Taylor not expected to face charges
BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
DANVILLE — A resident doesn’t need to be attacked first to have the right to defend himself, according to Illinois state law.
The issue of self defense arose this week when retired longtime police officer Max “Mick” Taylor, 58, of Indianola shot and killed two intruders in his home Monday night.
Taylor shot the men, one of whom was holding a shotgun, after the men forced their way in and began to strangle him with their hands.
Vermilion County Sheriff Pat Hartshorn said use of deadly force is authorized when people feel their life or another person’s life is in jeopardy or they are about to receive great bodily harm.
The key in such situations is threat. Statutes indicate a person only must “reasonably believe” their lives or safety is in danger.
“People need to understand that the threat of danger is a serious matter,” Hartshorn said, adding that an offender’s actions have to create the idea of danger.
The sheriff noted he did not believe the incident would cause a jump in local residents opting for firearms to protect themselves.
The issue of what qualifies as self defense became more important Wednesday with the release of new details in the shooting. Hartshorn confirmed that the shotgun carried by one of the suspects during the home invasion was not loaded during the incident.
Hartshorn said, looking at the gun, it is impossible to tell whether the shotgun has a shell in it
Vermilion County State’s Attorney Randy Brinegar said Wednesday he continues to review all reports from the sheriff’s department, but at this point he does not believe there will be any charges filed against Taylor as a result of the shootings.
Brinegar noted that the shotgun without shells has been taken into account up to this point.
The identities of the two suspects were confirmed by the Vermilion County Coroner’s Office, naming 22-year-old Thomas Moore of Georgetown and Peter Chromyn II, 17, of Tilton as the two men killed in the failed home invasion.
The coroner’s office indicated Chromyn, who was holding the shotgun at the time he was shot, died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest. Moore died of a single gunshot wound, also to the chest.
The final autopsy report will not be complete until toxicology tests results are returned.
Moore and Chromyn were dropped off at the Taylor home just outside of Indianola as part of a planned robbery. The suspects, Hartshorn said, were under the impression the homeowners had money in the two-story home. The men demanded to know where the safe was when they attacked Taylor.
The men followed Taylor’s wife upstairs when she offered them her jewelry. At that point, Taylor retrieved a handgun from inside the bedroom and shot Chromyn as he was leveling the shotgun at Taylor.
The third suspect in the case, Zachary Spencer, 17, of Georgetown was arraigned in circuit court on two counts of home invasion. Bond for Spencer was set at $100,000.
The charges, both Class X felonies, have maximum punishments of 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. One of the charges also carries special penalties with it, adding to the potential maximum prison time.
Spencer, who dropped off Moore and Chromyn at the Taylor home, was arrested by Vermilion County deputies two blocks away.