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Castle Doctrine Founders Working to Beef Up Law

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- With the recent increase in home invasions, self defense advocates want to make sure by West Virginia state law -- you can protect yourself.

“My dad was taken unexpectedly, and for no cause,” Ralph Wooten said.

Wooten’s father, Carmel Wooten, was beaten to death by two people who broke into his home.

Ralph is now a big advocate for the castle doctrine, which gives you the right to defend yourself.

Eugene Mazzocchi and Larry Rogers created the law and got it passed in 2008.

“It was watered down, watered down and the teeth removed,” Mazzocchi said.

“This law right now's not tough enough,” Rogers said.

So they went back to the drawing board; hoping to get rid of gray areas and make it more black and white.

As it stands now, if you fight off an intruder or attacker, you could still be the one to get in trouble.

“He (the intruder) tells me "I’m not gonna hurt you. I'll just leave you alone. I want your watch, your jewelry, your gold coins or this," you can't do anything,” Mazzocchi said. “If he comes in with a 5-inch blade knife, I couldn't pull a 7-inch blade knife.”

“We're trying to prevent the guy who defends himself from being the bad guy in the whole thing,” Rogers said.

Wishing his own father had defended himself, Wooten wants to make sure other families don't suffer like he has.

“Everybody should have the right; especially a law-abiding citizen, to protect themselves,” Wooten said.

And just how far that right goes, all depends on the wording.

“We plan to get this through with teeth,” Mazzocchi said.

“When they come in your house it's either you or them, so you got to make a choice. I know which one I would pick,” Rogers said.

They plan to present the revised castle doctrine to the senate when the legislative session starts up in February.


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