DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday narrowed the application of the state's "make my day" law, ruling that the burden of proof is with the householder who resorts to deadly force.
"We were not disappointed at all," state Public Defender David F. Vela said after reading the court opinion. "It finally clarifies the law."
Vela's office is defending David A. Guenther on charges of second-degree murder, first-degree assault and crime of violence in the shootings of neighbors.
The Supreme Court said the district court erred in requiring prosecutors to disprove Guenther's claim of immunity from prosecution on charges of killing a neighbor, Josslyn C. Volosin, 27, and wounding her husband, Michael, 28, and the Volosins' house guest, Robbie Wardwell.
The high court ordered the case back to Adams County district court for rehearing.
Guenther shot the three with a .357 magnum pistol during a confrontation that began on Guenther's property. The Supreme Court noted there was conflicting evidence as to whether Josslyn Volosin was shot "while standing near the Guenther's front porch or in the street as she was running away."
Since that incident, Guenther has been charged in the shooting death of his wife, Pamela, and the wounding of one of her friends.
Guenther pleaded innocent and is awaiting trial in that case, in which the "make my day" law would not apply.
The law, intended to shield from prosecution people who use force to defend their homes against intruders, was named from a line from a Clint Eastwood movie in which the actor muttered, "Make my day," in a movie scene, apparently hoping for an opportunity to shoot a felon.