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Under California law, homeowners have a right to protect themselves with deadly force inside their homes and in the immediate vicinity — such as a patio — if they feel they are in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death, said Lawrence Rosenthal, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at Chapman University.
An autopsy Friday found that a burglary suspect who was killed by an 80-year-old California homeowner was not pregnant, despite claiming to be before the fatal shots were fired. Long Beach resident Tom Greer said that the burglar had said she was pregnant and asked him not to fire, but he shot her twice in the back anyway. The autopsy later showed that Andrea Miller, 28, was not pregnant, coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said. Prosecutors were waiting Friday for the results of the police investigation. Greer said he shot Miller twice as she fled his home and ran down an alley. Miller's alleged accomplice, Gus Adams, is facing murder, burglary, robbery and weapons charges. He was being held on bail of more than $1 million. The murder charge is possible because Adams is accused of participating in a felcony that led to a death, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said. Police said Friday that Adams' mother, Ruby Adams, also was involved and was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of robbery. Authorities gave no details on her alleged role or the evidence against her. McDonnell said the homeowner came home around 9 p.m. Tuesday and surprised Adams and Miller, who were trying to break into a safe. They assaulted him, breaking his collarbone, before he was able to get a handgun, the chief said.Police said he fired shots inside and outside his house.Under California law, homeowners have a right to protect themselves with deadly force inside their homes and in the immediate vicinity — such as a patio — if they feel they are in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death, said Lawrence Rosenthal, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at Chapman University.But this case enters a gray area because Greer, by his own account, chased the burglars and fired at them outside his home as they were fleeing, Rosenthal said."The problem here is that all this happens very fast and his legal right to use force probably ended just a few seconds before he did use deadly force," Rosenthal said. "So the question is should you charge somebody on the basis of what really was a series of split-second decisions when he's just been robbed and physically assaulted?"McDonnell declined to say how many shots were fired or to confirm that Miller was shot in the back.No phone listing was available for Greer and he could not be reached for comment by The Associated Press.