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Deadly brawl is latest test of self-defense laws

By Associated Press
Published On: Jun 18 2014 08:14:36 AM CDT

A Pueblo defense attorney discusses similarities and differences in Colorado and Florida laws relating to the recent George Zimmerman case.

DENVER, Colo. -

A Colorado prosecutor says he's frustrated the state's self-defense laws prevent him from charging a man who fatally shot an acquaintance in a drunken brawl.

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger says he can't charge Joseph Hoskins in the New Year's Day shooting of Randy Cook inside Hoskins' house. He says he's hamstrung by the state's "Make My Day" law, which protects homeowners from prosecution for using deadly force when someone illegally enters their home and there's reason to believe that person will commit a crime.

The Grand Junction case presents the latest test to self-defense gun laws, which have received renewed attention recently after deadly shootings in Montana, Minnesota and Nevada.

Steven Jansen of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys says the burden is increasingly on prosecutors to prove self-defense didn't occur.

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