Jury Finds Former Green Beret Innocent In 2015 Shooting Of Home Intruder

news

An El Paso County jury on Monday acquitted a Green Beret of negligent homicide for fatally shooting an intruder in his garage.


Michael J. Galvin, 35, was found not guilty of the sole count against him in the Nov. 3, 2015 death of Robert Carrigan, who authorities say was shot three times in the back, allegedly as he tried to escape through the garage door.

After a two-week trial, a seven woman, five-man jury rejected the charge after roughly a half day of deliberations.

"The jury worked very hard in this case, and we're grateful that the jury got it right," said one of Galvin's attorneys, Julia Stancil.

During trial, Galvin's attorneys highlighted Galvin's military training in arguing that he knew how to identify a deadly threat. They argued that evidence showed Carrigan "lunged" for Galvin's pistol in the dark, forcing the homeowner to defend himself. They also accused the prosecution of mischaracterizing autopsy findings to support their theory that Carrigan was shot in the back.

The encounter happened in a garage set back 25 feet from Galvin's house after he saw his bicycle lying in the backyard and went back to investigate.

The negligent homicide count alleged that he was guilty of a "gross deviation" from what a reasonable person would do in his place. Prosecutors said he should have waited in his house and called police, or else used his pistol to hold the intruder at bay.

A former member of the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson who now serves in the Colorado Army National Guard, Galvin could have faced up to three years in prison if convicted.

Several jurors declined to comment on their way out of court. At least four women on the jury stopped in a courtroom hallway to embrace Galvin's wife, Ariel, including a juror who showed up for closing arguments on Friday wearing a shirt that read "ARMY." As Galvin's relatives and supporters quietly celebrated in the courtroom, members of Carrigan's family exchanged embraces with the prosecution team. Carrigan, who lived in the neighborhood where he died, was described at trial as a troubled man who had turned his life around in recent years only to relapse into drug addiction, causing him to lose his house and live on the streets.

"We believed in our case, we still believe in our case, and we respectfully disagree with the jury's decision," said prosecutor Sam Burney.

Prosecutors previously acknowledged that the case could hinge on interpretations of Colorado's so-called "make my day" law, which provides legal protections to homeowners who use deadly force against intruders.

But those protections are limited to dwellings, defined by state law as buildings "used, intended to be used, or usually used by a person for habitation" - raising the issue of whether a detached garage qualifies.

Under make my day, Colorado residents are permitted to use force against intruders, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe intruders intend to use "any degree" of force against them.

The state's self-defense statutes provide a somewhat higher threshold. To lawfully use deadly force, a person must have reasonable ground to believe that he or someone else is at risk of being killed or seriously injured, and that a lesser degree of force is inadequate.

———

©2017 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

WATCH NOW: 

A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested this week planned to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," according to a court filing requesting he be detained until his trial.

Read More Show Less
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton

At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.

Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.

They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.

What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.

Read More Show Less
A photo shared by Hoda Muthana on her now-closed @ZumarulJannaTwitter account. (Twitter/ZumarulJannah)

The State Department announced Wednesday that notorious ISIS bride Hoda Muthana, a U.S.-born woman who left Alabama to join ISIS but began begging to return to the U.S. after recently deserting the terror group, is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return home.

Read More Show Less
Heckler & Koch's first batch of M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the employee behind a firearm company's Facebook page decided to goaded a bunch of Marines into destroying their brand new firearms? Now you know.

Read More Show Less

A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.

"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.

Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."

Read More Show Less