When a person is charged with an offense such as murder arising from a situation where deadly force has been used to counter an attack they are faced with the issue of what defense to present. Affirmative defenses vary in Illinois and include self defense and defense of a dwelling. Self-defense allows a person to escape criminal liability if they can prove they used deadly force against another person to avoid great bodily harm or death to themselves or another. Defense of a dwelling allows a person to escape criminal liability if they can prove they used deadly force against another person to avoid an assault (or worse) or a forcible felony against themselves or another. Obviously, the difference between the two affirmative defenses is stark. It is much easier to prove the decedent was killed to prevent an assault or forcible felony against another than it is to prove the defendant reasonably feared great bodily injury or death.
I recently tried a murder case (2/15/22) where my clients defenses were both self-defense and defense of a dwelling. The decedent was shot at the bedroom window of his wife's residence after he pounded on the door and windows while yelling he was going to kill everyone inside. The issue presented to the court was that the defendant feared the decedent would enter the building and assault (or worse) he or his wife. We believe the facts were sufficient to sustain the defense for the counts of murder. However the court has not yet ruled.