We regularly touch on home defense stories with a Second Amendment angle, but this news item out of Oklahoma has a couple of odd twists and turns in it. The headline for it is infuriating enough, though, since it deals with a mother shooting (but not killing) a 31 year old man she found in her sixteen year old daughter’s bedroom when she arrived home. Unlike many home defense tales, however, this one resulted in the mother being arrested. (KFOR News)
An Oklahoma mom was arrested Monday morning, after police said she shot a man she found in her 16-year-old daughter’s bedroom.
Police arrested 34-year-old Valerie Fowler for assault and battery with a deadly weapon.
It happened at a home on Mark Ave in Paoli.
“We can say that there was a 16-year-old girl that witnessed the shooting a well as a young child,” said Michael Lewis, Paoli police chief.
The initial reports I saw of the shooting were extremely thin on details. The man was “in the daughter’s bedroom” when Ms. Fowler shot him, but who he was, what he was doing there and the possible relationships between the actors involves were unknown. But later this morning the local news crews did some follow-up interviews and dug into the details. This wasn’t some innocent misunderstanding of the cable guy showing up at the wrong time. The 31 one year old was the daughter’s “boyfriend.” (KFOR News)
Authorities then spoke with Fowler’s daughter. According to the arrest affidavit, she told police that the victim comes over at least three times a week after her mother leaves for work.
On that day, she said that they were in bed kissing when Fowler kicked in the bedroom door.
The girl said that she jumped out of bed, which is when Fowler allegedly fired a gun at the victim as he was trying to get out of the bed.
The girl also told investigators that Fowler fired a second round at the victim while he was walking down the hallway to the front door.
So this 31 year old had been showing up at the Fowler house on a regular basis, but waiting until the mother left for work. When mom arrived home she didn’t just find him “in the bedroom.” They were in the daughter’s bed kissing. One presumes that’s all that happened to be going on when the mother arrived, but there was likely more serious activity taking place if he’s in the bed.
So she shot him. My gut reaction is to simply applaud her actions and assume that she would not be charged with anything. After all, this creep was engaged in physical contact of a sexual nature with her child. Statutory rape, right? Unfortunately that might be a bit of a hasty conclusion. The minimum age of consent in Oklahoma is 16.
In Oklahoma, the age of consent is 16, and the law recognizes an age differential of two years. This means that no person can be convicted of rape or rape by instrumentation with anyone over the age of 14, with that person’s consent, unless the defendant was older than 18 at the time the sexual act occurred. Though statutory rape is a strict liability crime which does not require the prosecutor to prove that an assault occurred, it is still classified as rape under the Oklahoma penal code.
The wording on the statue isn’t exactly crystal clear here, but I’m pretty sure it spells trouble for the mother. The two year window in the law would appear to be a “Romeo and Juliet” exception, common in many states. If one half of the couple is below the age of consent, the partner can not be prosecuted for statutory rape if they are withing a certain age… in this case, two years. Clearly the man in the daughter’s bed is far, far beyond that limit, but if she’s sixteen years old it may not matter.
Still, this is a 31 year old man in bed with a child. C’mon, man. You should consider yourself lucky that a “shot to the extremities” was all you got.