As 44-year-old Jerry Jones from Milwaukee was in his home, he heard someone trying to break in through a window. Jones got his .40-caliber Beretta and fired a shot at the 53-year-old intruder, Michael A. Johnson, and killed him. Johnson was armed with a tire iron at the time.
Under normal circumstances this series of events would be nothing short of an act of self defense but Jones is a convicted felon and was not supposed to be in the possession of a firearm. Jones called the police after he shot the intruder and he remained there until the officers arrived. He also told police where the gun was and admitted to shooting Johnson.
Jones was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Court records show Jones’ most recent felony conviction was in 2002 for possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He was convicted of being a felon with a gun in 2001 and has two unspecified felony convictions from the early 1990s.
Prosecutors say Jerry Jones should not be charged for shooting and killing a man who broke into his house. Jones’s attorney argued the charge should be dismissed because Jones’ actions were privileged as self-defense. He cited a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision, State vs. Coleman, which found there is a narrow set of circumstances for a felon to possess a gun.
State vs. Coleman found a person must be under, or believe he or she is under, an imminent and impending threat of death or serious injury; that he or she did not recklessly or negligently place him or herself in a situation where it was probable they would be forced to possess a gun; that he or she had no reasonable, legal alternative to possessing the gun; and that he or she must have a reasonable belief possessing the gun would help avoid the threat.
The court found that the prosecutor had left out the fifth standard: The defendant did not possess the firearm for any longer than reasonably necessary. “The issue is whether or not (Jones) had the firearm previous to this,” Court Commissioner Barry Phillips said. Phillips found probable cause a felony was committed in Milwaukee County and bound Jones over for trial. Jones, who was out of custody on a signature bond, is expected back in court Dec. 20.