Las Vegas Sun

December 18, 2014

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Court says man cannot burglarize his own house

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Supreme Court ruled today that a Las Vegas man accused of killing his estranged wife and wounding her boyfriend in the suspect’s home cannot be charged with burglary.

The court said “a person cannot commit burglary of a home when he or she has an absolute right to enter the home.”

According to court documents, Troy White was separated from his estranged wife, Echo Lucas, who remained in his home. White had visitation rights to his children.

On July 27, 2012, White allegedly entered the home and fatally shot his wife and wounded her boyfriend, Joseph Averman, according to court records.

Among murder and other counts, White was charged with burglary while in possession of a firearm, court records said.

The Supreme Court ruling written by Chief Justice Mark Gibbons said, “We conclude that the Legislature has not eliminated the common law notion that a person with an absolute unconditional right to enter a structure cannot burglarize that structure.”

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office had argued that the law holds that any person who enters a home with intent to commit a felony is guilty of burglary.

The decision upholds the pre-trial ruling of District Court Judge Elizabeth G. Gonzales who dismissed the burglary charge. The other charges are pending.

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