The article is light on details but probably what happened is the thief had a gun, the owner confronted the thief, the owner shot first, and therefore, no foul. If that’s how it happened, it wasn’t an “execution”, but it was more like “when stupid meets stupid”.
Now the owner will be sued by the thief’s family and, if the owner is lacking in personal liability insurance, and if he has any assets more than just his truck, he’s going to lose them. In contrast, if the owner had just filed an insurance claim for the theft, he would have gotten a new truck. Even aside from being sued, the truck owner will now live with the psychological and social consequences of this forever. Everyone is going to remember this guy as “Bob, who shot and killed a guy who took his truck”.
If we’re going with unfounded assumptions, here’s mine: if a second gun had been found at the scene of the murder, that information would be the first thing mentioned by the local police. The fact that it isn’t mentioned at all is very telling.
On Saturday, the Bexar County Medical Examiner identified the man killed as 44-year-old Andrew John Herrera and ruled his death a homicide. Herrera died from a gunshot wound to the head, says the medical examiner’s office.
Generally, a person may use force, but not deadly force, to protect property. There are, however, some important exceptions. Under Penal Code 9.42, deadly force may be used to protect land or property when a person reasonably believes that deadly force is immediately necessary to:
prevent arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft at night, or criminal mischief during nighttime;
prevent someone fleeing with property after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime.
However, the person must also be able to show that he reasonably believed that the land or property could not be protected or recovered by any other means or that the use of non-deadly force would expose him or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.
IANAL, but I think it would be a pretty high bar to meet to say that calling the police wasn’t another means to recover their property.
It’s quite wild, though, that if you’re caught stealing something at night in Texas, the law seems to read that someone can track you down and if they reasonably think you can get away before the cops can catch you, and that they wouldn’t be able to find you afterwards (maybe no video or pics of the burglar), then the Texas law is apparently just fine with the robber being killed as “self-defence”.
Not justifying what happened but no, he probably wouldn’t have gotten a new truck. He would have gotten the depreciated value of his truck. Theoretically, he would have gotten another truck of the same vintage and condition, if hw could have found one.
“…could not confirm if there was more than one weapon found at the crime scene.”
Counting higher than one is more than you should expect from a Texan. The education system in the State is poorly funded. " When it comes to state spending on education, Texas trails the national average by over $4,000 per student, earning [the] state an F-rating and ranking 42nd in the nation in per-student spending. The impact of underfunding [Texas] public schools is long-lasting."
Texas lets you get away with murder any time you can frame yourself as the victim.
Remember all the men who have killed younger (and much better looking) men after claiming that the victim was gay and tried to sexually assault them? Gay panic as a defense requires no evidence, no witnesses, and possibly no facts. Just lie to the jury and expect them to believe that the person you killed deserved it because he was queer and hot for you.