IL backs self defense


February 6, 2004, 08:39 PM

Charges dropped against man accused of shooting intruder
Friday February 06, 2004
SKOKIE, Ill. (AP) Cook County prosecutors dropped charges Friday against a Wilmette man who shot a burglar who had returned to his home for a second time, saying they didn't want to ``revictimize the victim.''

Restaurant owner Hale DeMar still faced charges of breaking Wilmette's ban on handguns, however.

After the shooting in late December, the Cook County state's attorney's office determined DeMar acted in self-defense.

But he was charged with breaking state law by failing to renew his Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification Card after it expired in 1988. The violation is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

``We did not want to revictimize the victim,'' so the Cook County state's attorney decided to drop that charge, spokesman John Gorman said.

Prosecutors also plan to use DeMar's testimony against the accused burglar, Morio Billings, Gorman said. Billings, 31, is charged with two counts of felony residential burglary and one count of felony possession of a stolen vehicle.

Steve Goebel, a Cook County assistant state's attorney, said DeMar bought the gun legally and registered it but simply failed to renew his identification card. Goebel called that a ``lapse in memory'' that ``does not deserve a prosecution considering the fact he used that gun in defense of himself and in defense of his two children.''

According to authorities in Wilmette, Billings broke into DeMar's house near Lake Michigan in the upscale Chicago suburb in late December and stole the family's vehicle and house keys.

Less than 24 hours later, he used the house keys to enter DeMar's home again, police said. DeMar shot Billings in the shoulder and calf in the home's kitchen, according to police.

Some criticized the decision to charge DeMar with breaking the suburb's handgun ban, which carries a fine of up to $750. DeMar defended his actions in a letter sent to Chicago newspapers last month.

``What is one to do when a criminal proceeds, undeterred by a 90-pound German shepherd, a security alarm system and a property lit up like an outdoor stadium?'' he wrote.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Standing Wolf
February 6, 2004, 10:14 PM
We did not want to revictimize the victim...

Only because the Cook county authorities knew they'd face a fire storm of criticism and ridicule.

Don Gwinn
February 7, 2004, 12:34 AM
Exactly. They didn't want to lose. That's Dick Devine's office, isn't it? (No, that's not a porn star, he really is a prosecutor. Stop snickering there in the back.)

That guy could not care less what he does to a victim as long as he wins a case and the "victim" can be painted as a gun nut.

Only now that I think of it, I can't remember if Devine is from Cook or Dupage County. Whatever.

Jeff White
February 7, 2004, 01:53 AM
I hate to disagree, but it's an open and shut case. Everyone knows DeMar's FOID was expired. He's guilty plain and simple. I think it was dismissed to get it out of the news. We can't have defensive firearm use North of I80, might upset the sheeple and get some of them thinking that DeMar had a good idea, keeping a gun to protect himself.

I can think of a couple cases where inner city residents (elderly IIRC) used handguns to defend themselves and they had no FOID and the handgun was unregistered in Chicago therefore illegal, but no charges were filed.

I'd like to see Wilmette have to raise taxes to pay for defending their stupid ordnance through both the state and federal court system though. Maybe that would teach them to make political statements with their village ordnances...


February 7, 2004, 11:35 AM
Jeff, for corroboration of your points, see today's Tribune:,1,7758250.story?coll=chi-newslocal-hed

Charges dropped in shooting of intruder

By M. Daniel Gibbard
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 7, 2004

Declaring "we choose to prosecute the real criminal," a Cook County prosecutor declined Friday to press state firearms charges against a Wilmette man who shot an intruder in his home.
Hale DeMar "purchased a gun legally. It was registered. What he failed to do was keep current" his state firearm owner's identification card, said Assistant State's Atty. Steve Goebel.
Prosecuting DeMar, 54, of the 0-99 block of Linden Avenue for a "memory lapse" would violate the spirit of the law, he said.
"We choose to prosecute the real criminal here, the person who broke into this house not once but twice," Goebel said.
DeMar also appeared at the Skokie courthouse for a hearing on charges that he violated Wilmette's handgun ban. That case was continued until April because DeMar's attorney has challenged the constitutionality of the ordinance.
Police say Morio Billings broke into DeMar's house on Dec. 28 and 29, first crawling through a dog door and then returning with a stolen key. The second time, DeMar confronted and shot Billings, wounding him in the shoulder and calf.
Billings of the 2100 block of South Trumbull Avenue, Chicago, faces two counts of felony residential burglary and one count of felony possession of a stolen vehicle.
Of the two charges against DeMar, the state one was the more serious, a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of a year in jail or a $2,500 fine. The village ordinance is punishable by a fine of up to $750.
DeMar said he is pursuing the constitutional challenge on principle, adding that he has returned unsolicited contributions from gun-rights supporters.
"It's a question of them usurping my right to defend my home," DeMar said outside court after the village ordinance hearing. "I don't think the municipality has a right to contravene my 2nd Amendment rights."
Attorneys for Wilmette could not be reached for comment.
Despite the village's case against him and his criticism of the police response after the first break-in, DeMar said he does not plan to leave Wilmette. He has lived in the village for nine years and has two children, ages 8 and 10.
Wilmette "is the home I've known," he said. "It's the home my children have known."

Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune

Don Gwinn
February 7, 2004, 11:56 AM
I'm not talking about losing in court. There are bigger considerations for a politician. You'll never convince me that this doesn't have more to do with fingers in the wind than with that office's idea of justice.

I could be wrong, but I don't think so. ;)

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