This is a compelling story, if you have a few minutes to read the whole thing. It pits a possibly mentally ill man and his reclusive mother against teenagers out for a relatively tame (especially in this day and age) night of fun, and things go horribly wrong:
It has come to be known as the Spooky House Incident: A group of teenagers in this quaint older suburb who tried to scare themselves on a "ghost hunt" and a recluse who responded with gunfire, leaving two lives wrecked.
A pretty blonde high school cheerleader, Rachel Barezinsky, is crippled for life. Allen S. Davis, roused from an eccentric but otherwise unoffending existence, was sentenced last month to 19 years in prison for what he describes as defending his home.
A year after the shots were fired, the bizarre case has left residents around Columbus torn. While plenty of people felt Davis got what he deserved for overreacting to teenager antics, many others saw the girls as picking on Davis and facing no legal consequences for trespassing.
"I felt kind of sorry for both sides," resident Jane Leppert said as she sat outside a coffee shop near the village's brick-paved square. "Although I feel very sorry for the girl who was shot, she unfortunately messed around with a kind of paranoid individual who felt the need to protect himself, even against kids."
I read through the story several times until I finally came down slightly on the side of the homeowner. He was guilty under the law, but the sentence seems overly harsh. The case hinged on the fact that the girls were not technically trespassing because they weren't far enough onto the property and there were no clearly visible signs. But they were seeking thrills at the place because it had a reputation of being "spooky." There's usually a reason for that.
But we value life over property, so perhaps I'm wrong. What do you think?