Judge: Stabbing an Intruder to Death Exceeds Self-Defense

Manitoba man gets five-year sentence
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2019 4:41 PM CDT
Fatal Stabbing of Intruder Took Self-Defense Too Far: Judge
A Manitoba man awoke to find an intruder armed with a knife in his home.   (Getty/AnkiHoglund)

Defending yourself from someone who broke into your house is justified, a judge in Canada decided, but stabbing him 13 times, killing him, is not. The Manitoba judge sentenced Dakota Pratt, 28, to five years in prison Thursday; Pratt had been convicted of manslaughter by a jury in April, CBC News reports. Pratt woke up in the early-morning hours with the feeling he was being stabbed, and found Vincent Bunn, who was holding a knife, in his room. Pratt chased and struggled with Bunn throughout the house and out onto the deck. Pratt "knew he was in a struggle for his own life," the judge wrote. There, Bunn was stabbed; the last stab, to Bunn's heart, was fatal, court records show. He was kicked multiple times after the stabbing. Pratt suffered scalp wounds during the struggle, and significant blood loss.

"He was justified in taking defensive action," the judge wrote, "but the jury has concluded that his taking the knife of Mr. Bunn and stabbing him multiple times went beyond what was necessary for self-defense." After time served is accounted for, Pratt will spend another 2½ years in jail, per CBC. Pratt's lawyer called it a clear case of self-defense. "This is not waking up to someone yelling at you," the lawyer said. "Someone's cutting his head open … that's somebody who is showing from the beginning how serious they are." (More home invasion stories.)

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