PA Bill Number: HB796
Title: In protection from abuse, further providing for definitions and for relief.
Description: In protection from abuse, further providing for definitions and for relief. ...
Last Action Date: Apr 1, 2023
Pennsylvania Self Defense: DA Won’t File Charges In Death Of Man Shot, Killed In Jeannette :: 04/06/2022
JEANNETTE, Pa. (KDKA) – No charges will be filed in the death of a man shot and killed in Jeannette two and a half years ago, the Westmoreland County district attorney announced Wednesday.
Citing the Castle Doctrine, District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli said Mariell McGowan-Means was killed in self-defense.
McGowan was one of three people shot at a home on Cuyler Avenue on Oct. 28, 2019.
According to Ziccarelli, the shooter knew McGowan and two other men were armed, intended to hurt him and were part of an armed home invasion and “brutal” assault earlier in the evening before they came to his home.
The man told the men there were children in his house and they should stay away, but Ziccarelli said the group showed up anyways. Fearing the lives of himself and others, she said the resident shot and killed McGowan just outside the house.
But McGowan’s family says Ziccarelli got it wrong. They said all the men, including the shooter, were actually friends and that they were going there to resolve a disagreement, but there was nothing threatening about it.
“There’s another person that gave a statement actually that saw part of what happened down there, that my son got out of the car. Never went on his porch. Never went around his property. They had that statement, but they’re still calling it self-defense. He was unarmed,” said McGowan’s mother Taunja Williamson.
Ziccarelli said the Castle Doctrine “empowered” the shooter to defend his life and the lives of his family.
“While I am deeply sorry for Mariell McGowan’s family’s loss, I made a commitment to the people of Westmoreland County to make decisions based on the law, and not emotions,” Zicarrelli said in a statement.
But the family stands by their point that McGowan reportedly never went on the property and that self-defense should not be applied here. They also wonder why, since the shooter knew the men were coming there, he didn’t leave or call the police if he felt threatened.
Ziccarelli said the case is closed.