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June 12, 2014

Shooting death ruled justified homicide

No charges to be filed against Miami Co. man who shot and killed intruder

PERU — Miami County prosecutors won’t bring charges against a man who they say shot and killed an intruder who attacked him with a baseball bat.

Andrew Baldwin used a handgun to shoot 30-year-old Donny Sturgill, Peru, on Saturday after he told deputies Sturgill smashed out a front door window and hit Baldwin with a baseball bat to collect money Baldwin owed him.

Baldwin told deputies Sturgill texted him and his roommate, James Bellar, saying he wanted $200 owed him for a phone bill. Sturgill said if he didn’t receive the money, he would go to their house and beat everyone there.

Baldwin said he feared Sturgill, who served prison time for an aggravated battery in 2001 and was also known to be a member of a prison gang called Maniac Latin Disciples, according to prosecutors.

Baldwin said he borrowed a gun from an acquaintance after receiving the text.

When Sturgill arrived at the residence on the 6400 block of North 400 West, in rural Miami County, deputies say he broke out the window and entered the home without invitation.

Baldwin was waiting in the living room, holding a 9-mm pistol, and told Sturgill to get out of his house, prosecutors said.

Sturgill then swung the baseball bat at Baldwin, which broke his arm. Baldwin responded by firing two shots at Sturgill, striking him in the pelvic area and the heart, prosecutors said.

Sturgill backed up, fell into a wall near a bedroom entrance, pivoted around the doorway and fell between the bed and the wall, prosecutors said.

Baldwin called 911 immediately after the shooting in an attempt to save Sturgill’s life, prosecutors said, and indicated he shot him because he did not want to be hit again.

Miami County Prosecutor Bruce Embrey ruled Tuesday the shooting was a justifiable homicide, citing the “castle doctrine,” which provides that a person may use deadly force to prevent or terminate an unlawful entry into his home.

Embrey also cited Indiana’s self-defense statute which states deadly force is justified when preventing serious bodily injury to yourself or someone else.

The Miami County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State police and the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office conducted the investigation.

Embrey said his determination is subject to any new evidence that may come from future reports.

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