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Dustin Louis Stewart, accused of breaking into an Oklahoma woman’s home, will now be charged with murder as a result of his accomplice’s death. However, Stewart was not the one who killed him; the woman did. He is being charged with first-degree felony murder due to a law that states a person can be charged for murder if another person is killed during certain crimes.
The break in was recorded through a 911 phone call from the woman. Sarah Dawn McKinley, 18, had just lost her husband to cancer on Christmas Day and was home alone with her 3-month-old son on New Year’s Eve when two men attempted to break in to her home. She moved a couch in front of the door when she heard the men outside, put a bottle in her baby’s mouth, and retrieved two of her guns.
McKinley called 911 and asked if it was okay to shoot the intruders. “I’ve got two guns in my hand. Is it okay to shoot him if he comes in this door?” she asked. The dispatcher, Diane Graham, answered, “Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself. I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you do what you have to do to protect your baby.”
When Justin Shane Martin entered her home, she shot and killed him with a 12-gauge shotgun. He was armed with a hunting knife. “You have to make a choice, you or him. I chose my son over him,” McKinley stated. James Walters, First Assistant District Attorney, said McKinley acted in self-defense and will not be charged.
“A person has the right to protect themselves, their family, and their property,” Walters said. He also agreed with the 911 dispatcher’s advice. Graham said that her training states she could not tell a caller to shoot somebody, but as a mother, she wanted McKinley to protect her baby.
Art Kell, the Grady County Sheriff, said, “She did a very good job in keeping her (McKinley) calm. Her job is to make sure the person on the phone is comfortable… to give them support.” Court documents show there were indications that Stewart and Martin were looking for painkillers and other drugs of McKinley’s deceased husband, though she believes the men were after her.
According to the affidavit, Stewart said Martin and he had taken hydrocodone 30 minutes before attempting to break in to the home. Martin banged on the doors and hit one with his shoulder to gain entry. After Stewart heard a gunshot, he fled.
“When he busted in the door I saw something shimmering in his hand,” McKinley told HLN. “I thought it was a pistol at first, but it was a 12-inch hunting knife. I didn’t know (that) until after I shot and killed him.” When asked on “Dr. Drew” if she had any regrets over the shooting, she answered, “No. We could have been in a whole different situation if I hadn’t done it.”