Lakeland, FL – A Lakeland homeowner defended himself from a career criminal who bashed in the glass of his French doors on Dec 15. A man named Steven Stillwell, 42, pitched a flower pot through the glass and entered the premises. The homeowner shot him three times. The suspect was taken to the hospital where he was in critical but stable condition.
When Polk County deputies arrived, the Lakeland homeowner handed them his gun, and directed them to Stillwell, who was lying on the floor in the home’s living room.
The castle doctrine is very clear in Florida law. A person’s home is his refuge. The evidence in this case at this point indicates that the suspect illegally forced his way into the home. The homeowner did exactly what he had a right to do. I commend him for protecting himself and defending his home.
The homeowner did exactly what he should have – he had a gun, he knew how to use it, it was loaded and he shot him a lot. He gave him an early Christmas present. Only Santa Claus gets to come in your house and Santa Claus is invited.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd
The Lakeland homeowner’s surveillance video showed Stillwell running in the backyard, then standing on the back porch. A shotgun belonging to the suspect was found in the backyard.
Florida law is very clear that homeowners have a right to protect their family from intruders: “if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”
Stillwell faces several charges when he gets out of the hospital. He has a criminal history of at least 13 prior offenses including burglary, DUI, fraud and drug charges. The Lakeland homeowner’s gun was legal and he will not face any charges.
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