Read & React: Iowa Hostage Kills Fugitive After Prison Escape
August 28, 2013
A manhunt for an escaped convict in Iowa ended last week with a gunshot from a homeowner protecting himself and his wife.
According to the Des Moines Register, 38-year-old Rodney Long hadn't apparently counted on 71-year-old Jerome Mauderly protecting himself and his wife, Carolyn, 66, from the armed fugitive. The decision to break into the Mauderlys' home and hold them hostage proved to be fatal.
For nearly four days, the residents of Bedford, Iowa, were living in fear after Long escaped from the nearby Clarinda Correctional Facility by scaling a 12-foot fence between 4 and 7 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16.
At some point after the escape, authorities believe Long broke into a house just north of Clarinda, stealing a semi-automatic pistol, money and clothes.
Later, Long was spotted walking along Iowa Highway 2. Taylor County Deputy Dan Wyckoff responded, but was shot twice by Long, who stole Wyckoff's unmarked truck and fled. After a 40-minute chase, Long crashed, rolling the truck several times before escaping on foot — less than a mile away from the Mauderlys' home.
Authorities say they combed the area near the home three times Monday — the last search taking place around 11 a.m. — but at about 10:15 p.m. that night, Long broke into the Mauderlys' home, disabled their landline phones and began making calls with their cell phone.
Meanwhile, the elderly couple remained in their bedroom for four hours while Long wandered through the home, apparently gathering supplies for yet another escape.
Finally, Jerome Mauderly decided enough was enough, grabbed his shotgun and shot Long once. Carolyn Mauderly called 911 at about 2:11 a.m. Tuesday. A responding trooper found Long face down in the Mauderlys' kitchen; neither Jerome nor Carolyn were injured.
Though he has declined to speak with media regarding Tuesday's events, Jerome Mauderly's actions have been praised by many across the country for successfully and legally neutralizing a potentially deadly threat.
"This situation is a poster child for the Second Amendment," State Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, told the Des Moines Register. "The bad guy is dead. The good guys are alive and healthy."
Indeed, Jerome Mauderly's actions fit the Iowa definition of self-defense, which allows a person to use reasonable force believed to be necessary against an imminent threat; furthermore, reasonable force is justified when protecting one's property.
"This is one of the more clean-cut cases of self-defense I've dealt with in a 26-year career," Taylor County Attorney Clinton Spurrier told reporters. "The Mauderlys were in their home and had every reason to believe their lives were threatened. They were aware (Long) had already shot a deputy. He had threatened their lives."
Jerome Mauderly's actions are also fueling the nationwide discussion on stand-your-ground laws, which have come under intense scrutiny after the Trayvon Martin shooting. State Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, told the Des Moines Register while Iowa's self-defense laws allow victims to use force in a home or business, such actions are much more complicated in public settings. Windschitl — who introduced a stand-your-ground bill earlier this year that did not make it to the state Senate — said if a driver were confronted with a deadly threat, the law would require the driver to take another course of action besides lethal force.
However, according to former defense attorney and a Drake University Law School professor Bob Rigg, the state legislature has been hesitant to expand its self-defense laws, saying lawmakers don't want to have shootouts in their communities.
What do you think? Are Iowa's self-defense laws satisfactory, or should they be expanded to include stand-your-ground laws?