WOODBINE, Md. (WJZ) — The Woodbine man who fatally shot an alleged shirtless intruder trying to break into his home will not face criminal charges, Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson said Tuesday afternoon.
At a news conference, Gibson said there was “no criminal violation in this instance,” and therefore Charles Dorsey will not be charged for fatally shooting Gerardo Alberto “Gary” Espinoza in July.
The case is covered by the Castle Doctrine, Gibson said, which allows a homeowner to use force and does not require them to retreat if someone forces their way into the homeowner’s residence.
SA Gibson: "No criminal violation in this instance"; no criminal charges against Dorsey in Espinoza's death.
— Paul Gessler (@PaulGessler) September 3, 2019
Espinoza, 46, who police said was staying at a friend’s home nearby and may have gotten lost, had a blood-alcohol level of .22 at the time of the shooting.
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Police said he was banging on Dorsey’s front door in the 14000 block of Carriage Mill Road around 1 a.m. July 21 and did not leave after Dorsey and his wife yelled for him to leave.
Doorbell video footage reportedly showed Espinoza jostling the door handle and shouting profanity.
At first, Espinoza appeared to be smiling and joking around before Dorsey could be heard telling him to leave and walk down the driveway, an edited version of the video provided by the state’s attorney’s office shows.
“From the mindset of the Dorseys, it’s one o’clock in the morning and there’s a shirtless man who’s demanding to be let in and will not go away,” Gibson said.
Minutes later, the deadbolt was opened after police entered the neighborhood and Espinoza returned. That’s when he started jostling the door handle and the lock gave way.
Dorsey, 56, fired a single, fatal shot as Espinoza tried to gain entry, police said.
Gibson said he believes Espinoza thought he was being pranked since he assumed the Dorseys’ home was a friend’s.
“It is clear that there was no crime that occurred, although there was a terrible loss of life,” Gibson said.
The state’s attorney’s office reviewed 911 calls, toxicology reports as well as statements from the Dorseys and neighbors in addition to the video, he said.
Officials also met with the Espinoza family and their attorneys for two hours Tuesday to explain the decision not to charge Dorsey.
In a statement to WJZ several days after the shooting, Dorsey’s lawyer said it was “a defense of last resort.”
Dorsey’s wife had reportedly called 911 prior to him pulling the trigger.