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Self-defense shooting ruled justified by grand jury

Originally ran here as:
"Monteleone shooting ruled justified"
By CHRIS POLLACK, The News-Review
June 22, 2001

Grand jury decision: Lookingglass man won’t be indicted for murder after panel finds there is not enough evidence to charge him with a crime

A Douglas County grand jury has closed the book on the November 2000 shooting death of Michael Dale Monteleone near Lookingglass by declining to indict the shooter, Charles Patrick Shirtcliff.

Shirtcliff, 54, of Lookingglass could have faced a charge of first-degree murder had he been indicted.

In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Douglas County Assistant District Attorney Bill Marshall said the grand jury had insufficient evidence to charge Shirtcliff with a crime.

"They made a determination that Shirtcliff was justified in using deadly physical force," he said. "Mr. Shirtcliff was cooperative from the beginning of the thing. He cooperated with the grand jury investigation, putting himself in a hard situation and having to answer tough questions."

Marshall said the District Attorney’s Office now considers the case closed. Neither Shirtcliff nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

The decision puts an end to months of public speculation about exactly what happened between Shirtcliff and Monteleone that resulted in the shooting.

On Nov. 28, 2000, Shirtcliff told police during the investigation, he saw a man, subsequently found to be 40-year-old Monteleone, in a ski mask running from the house at 1015 Coos Bay Wagon Road. Taking a pistol with him, Shirtcliff drove after Monteleone and eventually caught up with his pickup in a field near the house.

Shirtcliff told police that Monteleone tried to run over him with his truck, then got out of his vehicle and came at him with a shiny object in his hand that he thought was a gun. Shirtcliff shot Monteleone, hitting him at least six times according to a coroner’s investigation, killing him.

The coroner also found that Monteleone was shot at least twice while he was on the ground. The shiny object in his hand was a wrench. Police found Shirtcliff’s home had been burglarized, and Monteleone was the only suspect in the burglary. Nothing was missing, however.

Monteleone was a former track star at Glendale High School. At the time he was shot, he was a partner in a contracting firm. He and Shirtcliff were business competitors, and according to police records, numerous witnesses placed both men together at social functions and business meetings. Through his lawyer, Shirtcliff denied he knew Monteleone or recognized him on the day of the shooting. Members of Monteleone’s family expressed shock and dismay at the grand jury’s decision.

"We all thought this would go to trial," said Roseburg resident Daleen Thomas, Monteleone’s sister. "Our family’s pretty sad. I feel a great injustice has been served here, and our family has suffered a huge loss. I’m in shock."

Monteleone’s brother, Dale Monteleone, said he was disappointed, but not surprised.

"I could’ve predicted this," he said. "It doesn’t surprise me. Just with the whole investigation and the way things were going."

Members of Monteleone’s family expressed frustration at what they thought was the slow pace of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigation. Marshall said police and the grand jury did what was necessary to ensure an honest and fair investigation.

"The police did a real thorough investigation. The grand jury did a real thorough investigation," he said. "That’s why it took a long time." The grand jury’s decision was not surprising to some members of the local law enforcement community. In an interview on April 13 with some private citizens concerned about the progress of the case, Lt. Norm Nelson, head of the sheriff office’s Criminal Division, said people often are not prosecuted in Douglas County for shootings on their property.

"In the past, there have been a number of cases where they did not indict," he said. "Douglas County has historically not prosecuted people for shootings on their property. I’ve worked here for 23 years, and the shootings I can recall (of this nature) have not been prosecuted."

• You can reach reporter Chris Pollock at 957-4213, or by e-mail at cpollock@oregonnews.com.


NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed, without profit, for research or educational purposes. We do our best, as well, to give credit to the original news source who published these Guns Save Lives stories out of respect and appreciation for their willingness to spread the word that Guns Save Lives -- and when an original link is available, we ALWAYS send all our visitors to read the original article on the original site where it was posted. God Bless the Americans that publish these stories - for assisting Americans in hearing the truth about guns saving lives.

 

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