severely injured and a man was dead.

Officers arrested the property owner, 66-year-old Randy Halterman for homicide and assault. According to court documents, Halterman told police he heard people talking inside his home and reached for his gun.

He discovered two intruders holding flashlights and fired one shot at each. When they ran down the stairs he took center aim at the man and fired four more rounds.

“This isn’t about being afraid your property is going to be stolen or your property is going to be damaged and therefore you’re able to shoot, kill, hurt, maim someone else over your property. This is about fearing bodily injury,” Shane Scanlon, owner of Scanlon Law and former Lackawanna County D.A. said.

In Pennsylvania, defending your property does not justify use of force. Eyewitness News spoke with Scanlon, who explained the Castle Doctrine. It allows the use of force under certain circumstances to protect yourself and your family.

“It is about fearing imminent serious bodily injury, death, sexual assault,” Scanlon said.

It’s unclear what the victims planned to do or why they were there. Police say the property is overrun with weeds and trash, making it appear abandoned. The front door was open and there is no electricity.

Halterman told police he kept shooting because he “didn’t want them to get away.” Scanlon says under the statute, the force has to be reasonable.

“It’s what 12 jurors would decide your fate upon. Did you act reasonably or act the way that a reasonable person in your situation would have reacted?” Scanlon said.

The man who was found dead was identified as 20-year-old Adam Schultz from East Stroudsburg. The woman was taken via helicopter to a hospital. She suffered two gunshot wounds, one to the upper chest and one to the abdomen.

Halterman was arraigned Wednesday morning by District Justice Germano. Bail was denied.

He is currently incarcerated at the Monroe County Correctional Facility.

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