ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - The homeowner in Zachary who shot at a teen accused of trying to break into his home remains behind bars, and there is one big reason why.
Terry Flanagan is a convicted felon who was out on parole for doing something most homeowners could get away with, but according to federal law, he should not have a gun.
Parole supervisors with the Louisiana Department of Corrections say Flanagan was doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing when three teens allegedly broke into his house this past weekend. The DOC says he had a job that he walked to every day from his apartment and he was making good on the conditions of his parole. But on Saturday, October 21, he made a mistake that could cost him his freedom. The Zachary Police Department reports Flanagan shot and killed Chadrick Spurlock, 15, as he jumped out of a window after allegedly burglarizing Flanagan's home.
Longtime criminal defense attorney, Lewis Unglesby, says if it were not for his felony convictions, Flanagan would have had every right to defend himself and his property.
"You don't need to be in your car or house. You can be at the mall, and if you had a legitimate reason to think you are in danger, and you have a gun, you can just shoot the gun," said Unglesby.
But Flanagan, who was given a life sentence as a habitual offender, is a convicted felon, and Unglesby says while in some cases, like those involving health care fraud, Louisiana law does allow some felons to have guns, federal law does not.
"That wouldn't, however, trump the federal law, so you are always in violation if you have a gun if you've been convicted of a felony and you don't have some sort of dispensation from the ATF that gives you a right to a gun," said Unglesby.
Convicted felons, Unglesby says, cannot even knowingly be near a gun, according to the law. While in some cases it can be hard to prove, Unglesby says this one appears to be clear. "If you are a convicted felon, you can't have a gun," said Unglesby.
Flanagan is charged with second degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was booked in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison and is awaiting a hearing before the parole board. He is being held on a $260,000 bond.