18-year-old Sarah McKinley of Blanchard, Oklahoma shot and killed an intruder to protect her 3-month-old son on New Year’s Eve. Why she was alone and how she ended up killing the man makes this one of the most incredible stories I can recall.
You see Sarah is a recent widow that was mourning the loss of her deceased husband who died of cancer on Christmas day. 24-year-old Justin Martin had dropped by her home on the day after her husband’s funeral claiming he was a neighbor who wanted to say hello. Sarah didn’t let the man into her home that day.
On New Year’s Eve Martin returned with another man armed with a 12″ hunting knife. The two started to try and break into McKinley’s home. As one of these assailants was going door to door to try and gain entrance Sarah called 911 and grabbed her 12-gauge shotgun.
Here is a local report:
And here is a report from ABC that includes portions of the 911 call:
Armed with her shotgun she gave a bottle to her baby to keep him calm and then grabbed a pistol as well while on the phone with the 911 operator. At this point she asked the operator if she was allowed by law to shoot the intruder. Here’s what the operator told her:
“I can’t tell you that you can do that but you do what you have to do to protect your baby.”
Sarah did just that as she shot Martin dead the second he busted open her door. As far as Blanchard detective Dan Huff is concerned Sarah was well within her legal rights to do what she did. “The Oklahoma laws are clear on the home and the right to your home are absolute.” He said.
UPDATE: See the mug shot of the slain man’s accomplice, Dustin Stewart, and find out how you can help Sarah via a trust fund in her name here.
Oklahoma has a “Make My Day Law” that makes this particular incident cut and dry according to attorney Doug Friesen:
“The simple fact that you’re unauthorized in the home is enough that allows the homeowner to use deadly force. Without ascertaining whether there is a weapon involved or not.”
I think Sarah summed up the situation the best:
“I wouldn’t have done it, but it was my son. It’s not an easy decision to make, but it was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn’t going to be my son. There’s nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child.”
The other person who tried to break into her home, 29-year-old Dustin Stewart, was placed under arrest and jailed.