Law and Disorder. Weigh in, because this is confusing.

A married woman in Texas was with her lover in his pick up truck in her family driveway when her husband came home and saw them together.  She cried “RAPE” and he fired his gun at the pickup as her lover (remember, he thought the guy was a rapist) drove away.  

After the smoke cleared, the prosecution charged the woman with involuntary manslaughter.

From CNN:

A Texas woman who caused her lover’s shooting death by falsely crying rape was convicted Friday of involuntary manslaughter.


In late 2006, Darrell Roberson came home from a late-night card game to find his scantily clad wife with another man in a pickup truck in the driveway. Tracy Roberson was with her lover but cried rape, and her husband fired four shots into the truck as Devin LaSalle drove off, killing him.

Read the entire story here, if you wish.…

Originally the husband was charged with murder, but once the actual details of this situation came to light, the charges were dropped against him and his wife was charged instead.

Legally, this seems at first blush to be really unorthodox.  

The person firing the weapon that kills a person and ultimately is not charged with a crime, due to the fact the shots were fired under false pretense.  

Did this person need to fire shots in the first place?  

Was a phone call to the police enough, or was the passion of the moment simply too much to expect an average human to react reasonably?

First, wouldn’t you go directly to your wife who is, in your estimation, under duress?  Perhaps then, get the license of the vehicle the alleged perpetrator is driving, or at least the description and then call the police?  Or, would you go to the nearest firearm and start shooting because you can see your wife is no longer in danger but the perpetrator is getting away?

Tough one, for me.  Since I don’t own any firearms, the question is easily answered.

However, that doesn’t mean that if there was a baseball bat sitting in the yard, under the circumstances, would I have grabbed it and started beating the guy if I could get to him, or???

This is not a delicate question, but what do you THINK you would do?

Do you agree with the legal outcome?  Or,



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    • brobin on May 3, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    been convicted of involuntary manslaughter because she lied about the circumstances that caused this to happen, and in the same vain, his reaction was one of revenge instead of caring first for his wife.

    I can go with that I suppose.  At least at this very minute.  However, I’m willing to bet that after some deliberation on this that I will change my mind.

    What about you?

    • Edger on May 3, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    That starts with “c” and basically boils down to meaning “manipulative bitch”.

    And her husband isn’t very smart, either.

  1. it sounds like the guy was driving AWAY when the husband shot him. Where was the threat that required lethal force?

    While the wife is to blame for lying, this sounds a bit too close to some of the thinking that a husband is excused for murder if his wife is unfaithful. That kind of “justice” gives this woman the creeps.

  2. They both behaved irresponsibly. But manslaughter might be a little light for a penalty. Maybe second-degree murder.

  3. 1.  The shooter has a “defense” of being so enraged by the “rape” that he could shoot even as the “rapist” fled.  This kind of extreme emotional disturbance defense was apparently “recognized” by the grand jury and the DA and led to the murder charges dropped.

    2.  The wife gets blamed for lying about something that she should have known would get any red blooded Tejas man, including her husband, who is apparently always packing, to shoot at a fleeing pick up truck and kill its “felon” driver.  She, of course, gets convicted in Fort Worth.

    Maybe you had to be there at one time or another, but I’m not that surprised.  Or maybe it’s what you have to expect from me as a criminal defense lawyer.  We don’t get this result in NY, but there are folks who would like to be able to.

  4. if the wife was really being raped… If she was your wife and was being raped what would you do??

    • pico on May 3, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    The story glosses over this: they were both in the truck, she cried “rape”, he started drivign off.  If she was still in the truck, the husband might have thought it was a kidnapping.  That would clear him of charges, in my opinion.

    The story is really spare on details, so it’s hard to say.

  5. …that I find that the decision against the husband (the shooter) was correct.  The wife, however, should be charged with manslaughter in the first degree.

    • 3card on May 4, 2008 at 3:35 am

    I’m not a lawyer of any kind and certainly not of Texas law but I was certainly surprised by a couple of things I heard and noticed on my last visit to Texas.

    Being from WA I was certainly surprised by bars with drive-up windows and when I mentioned this to our local shipping rep, he said; “Oh yeah, you can have one open and up to 3 empties in your car.”   I told him that where I’m from that would get you hauled off to the hoosegow, pronto.

    He chuckled and went on to tell me that in Texas if you walked in on your wife (or presumably spouse) in ‘bed’ with a lover you could justifiably shoot them both.  Also, he said that you could kill anyone trespassing on your property if they had wire cutters in their possesion. (rustlers and hoss thieves I presume)

    I don’t know how accurate this interpretation of Texas law is, but it seems to be either a commonly accepted version or something the locals like to tell yankees and left coasters to fuck with their heads.

  6. for some kind of gun control.  the best, to me, is that I might start carrying & get my ass shot off as a result (probably with my own gun).  as it is, my ancestral shootin’ arn leads a peaceful existence atop the water heater, and gets taken out only when I need to prove to myself that I’m still a mediocre shot, at best (maybe once a decade).

    Which brings us to an interesting point:  would not be interested in fucking with the shooter here.  That’s not an easy shot with a pistol from any angle.  Unless, of course, he just “got lucky” (not really an applicable standard here, I think).

    And another:  I’ve recently transplanted myself to some fairly serious weeds & have seen at least one guy carrying (local welding guru, kind of kinky fella anyhow, wore it openly in his waistband, concealed only by the hangover from his decidedly respectable gut).  Makes me consider rethinking my driving habits, which include a somewhat hyperactive middle finger from years in the city.

    On the other hand, my experience with people who live and work with guns is that they don’t use them without serious consideration, any more than I go around attacking people with my circular saw.  Seems to me that, legal or not, this guy’s conduct was hugely questionable & he probably needs some time in the tank as well.

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