After firing shots at Columbus SWAT officers who had battered in his front door, Lincoln S. Rutledge told them he had a right to defend his home, one of the officers testified Wednesday.
Officer Charles Distelhorst said Rutledge invoked the “castle doctrine” law to explain why he was shooting.
“He told me we had broken into his house illegally,” Distelhorst said as Rutledge’s death-penalty trial continued in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.
About two hours after those officers were met with gunfire at the entrance of Rutledge’s Clintonville apartment on April 10, 2016, a shot fired out a back window of the apartment struck and fatally wounded Officer Steven Smith.
Rutledge, 45, could be sentenced to death if the jury determines that he purposely killed a police officer. Judge Mark Serrott is presiding over the trial, which pits Assistant Prosecutors Daniel Hogan and Warren Edwards against defense attorneys Jefferson Liston and Mitch Williams.
The castle doctrine allows individuals to use deadly force to protect themselves against an intruder in their home.
Distelhorst said he had shouted that he and the members of his team were Columbus police SWAT officers with a warrant for Rutledge’s arrest. While standing outside the front door with a brick wall for protection, Distelhorst said, he told Rutledge that the castle doctrine did not apply to officers making a lawful entry with a warrant.
“He told me I didn’t know what the (expletive) I was talking about,” according to Distelhorst, who said Rutledge was shouting at him from a back bedroom where he was…
click here to read more.