View Full Version : Retired Green Beret Shoots Intruder, Gets Court Martial

01-24-2008, 9:31 PM
Hilarious article:

BREVARD, Jan. 19, 2008 – Retired Army Green Beret James T. (Smokey) Taylor got his court martial this weekend and came away feeling pretty good about it.

Taylor, at age 79, is one of the oldest members of Chapter XXXIII (The Larry Thorne Chapter) of the Special Forces Association. He was placed on trial by fellow Chapter XXXIII members under the charge of “failing to use a weapon of sufficient caliber” in the shooting of an intruder at his home in Knoxville, TN, in November.

The court martial, of course, was very much tongue in cheek. The event itself was deadly serious.

Taylor had been awakened in the early morning hours of November 5, 2007,when an intruder broke into his home. He investigated the noises with one of his many weapons in hand.

“It was just after Halloween, on Monday morning at 4:30,” Taylor said. I heard this commotion at the door and grabbed my fishing gun, a little .22 revolver, to see what was going on. I got to the front door and this fellow had ripped my security door out of its frame. He said, ‘you’re going to have to kill me. I’m coming in.’”

When a warning to leave went unheeded, Taylor brought his .22 caliber pistol to bear and shot him right between the eyes.

“I was about four feet away from him when I shot,” Taylor said. “Looking back now, I’m glad he didn’t die, but that boy had the hardest head I’ve ever seen. The bullet bounced right off.”

The impact knocked the would-be thief down momentarily. He crawled out of the house then got up and ran down the street. Taylor dialed 911 and Knoxville police apprehended the wounded man about 200 yards away, hiding in a hedgerow.

Complicating the case, as well as the court martial, the offender was released on bail but failed to appear for his court date. Knoxville police said the man was homeless. They did not know his whereabouts or why he had been given bail.

The charges brought against Taylor by his fellow Green Berets were considered to be serious. He is a retired Special Forces Weapons Sergeant with extensive combat experience during the wars in Korea and Vietnam.

“Charges were brought against him under the premise that he should have saved the county and taxpayers the expense of a trial,” said Chapter XXXIII President Bill Long of Asheville, NC.

The trial was held at the Hampton Inn in Brevard, part of the group’s regularly scheduled quarterly meeting. Long appointed a judge, Bert Bates, a defense counsel, Jim Hash, and a prosecutor, Charlie Ponds. All are retired Special Forces non-commissioned officers with extensive combat and weapons experience.

Ponds outlined the case against Taylor, emphasizing that the citizens of Knox County were going to be burdened with significant costs to again apprehend, and then prosecute and defend the would-be burglar.

“Proper choice of a larger caliber gun would have spared the citizens this financial burden,” Ponds said, “while removing one bad guy from the streets for good. He could have used a .45 or .38. The .22 just wasn’t big enough to get the job done. Hash disagreed. He said Taylor had done the right thing in choosing to arm himself with a 22.

“If he’d used a .45 or something like that the round would have gone right through the perp, the wall, the neighbor’s wall and possibly injured some innocent child asleep in its bed. I believe the evidence shows that Smokey Taylor exercised excellent judgment in his choice of weapons. He clearly remains to this day an excellent weapons man.”

Hash then floated a theory as to why the bullet bounced off the perp’s forehead.

“He was victimized by old ammunition,” he said, “just as he was in Korea and again in Vietnam, when his units were issued ammo left over from World War II.”

Taylor said nothing in his own defense, choosing instead to allow his peers to debate the matter. The jury, consisting of all the members of the Chapter, discussed the merits of choosing a larger caliber weapon as well as the obvious benefits to society of permanently deleting the intruder so he would never again threaten any private citizen.

The other side of the coin, that of accidentally causing injury to a completely innocent citizen if a more powerful gun had been used, also gained considerable support.

Following testimony from both sides, Judge Bates determined the charges should be dismissed. The decision was met with a round of applause. In fact, there was strong sentiment expressed that Taylor should receive an award for not only choosing wisely in picking up the 22, but for the accuracy of his aim under difficult and dangerous conditions.

After the trial Taylor said the ammunition was indeed old and added the new information that the perp had soiled his pants as he crawled out the door.

“I would have had an even worse mess to clean up if it had gone through his forehead,” Taylor said. “It was good for both of us that it didn’t.”

Meanwhile, back in Knox County, the word is out: Don’t go messing with Smokey Taylor. He just bought a whole bunch of fresh ammo.

Tribune Editor Bill Fishburne is a member of the Larry Thorne Chapter XXXIII of the Special Forces Association.

01-24-2008, 9:40 PM
When a warning to leave went unheeded, Taylor brought his .22 caliber pistol to bear and shot him right between the eyes.

“I was about four feet away from him when I shot,” Taylor said. “Looking back now, I’m glad he didn’t die, but that boy had the hardest head I’ve ever seen. The bullet bounced right off.”

WTF? Was he shooting a .22 pellet pistol?

01-24-2008, 9:52 PM
ironic story. If only he used something bigger than a .22

01-24-2008, 9:57 PM
Hell yeah. Don't mess with SF.

01-24-2008, 11:04 PM

01-25-2008, 5:25 AM
Interesting, maybe this is what they meant by "A Jury of your Peers?"

01-25-2008, 6:14 AM
I got a laugh out of the article. It shows the importance of proper caliber choice (don't use 22lr).

HOWEVER... it is very very foolish to make light of use of lethal force. It's foolish on three levels: legal, PR, and personal.

Legally, what if this guy happens to make some statement about his use of force that might change the facts, and might lead to a prosecutor opening a case? What if new evidence comes up, the prosecutor opens a case, and then this guy's funny statements sound much less funny to a jury?

PR: It makes gun owners look bad to be making jokes about "shoulda saved the taxpayers some money by blowing his brains out." That is not the attitude we want to project.

And at the personal level, making light of this takes away from the gravity of what happened. Shooting a guy in the head is not something to joke about.

On the legal front, here's what happened when someone made a joke about killing, and the person who did the killing responded inappropriately, by agreeing, instead of in silence:


Jan. 25, 2008 12:00 AM
TUCSON- A woman got a longer jail sentence after a judge heard a recorded jail conversation during which she made light of the bicyclist she had killed.

During the conversation, the man told Arrington that an acquaintance of theirs believed she should get a medal and a parade because she had "taken out" what he said was a "tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman and a gay guy all in one shot."

Arrington laughed, and when the man said he knew it was a terrible thing to say, she responded, "No, it's not."

Cruikshank said instead of laughing, Arrington should have been rendered silent by such shocking and disgusting sentiments.

Obviously, in this case, it was a justified shooting, whereas in the case of this woman, it was negligent homicide, but the point remains the same: making light of serious things can have serious consequences.

01-25-2008, 8:23 AM
Man that is humor. Smokey Taylor just became my hero.

01-25-2008, 8:45 AM
I found a copy of the article here: http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com

But again, no source cited for it.


01-25-2008, 8:55 AM
.22lr is fine for home defense. The guy obviously shouldn't have used quiet colibri to avoid waking his neighbors though...;)

01-25-2008, 8:59 AM
Good on ya Smokey......

01-25-2008, 11:13 AM
I can't find the original source for it.

01-25-2008, 11:39 AM
Classic stuff right there :D

I gaurantee you that even though the perp didn't die...he sure as heck needed a new pair of shorts

01-25-2008, 5:14 PM
WTF? Was he shooting a .22 pellet pistol?

A friend of mine is a SWAT officer with a major department. He says it is astounding how a bullet will bounce off or around the human body, despite the caliber.

People say that any gun is fine, as long as you choose proper shot placement, but do you realize how hard it is to get a "proper" placement at a moving target, in the dark, with your adrenaline surging at Old Faithful levels? As the man said, "Bring enough gun to the fight."


01-25-2008, 5:22 PM
Bear in mind that the article didn't say he used 22LR, just that he used a "22 revolver".

He could've been using 22 Short, especially since he bought the ammo ages ago. Short used to be a lot more popular than it is these days.

01-25-2008, 6:51 PM
I can't find the source, either.

I did find this: