Suspect fatally shot after attempting home invasion

*CORRECTION: CCNA previously reported that the suspect was disarmed during the scuffle prior to the shooting. Baxter Springs Chief of Police Mike Kliewer has confirmed that was false and that Saggert was not disarmed prior to the fatal gunshot.*

BAXTER SPRINGS - It's a frightening ordeal to imagine, but one Baxter Springs resident was recently the victim of an attempted home invasion in broad daylight. The nightmarish situation forced the homeowner into what is being called a self-defense shooting. The home invasion occurred early Sunday afternoon at 234 East 6th Street, in Baxter Springs.

Baxter Springs Chief of Police Mike Kliewer said the suspect entered the residence armed with a knife. The home owners were present at the time, and the suspect assaulted and threatened the home owners with aforementioned knife. After a struggle, one of the residents fatally shot the suspect with a firearm. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, and was identified by the Baxter Springs Police Department as Chebonnie E. Saggert, 43.

Saggert has an extensive record in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, that stretches back over a decade and includes previous incarceration for Aggravated Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon on two separate occasions. In December of 1996, Saggert was convicted on two counts of Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, and two counts of Larceny of Automobile, for which he served three years. He was again charged with two counts of Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon in December of 2008, serving nearly eight more years.

As there is no apparent connection between Saggert and the home owners, it remains unclear at this time why Saggert broke into the residence. The case is currently under investigation by the Baxter Springs Police Department. The police have reported they've had previous dealings with Saggert, and it is possible he may have known the house was occupied by an elderly couple.

Until the investigation is closed and the police have issued an official report, it's merely speculation, but early evidence suggests the situation is likely to fall under Kansas's "stand-your-ground" law. Kansas is one of several states to have a "castle doctrine", or a law which grants legal protection to an individual who uses a gun for self defense in their home.

"Basically, if someone is generally justified in using deadly force if they are defending themselves or another person from great bodily harm or death," said Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves.

The term 'castle doctrine' is derived from the dictum that "an Englishman's home is his castle". This concept was established as English law by the 17th century jurist Sir Edward Coke, in his The Institutes of the Laws of England, 1628, and subsequently came to the New World with the colonists.

These days most states have stand-your-ground laws where individuals can use deadly force in circumstances of self-defense. In Kansas the specific laws are Kansas' Self-Defense & Defense of Others Statutes (KSA 2011 21-5220 through 21-5231), and first went into effect in 2006. The laws cleared up a misconception about whether or not individuals had to attempt to retreat. Now, if you're defending yourself, you do not have to retreat, hence the colloquialism, stand-your-ground.

Critics of these types of laws have argued that this allows citizens to use excessive force, and paint a picture of a lawless, wild west. The issue was catapulted into public discussion in 2012 when George Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida, fatally shot Trayvon Martin, 17.

The stand-your-ground law apparently has not been applied much in Kansas, and no specific numbers are available statewide. A spike in justifiable homicides by citizens could be an indicator that stand-your-ground laws were creating a problem, although justifiable homicides wouldn’t necessarily be directly correlated to a stand-your-ground incident. Nationally, the recent rate of justifiable homicides by citizens has been fairly steady, according to the FBI, climbing about four to five percent annually the last decade.