STEELVILLE, Mo. – A Missouri murder case will hinge on claims of self-defense and whether a property owner had the right to shoot a canoer who may have intruded on his land.
James Crocker had grown weary of the people encroaching on his property along the Meramec River. A nasty confrontation in July ended when Crocker allegedly shot and killed Paul Dart Jr., who was on a canoe trip.
Defense attorney Michael Bert says Crocker was covered by the state's castle doctrine, which allows the use of deadly force to protect property. Bert says Crocker also felt his life was in danger.
Prosecutors cited witnesses who said Crocker flew into a rage and opened fire after a man relieved himself near his yard. He has been charged with second-degree murder.