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View Full Version : Texas boy, 7, dies after shot in mistaken trespass


Flogger23m
05-09-2009, 2:26 PM
HOUSTON A 7-year-old boy who was allegedly shot in the head by a couple who thought he and three other people were trespassing on their property died Saturday, authorities said.

Donald Coffey Jr. died Saturday morning at a Houston hospital, less than two days after the boy was struck in the head by shotgun pellets, Liberty County Sheriff's Cpl. Hugh Bishop said.

Sheila Muhs and her husband, Gayle Muhs, both 45, were charged with second-degree felony counts of aggravated assault in the shootings Thursday. They were being held at Liberty County Jail with bail set at $25,000 each and had not yet retained an attorney, Bishop said.

Bishop said the district attorney could upgrade the charges to murder on Monday, but investigators were "still trying to get the circumstances behind the incident."

The boy, his 5-year-old sister, their father and a family friend were off-roading near a residential area about 40 miles northeast of Houston when they were shot after stopping so the children could go to the bathroom.

Authorities said the couple fired after they mistakenly thought the group was trespassing on their property.

Bishop said the area includes a dirt road, trees and overgrown brush and that it wasn't uncommon for people to go off-roading there. The Houston Chronicle reported that a sign in front of the suspects' home reads: "Trespassers will be shot. Survivers will be reshot!! Smile I will."

Liberty County Chief Deputy Ken DeFoor said Sheila Muhs fired a 12-gauge shotgun once, then handed it to her husband, who also fired once.

DeFoor said Sheila Muhs then called 911 and told the dispatcher: "They're out here tearing up the levee, so I shot them."

DeFoor said the levee belonged to the subdivision and was not private property.

Bishop said there was no indication the unarmed victims did anything threatening toward the Muhs.

Donald Coffey Sr. suffered a pellet wound in his right shoulder and his daughter, Destiny, suffered a wound to the elbow. The family friend, 30-year-old Patrick Cammack, was in serious condition Saturday with a head wound, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center spokeswoman Alex Rodriguez said.

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-national/20090509/US.Off.Road.Shooting/

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This is why I am against castle doctrines that allow you to shoot anyone for just trespassing your property. I am completely for shall issue CCW and a castle doctrine that allows a would be victim to use lethal force against an attacker, but killing someone over trespassing and damaging levees? I think CA's castle doctrine in the home is reasonable.

Also, sorry if I don't understand Texas' castle doctrine. As I understand it, you can shoot and kill someone legally if they are simply on your property. This makes accidents like this more likely to happen. I would rather have it so that the home owners have to determine if the trespassers are a real threat (such as them being armed).

Either way, its a sad event.

Jpach
05-09-2009, 2:43 PM
Wow, how terrible. I think the worst thing here is that the lady didnt really seem to fear for her life but more that the levee was being torn up.

gunsmith
05-09-2009, 2:44 PM
you don't understand Texas law, you may not shoot people for simply being on your property in the manner described in the article. The article clearly said they were not on his property anyway.
Joe Horn shot illegal alien burglars on his front lawn, & was not in violation of the law.
The liberal media calls it a shoot first law, responsible gun owners shouldn't fall into the liberal medias trap.
The guy simply isn't a responsible gun or property owner, its not the fault of the law its the fault of the guy with his finger on the trigger

bwiese
05-09-2009, 2:47 PM
This has nothing to do with castle doctrine, just some idiots who screwed up bigtime.

Notice the most excellent way they self-incriminated, making the case very easy for DA. That sign, "Tresspassers will be shot" didn't do 'em any good either.

Flogger23m
05-09-2009, 2:48 PM
you don't understand Texas law, you may not shoot people for simply being on your property in the manner described in the article.


Ok, that is good to know. :thumbsup:


The guy simply isn't a responsible gun or property owner, its not the fault of the law its the fault of the guy with his finger on the trigger

I agree.

RobG
05-09-2009, 2:51 PM
"They're out here tearing up the levee, so I shot them."

DeFoor said the levee belonged to the subdivision and was not private property.
WOW! The levee isn't even theirs. And they each took a turn shooting at kids:eek: What a couple of morons. They should both go to jail forever:mad:

Legasat
05-09-2009, 2:53 PM
This is why I am against castle doctrines that allow you to shoot anyone for just trespassing your property.

This is absolutely tragic, and somebody is going to jail.

But I still don't agree with your statement.

Theseus
05-09-2009, 3:06 PM
Wow. . . I can't say that I would have done the same thing here.

I am firm in the idea that one can protect themselves or property, but I don't see how they really feared for themselves or their property.

These two people didn't seem to care at all, and for that they should likely go to jail.

low94noma
05-09-2009, 3:14 PM
Wow, this really makes me sick. In a way, I do like the law about protecting your property over there in Texas. Have these idiots ever been told, know your target before you shoot? I know that can not always be the case but I am assuming they were dirt bike riding in the daylight given there were young children. And taking a life is more important than a few ruts in a levee? I hope these piece of sh**s get locked up until they rot in a concrete room with no bed. Another bad image for responsible gun owners due to the stupidity of people who should not have owned firearms in the first place. The media does not help either.

RomanDad
05-09-2009, 3:15 PM
This has nothing to do with the Castle Doctrine. This is the outhouse doctrine. Because anybody who would act the way they did must have a skull full of ****.

Its idiots like these that give regular gun owners a bad name... These people are too stupid to own firearms.... Theyre probably too stupid to own kitchen utensils. Which wont be a problem, because they should be wards of the state for a long time after this one.

Whiskey84
05-09-2009, 3:16 PM
Sad that a child died because of idiots like this.

Tillers_Rule
05-09-2009, 3:20 PM
Sad that this had to happen and I'd be willing to bet neither of those two get off. They are both poor rednecks who won't be able to defend themselves. Plus, like mentioned the off roaders weren't even on their property.

I know there's a story a while back where a guy got off for shooting some robbers in the back as they were leaving his neighbors property but this is a much different scenario all together, about the only similarity is it happening in Texas.

I don't that sign will help their case much either: "Trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again, smile I will"

fresnohunter
05-09-2009, 3:22 PM
This isnt a Castle Doctrine issue. This is a MORON issue. Absolute shame a child died over this.

socal2310
05-09-2009, 3:38 PM
Sheila Muhs fired a 12-gauge shotgun once, then handed it to her husband, who also fired once.WTF!?

Did anyone get a load of their mugs? They are caricatures of inbred redneck stereotypes.

Ryan

RomanDad
05-09-2009, 3:45 PM
WTF!?

Did anyone get a load of their mugs? They are caricatures of inbred redneck stereotypes.

Ryan

Straight out of central casting for "The Hills Have Eyes"

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y154/MovieLawyer/e977-Off-Road-Shooting.jpg

mountaindweller
05-09-2009, 3:46 PM
Come on.. Kids...? Even if they were tresspassing....shoot to kill? Really??

Sounds like the people behind the trigger have some serious issues. Very sad situation.

tyrist
05-09-2009, 3:57 PM
They will most likely up the charges against these two and I have a feeling they will never breath free air again...or since it's Texas any air again.

I believe people like this are exactly the reason we have so much gun control in the first place.

Hoop
05-09-2009, 4:06 PM
Come on.. Kids...? Even if they were tresspassing....shoot to kill? Really??

Sounds like the people behind the trigger have some serious issues. Very sad situation.

Sounds to me like they just fired off a couple rounds at a group of ATV'ers. Stupid hillbillies.

Since it's Texas I imagine them going away for a good while.

audihenry
05-09-2009, 4:09 PM
Put them to sleep and save the taxpayers from carrying the burden of keeping two lowlifes behind bars.

HowardW56
05-09-2009, 4:13 PM
HOUSTON A 7-year-old boy who was allegedly shot in the head by a couple who thought he and three other people were trespassing on their property died Saturday, authorities said.

Donald Coffey Jr. died Saturday morning at a Houston hospital, less than two days after the boy was struck in the head by shotgun pellets, Liberty County Sheriff's Cpl. Hugh Bishop said.

Sheila Muhs and her husband, Gayle Muhs, both 45, were charged with second-degree felony counts of aggravated assault in the shootings Thursday. They were being held at Liberty County Jail with bail set at $25,000 each and had not yet retained an attorney, Bishop said.

Bishop said the district attorney could upgrade the charges to murder on Monday, but investigators were "still trying to get the circumstances behind the incident."

The boy, his 5-year-old sister, their father and a family friend were off-roading near a residential area about 40 miles northeast of Houston when they were shot after stopping so the children could go to the bathroom.

Authorities said the couple fired after they mistakenly thought the group was trespassing on their property.

Bishop said the area includes a dirt road, trees and overgrown brush and that it wasn't uncommon for people to go off-roading there. The Houston Chronicle reported that a sign in front of the suspects' home reads: "Trespassers will be shot. Survivers will be reshot!! Smile I will."

Liberty County Chief Deputy Ken DeFoor said Sheila Muhs fired a 12-gauge shotgun once, then handed it to her husband, who also fired once.

DeFoor said Sheila Muhs then called 911 and told the dispatcher: "They're out here tearing up the levee, so I shot them."

DeFoor said the levee belonged to the subdivision and was not private property.

Bishop said there was no indication the unarmed victims did anything threatening toward the Muhs.

Donald Coffey Sr. suffered a pellet wound in his right shoulder and his daughter, Destiny, suffered a wound to the elbow. The family friend, 30-year-old Patrick Cammack, was in serious condition Saturday with a head wound, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center spokeswoman Alex Rodriguez said.

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-national/20090509/US.Off.Road.Shooting/

--------------------


This is why I am against castle doctrines that allow you to shoot anyone for just trespassing your property. I am completely for shall issue CCW and a castle doctrine that allows a would be victim to use lethal force against an attacker, but killing someone over trespassing and damaging levees? I think CA's castle doctrine in the home is reasonable.

Also, sorry if I don't understand Texas' castle doctrine. As I understand it, you can shoot and kill someone legally if they are simply on your property. This makes accidents like this more likely to happen. I would rather have it so that the home owners have to determine if the trespassers are a real threat (such as them being armed).

Either way, its a sad event.

That article describes a couple of complete idiots... I would only shoot to end a threat, if they are not a threat, or are running away, then the police can deal with it... Property damage does not justify killing someone, not in my book...

The castle doctrine is just that, someone out in the south forty isn't in your "Castle".

Telperion
05-09-2009, 4:18 PM
Here's a picture of their house with the sign:

http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/9171/texash.jpg

battleship
05-09-2009, 4:22 PM
They shot them because they wanted to, not to stop a threat, but more like an agreement among themselves.

Cold blooded murderess, nothing more.

AEC1
05-09-2009, 4:29 PM
Yep murder hang em...

Maestro Pistolero
05-09-2009, 4:30 PM
That sign says it all. Smile, they will, to the jury.

HowardW56
05-09-2009, 4:34 PM
Come on.. Kids...? Even if they were tresspassing....shoot to kill? Really??

Sounds like the people behind the trigger have some serious issues. Very sad situation.

No question, it is very sad...

They deserve everything the state gives them...

Dont Tread on Me
05-09-2009, 4:58 PM
These retards gave Sarah Brady some ammo.

M. Sage
05-09-2009, 6:23 PM
This is why I am against castle doctrines that allow you to shoot anyone for just trespassing your property. I am completely for shall issue CCW and a castle doctrine that allows a would be victim to use lethal force against an attacker, but killing someone over trespassing and damaging levees? I think CA's castle doctrine in the home is reasonable.

Also, sorry if I don't understand Texas' castle doctrine. As I understand it, you can shoot and kill someone legally if they are simply on your property. This makes accidents like this more likely to happen. I would rather have it so that the home owners have to determine if the trespassers are a real threat (such as them being armed).

Either way, its a sad event.

First part: You did read where they weren't trespassing, right?

Second part: You do misunderstand TX Castle doctrine.

Everything to do with use of force in TX is in Section 9 of the Penal Code: http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/PE/content/htm/pe.002.00.000009.00.htm

Except the civil part of Castle, which is here: http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/CP/content/htm/cp.004.00.000083.00.htm#83.001.00

If you want to know what it looked like before, you can see the enacted bill here: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/80R/billtext/html/SB00378I.htm

This guy screwed up, big time. He was stupid and trigger happy. That kid didn't deserve to die.

... now, anybody who decides he needs the stereo out of my truck more than I do? That's a different story. :43:

bohoki
05-09-2009, 6:49 PM
they should get the chair you dont fire till they are a threat

and the sign shows premeditation

a-shot
05-09-2009, 7:10 PM
Straight out of central casting for "The Hills Have Eyes"

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y154/MovieLawyer/e977-Off-Road-Shooting.jpg

There is a really good chance they get put to sleep in Texas, don't forget.

jazman
05-09-2009, 7:10 PM
Punk *** rednecks, and anyone who defends them for whatever reason is/are the same. They are the reason for birth and gun control.

gunsmith
05-09-2009, 7:15 PM
WTF!?

Did anyone get a load of their mugs? They are caricatures of inbred redneck stereotypes.

Ryan
jeepers! they look like they stepped out of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"

HowardW56
05-09-2009, 7:16 PM
They both got hit with 2 buckets of UGLY....

There must have beeen some stupid mixed in...

B.D.Dubloon
05-09-2009, 7:18 PM
they should get the chair you dont fire till they are a threat

and the sign shows premeditation

I agree these folks should be put down. I wouldn't be surprised though if they have IQs low enough to be classified as retarded and thus safe from the death penalty. They sure look stupid.

I don't agree with your first statement, you should also be able to use lethal force to defend your property IMO, not that it applies with these two idiots.

Deamer
05-09-2009, 8:30 PM
WTF!?

Did anyone get a load of their mugs? They are caricatures of inbred redneck stereotypes.

Ryan

You better not make fun of his wife/sister or he will shoot ya.

what2be
05-09-2009, 9:07 PM
I can't imagine what a 7 year old could do to justify lethal force. The Confederate Flag out front of the shack says it all. There's probably a meth lab in the bathroom. Would not supprise me a bit if these two lovebirds were brother and sister also.

Sad sad sad, especially since I have a child this age....I hope they get the chair set on low voltage for about 6 hours...then crank it up and finish em off.

Cru Jones
05-09-2009, 9:17 PM
I agree they probably have a meth lab in the bathroom, they were high when this happened and they should get the chair. People like this don't deserve to be on this earth.

RomanDad
05-09-2009, 9:27 PM
Here's a picture of their house with the sign:

http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/9171/texash.jpg

:eek:

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y154/MovieLawyer/deliverance.jpg

retired
05-09-2009, 11:37 PM
"Tresspassers will be shot" didn't do 'em any good either.

In the same vein, tho a bit off topic: "Caution, Dog bites" (and similar signs) aren't too smart either as you are admitting you have a vicious dog. May not end well in a civil suit.

luchador768
05-10-2009, 12:09 AM
"smile I will" WTF?!?! Does this guy think he is Yoda?


Inbred you are.

gunsmith
05-10-2009, 12:40 AM
"smile I will" WTF?!?! Does this guy think he is Yoda?


Inbred you are.

its not "smile I will" even though that's what they wrote.
It's "smile, I will"

Really creepy, they will smile as they shoot some one?

11011500a
05-10-2009, 12:43 AM
WTF Death penalty 1 or both. More than likely they had a clear line of sight and they knew who they were firing at.

Maestro Pistolero
05-10-2009, 1:35 AM
Where's Burt Reynolds with his crossbow when you need him?

Seesm
05-10-2009, 2:22 AM
What a terrible deal... no winners there. Poor kids having o go through that and for the one to lose his life... Death penalty should be what they shooters get... I am ALL for protecting your stuff and your safty but come on... That was terrible... tearing up your yard I would not shoot them an dit was NOT even there yard it was a community levee.... Al I can say it is terrible. I am bummed aftre ready this. :(

socal2310
05-10-2009, 6:02 AM
Where's Burt Reynolds with his crossbow when you need him?

I only read the book. Wasn't it a longbow?

HowardW56
05-10-2009, 7:50 AM
You better not make fun of his wife/sister or he will shoot ya.

:eek: :rofl:

MrSigmaDOT40
05-10-2009, 9:39 AM
NRA and other groups should help in the prosecution of these idiots. It would take some wind out of the anti's sails.

HowardW56
05-10-2009, 9:51 AM
NRA and other groups should help in the prosecution of these idiots. It would take some wind out of the anti's sails.

I think a public comment condeming them for their actions is enough...

The DA, or whatever they are called in Texas, won't need any help with this one. A child died because a couple morons desperately wanted to shoot someone.

tyrist
05-10-2009, 9:53 AM
These two were probably waiting for the opportunity to kill somebody.

DDT
05-10-2009, 10:06 AM
They should both go to jail forever:mad:

No, they shouldn't. They should only be in jail long enough to pursue their appeals. Then they should no longer be in jail.

Maestro Pistolero
05-10-2009, 12:21 PM
No, they shouldn't. They should only be in jail long enough to pursue their appeals. Then they should no longer be in jail.

So, if the facts are as reported, you think this was justified?

donstarr
05-10-2009, 12:26 PM
So, if the facts are as reported, you think this was justified?

I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect "they should no longer be in jail" refers to the fate of someone convicted of a capital crime after their appeals "run out".

If he thought it was justified, then he probably would expect acquittal in the first trial - removing any need for "appeals".

HowardW56
05-10-2009, 1:09 PM
I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect "they should no longer be in jail" refers to the fate of someone convicted of a capital crime after their appeals "run out".

If he thought it was justified, then he probably would expect acquittal in the first trial - removing any need for "appeals".

That is the way I understood it, after the appeals run out they get the needle...

ST5MF
05-10-2009, 2:49 PM
Put them to sleep and save the taxpayers from carrying the burden of keeping two lowlifes behind bars.

Unfortunately it would cost more to put them down than it would to incarcerate them for life.

Maestro Pistolero
05-10-2009, 5:06 PM
I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect "they should no longer be in jail" refers to the fate of someone convicted of a capital crime after their appeals "run out".

Ah, my apologies.

JJ1911
05-10-2009, 5:10 PM
In China, executions are carried out using 1 round from an AK, (actually type 56 if you wanna get technical). The cost: A few cents.....

Just food for thought.

ST5MF
05-10-2009, 5:57 PM
In China, executions are carried out using 1 round from an AK, (actually type 56 if you wanna get technical). The cost: A few cents.....

Just food for thought.

In the U.S. it costs millions in attorney and court fees to put someone to death. More than it ever would to lock them up for life for sure.

Seems like China has a much more "Cost Effective" system; which comes at the high cost of being a subject of a socialist state.

I think I prefer the life of a citizen in a Republic.

DDT
05-10-2009, 6:05 PM
The death penalty is only an effective deterrent when it is swift and certain.

This by no means should be interpreted to mean that I believe the death penalty should be used in any case where guilt is in question.

USAFTS
05-10-2009, 8:25 PM
...There's probably a meth lab in the bathroom.

I wonder if the property was searched after the incident. Based upon the information available, I would not be at all surprised if there actually was a perceived threat...BUT not to their personal safety. The way they fired blindly into a wooded area with no knowlege of who or what they were actually shooting at...it is quite possible that they were "Protecting" a drug operation or an illegal crop of some type.

I don't want to believe that people are stupid, careless, irresponsible or even evil enough to shoot at an innocent family, merely for tresspassing. Even in the old west, the homesteaders would evaluate the threat before pulling the trigger.

I am, by no means a lawyer, but it seems to me the sign posted out front shows a clear intent to pull a trigger regardless of any type of threat. I would hate to be the UPS guy making deliveries in that neighborhood.

st.clouds
05-10-2009, 10:55 PM
Unfortunately it would cost more to put them down than it would to incarcerate them for life.

Still it'd be an effective deterrent against repeat incidents. And that alone may save money and our rights in the long run.

ThisHero
05-10-2009, 11:14 PM
So, if the facts are as reported, you think this was justified?

The state will hold these two in jail until they're convicted, at which point the state will ship them out to a federal prison. I think he (the guy you're directing your question to) meant they should go to PRISON forever, not that he sympathized with the shooters.

Also, I think it's safe to say those two will not be able to post bail.

tactic101
05-10-2009, 11:36 PM
Straight out of central casting for "The Hills Have Eyes"



http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y154/MovieLawyer/e977-Off-Road-Shooting.jpg

I was thinking "Faces of Meth" http://www.facesofmeth.us/main.htm

ST5MF
05-11-2009, 6:03 AM
Still it'd be an effective deterrent against repeat incidents. And that alone may save money and our rights in the long run.

There is no way to prove it would be an effective deterrent for repeat incidents.

I have no opinions on the Death Penalty either way. However, man has been crawling around this rock killing one another since human inception. That will NEVER change- unfortunately. Even in our "civilized" society the Death Penalty, as another poster put it; is to slow to have even an immediate effect on those sentenced to die.

I don't think either of these 2 will get the death penalty in this case, but they will probably be locked up for a better part of the rest of their lives.

bootcamp
05-11-2009, 8:28 AM
They both got hit with 2 buckets of UGLY....

There must have beeen some stupid mixed in...

Or they were brother and sister incest. The sign itself has hillbilly written all over it.

CSDGuy
05-11-2009, 9:38 AM
If the kid was actually trespassing on their land, the couple could have used force to remove them from that land. Deadly force could only have been used
(1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and
(3) he reasonably believes that:
(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means;
Trespass on my property = I can forcibly remove you, but I can't kill you.
Arson, Robbery/Aggravated Robbery = use of deadly force OK any time.
Theft or criminal mischief = deadly force OK ONLY at night.

If they were justified to use force or deadly force, they'd be immune from civil suit from those actions that were actually justified.

If the media report is correct, the couple was not justified in using any force whatsoever.

cousinkix1953
05-12-2009, 2:29 AM
Wow, how terrible. I think the worst thing here is that the lady didnt really seem to fear for her life but more that the levee was being torn up.
It sounds like these sickos actually enjoy shooting people. Why would she hand a 12 guage shotgun, to her husband, if they weren't getting some cheap thrills out of this trigger happy game? This is worse than the Texas redneck, who dialed 9-1-1, and shot two burglars next door, while the dispatcher heard gun fire on the telephone. He got off, because the dead men were actually committing a felony. That isn't the case this time...

Dark&Good
05-12-2009, 3:28 AM
Too bad. You see kids there, you don't shoot. You're not sure they're violating your property, you don't shoot.

I still find this one thing funny:
"Trespassers will be shot. Survivers will be reshot!!