County Prosecutor Dennis Will said grand jurors determined Jack Dillon’s decision to shoot 29-year-old Jeffrey Carson fell within the “castle doctrine,” which allows people to defend themselves inside their homes if they believe they are in jeopardy.
“If someone is in your residence, you are presumed to be able to use whatever force is necessary to protect yourself,” Will said.
In a statement released by attorney Paul St. Marie, Dillon and his wife, Linda, asked for privacy and said they wanted to move forward with their lives.
“We are relieved that we can now put the unfortunate events of October 19, 2012, behind us. The last eight months have been extremely difficult for our family,” the statement said. “We regret the tragic decision that Mr. Carson made that evening and we will always keep him and his family in our prayers.”
The Dillons, both 54, told police that their home had been burglarized the night before the shooting and their 52-inch, flat-screen television stolen, according to interviews and police reports released by Will’s office.
Jack Dillon said the couple suspected that the burglar may have entered through a window they found unlocked, and they decided to leave the window unlocked again in case the culprit returned. They set up a smaller television on their empty entertainment center and left the lights on just as they had been the night before.
“I figured he was coming back,” Jack Dillon told police the night of the shooting.
Linda Dillon told police that she was home alone and thought she would be able to protect herself if the intruder returned, but around 10 p.m. Oct. 18 she became afraid and called her husband at work and picked him up when he agreed to return home.
The couple made a bed on the floor of the dining room and Jack Dillon bedded down with a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol. Linda Dillon told police she was upstairs for a time but came downstairs after hearing a loud car and seeing a person walk by outside the house.
The Dillons were both on the makeshift bed when they said they heard what Linda Dillon described as a tapping noise.
Jack Dillon told police when he stood up he saw Carson holding the family’s Wii game system.
“I was sleeping downstairs. I was woken up by a noise. I had a gentleman crawling through my living room window. By the time I stood up he was at our TV stand with the components under his arm. I told him to stop…” Jack Dillon said during his interview with police. “He turned, came towards me and that’s when I fired at him.”
He told police that Carson had made “a motion” toward him before he fired six shots, emptying the gun’s magazine.
A police report said that Jack Dillon told an officer at the scene that after he shot Carson, the man tried to leave the house through a window, but then sat down on the couch and didn’t move.
A panicked Linda Dillon called 911 and when police arrived they initially believed Carson was dead. Paramedics later detected a faint pulse and transported Carson to EMH Elyria Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
An autopsy determined that Carson, who had an extensive criminal record, was shot five times and had alcohol, cocaine and oxycodone in his system at the time of his death.
Both Dillons said they were in fear for their lives when Jack Dillon opened fire.
“Yeah, I was in fear of my life,” Linda Dillon told police after the shooting. “Absolutely I was in fear of my life. I didn’t know what that guy had in his hand.”
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.