Prosecutor: No charges filed against Hancock County woman who shot, killed husband

Prosecutor: Elizabeth Roberts acted in defense

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. - The Hancock County prosecutor said no charges will be filed against a woman who shot and killed her husband Friday.

Elizabeth Roberts, 56, had contacted police earlier that day about her husband's deteriorating mental condition.

Her 57-year-old husband, Gary Roberts, was one of the biggest gun collectors in Hancock County, Derrik Thomas reported. 

Police were notified about a possible problem at 8:30 a.m. They applied for a search warrant under the Jake Laird law at 11:00 a.m.

Officials received another notification at noon that Gary would be hostile to police taking his guns.

"He was down there loading magazines after he told her he was going to kill law enforcement, or anyone who tried to stop him," Capt. Jeff Rasche with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department said.

The shooting happened at 12:30 p.m.

"She admits to shooting him. There's no question there. She tells us that the reason she took the action she did was because the threats he made to law enforcement and she had to stop him. She told him if you don't stop I'm gonna shoot you," Rasche said.

Roberts could not be charged because she met the requirements for the "defense of others" provision of Indiana law providing for use of deadly force to defend others from serious bodily injury or death, prosecutors said. 

"If you're acting in defense of others, you are entitled to use under Indiana law, which is a very expanded form of self defense, deadly force against another person that you feel is about to cause harm to yourself or other people," attorney Jack Crawford said.

Crawford said similar cases are often presented to a grand jury. He thinks that the decision not to charge Roberts could lead to serious problems.

"It invites a lot of people to act as vigilantes, if you will, and carry out law on their own without having law enforcement do their duty," Crawford said.

Roberts was released from jail Thursday morning. 

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas

Follow Drew Smith on Twitter: @drewsmith1

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