DEFENSE OF ANOTHER - JUSTIFIABLE USE OF DEADLY FORCE
A person was justified in using deadly force in defense of another person when the person using force reasonably believed that use of deadly force was necessary to (prevent death or great bodily harm to another)/(stop/prevent the commission of a felony that involved the use/(threat of) physical force/violence against any person). Defense of another is a defense although the danger to the life or personal security of the other person may not have been real, if a reasonable person, in the circumstances and from the viewpoint of the defendant, would reasonably have believed the use of deadly force was necessary to (prevent death or great bodily harm to another)/(stop/prevent the commission of a felony that involved the use/(threat of) physical force/violence against any person).
Statutory Authority: 21 O.S. Supp. 2014, § 733(2).
Prior to 2014, justifiable homicide in the defense of another was limited to the defense of persons specified in the statute, which were spouses, parents, children, masters, mistresses, and servants. The Court of Criminal Appeals refused to extend the justification beyond the statutory language. See Whitechurch v. State, 1983 OK CR 9, ¶ 11, 657 P.2d 654, 656 (statute did not cover a brother or sister); Cowles v. State, 1981 OK CR 132, ¶ 11, 636 P.2d 342, 345 (defendant's companion was not within the limited group of persons for whom fatal force in their defense was justifiable). Justifiable homicide was also previously limited to instances in which the other person was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. See Garrett v. State, 1978 OK CR 126, ¶ 11, 586 P.2d 754, 756 (justifiable homicide not warranted where defendant shot deceased and three others to prevent continued statutory rape of her foster daughter; the daughter was not in imminent danger and defendant had previous knowledge of the relationship)
Section 733(2) was amended in 2014 to incorporate the language of 21 O.S 2011, § 1289.25(D) into the defense of justifiable homicide. The justifiable homicide provision in 21 O.S Supp. 2014, § 733(2) provides that homicide is justifiable when a person kills a victim while lawfully defending himself or herself or another person “when the person using force reasonably believes such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to terminate or prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” “A forcible felony” is defined broadly as “any felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any person.”