Justifiable Homicide

As a freshman at LSU Law school, I remember taking Criminal Law with a nice, elderly professor named Dale Bennett. It was one of the few classes during the first year that I always looked forward to attending.

Somewhere near the middle of the semester, we studied homicide. For ease of explanation, homicides were basically broken down into three categories – 1) murder, 2) manslaughter, and 3) justifiable homicide.

Justifiable homicide caught my attention because I could remember as a very young child, my grandfather shot and killed a man who he mistakenly believed was trying to break into our home. In addition to my grandfather, also present were my grandmother, my mother, my brother, and myself. The case went to a jury trial in Lake Charles and the jury found my grandfather not guilty based on justifiable homicide.

While I intently listened to the lecture, there was something completely different that caught my attention. When Dr. Bennett asked for questions, I raised my hand and he called on me.

“What about if you come home early from work and catch your wife in bed with another man and you shoot him dead?”, I asked.

“Why do you think that would be justifiable homicide?” he responded.

“It’s been happening all of my life in my hometown, and no one has been arrested yet,” I told him.

“Son where are you from?”, he asked me.

“DeQuincy,” was my reply.

“Well, that explains a lot,” was all that he said.


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