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No charges for teen widow who killed intruder

Sarah McKinley was faced with a difficult decision in order to protect her 3-month-old son. NBC's Kristen Dahlgren reports.

Authorities don't plan to file charges against an 18-year-old Oklahoma widow who fatally shot a New Year's Eve intruder at her house while she had a 911 dispatcher on the phone.

However, the intruder's alleged accomplice has been charged with murder in connection with the death.

Sarah McKinley was in her mobile home with her 3-month-old son on New Year's Eve in Blanchard, Okla., when Justin Martin, 24, broke in with a large hunting knife, NBC station KFOR reported.


When she asked if she was allowed to shoot the intruder if he broke through the door, a 911 operator told her, "Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself ... I can't tell you that you can do that but you do what you have to do to protect your baby."

 Oklahoma law allows the use of deadly force against intruders, and prosecutors said McKinley clearly acted in self-defense. According to court documents, Martin was holding a knife when he died.

"Our initial review of the case doesn't indicate she violated the law in any way," Assistant District Attorney James Walters told The Oklahoman newspaper.

Prosecutors have charged his alleged accomplice, 29-year-old Dustin Louis Stewart, with first-degree murder. According to authorities, Stewart was with Martin but ran away from McKinley's home after hearing the gunshots.

"When you're engaged in a crime such as first-degree burglary and a death results from the events of that crime, you're subject to prosecution for it," Walters said.

Barricaded door
Stewart was arraigned Wednesday and was being held in the Grady County jail. A bond hearing was set for Thursday. His attorney, Stephen Buzin, did not immediately respond to a message left at his office Wednesday night.

AP

Dustin Louis Stewart, 29, has been charged with first-degree murder.

According to court documents, Martin and Stewart might have been looking for prescription drugs used by McKinley's husband Kenneth, 58, who died on Christmas Day after being hospitalized with complications from lung cancer.

McKinley said it took the men about 20 minutes to get through her door, which she had barricaded with a couch.

McKinley told KFOR-TV the slain intruder had also showed up at her door on Dec. 29, the day of her husband's funeral.

When he came again on New Year's Eve, she said she grabbed her son and "walked over and got the 12-gauge, went in the bedroom and got the pistol and put the bottle in his mouth and then I called 911," she told KOCO

The 911 operator asked McKinley to confirm that her doors were locked. The young mother said yes, and asked if it was all right for her to shoot the man if he were to enter her house, KOCO reported.

McKinley said she asked the dispatcher, "I've got two guns in my hand -- is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door? I'm here by myself with my infant baby, can I please get a dispatcher out here immediately?"

'I shot him'
The 911 conversation lasted for 21 minutes. Then the door gave in. Martin charged at McKinley with his knife, but she said she shot at him before he could get to her.

"I waited till he got in the door. They said I couldn't shoot him until he was inside the house.  So I waited until he got in the door and then I shot him," McKinley told KFOR.

The decision to shoot was difficult, she told KFOR. "There's nothing more dangerous than a mother with her baby.  But I wouldn't have done it if it wasn't for him."

The Associated Press, NBC News and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

Just hours after an Oklahoma woman laid her husband to rest, she says she was forced to shoot an intruder who showed up to her home. KFOR's Bobbie Miller reports.

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