Self Defense or Killing Over Property?
Charles Chieppa, of New Bedford Massachusetts awoke to noise in his basement. Chieppa awoke Wilnick Thenor, a tenant who lived upstairs, then retrieved a loaded handgun and retreated to his backyard. There, he encountered Frank Pereira Jr. The facts after that are more fuzzy. Pereira was fatally shot by Chieppa. Witnesses claim Pereira was seen jumping a fence as he fled from the yard before expiring in the street. The state Medical Examiner's Office determined a bullet hit him in the back and exited his chest.
Fast forward to today. Jurors needed just 3& ½ hours to determine New Bedford homeowner Charles D. Chieppa was justified in killing the suspected burglar in 2004. His defense attorney, Kevin J. Reddington, told the jury that his client, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, believed he was in mortal danger when he fired his gun that morning. "When you consider his state of mind, when you consider the circumstances, this was a justifiable homicide by a citizen protecting himself," Mr. Reddington said, "I like to think one of the objectives of this is it will give the Frank Pereiras of the world second thoughts before they enter a homeowner's property."
Of course, the dead burglar's family is making statements about how little Frankie was always a good boy, and how he would give you the shirt off his back. "Everyone has a flaw." they wrote in a statement. "Frankie was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He was a young father who supported his family working as a mechanic. There is not a day that goes by where we don't relive this nightmare."
They seem to ignore the fact that their little Frankie was in another man's home. One wonders what he might have been doing there. Was he repairing the man's automobile? Perhaps he was not working as a mechanic to support his family. Could it be he was not altruistically and anonymously distributing smelly flannel shirts about the town, bought with the leftovers of his hard earned money? Could it be that he was there to take another's man's shirt, another man's property, and if necessary another man's life? One really wonders what the hell this honest hard working mechanic was doing in another man's home at four o'clock in the damned morning! Bottom line: If Frank Pereira Jr. had been at home asleep, minding his own business and taking care of his family, he would likely be alive today.