The Miller County Prosecutor has decided to decline charges against a shooter following an attempted break-in to his home.
According to court documents, 20-year-old Donovane Hanna of Iberia tried to break into the home of Mark Routh at 779 Highway 42 in Iberia on May 8.
Routh, his wife, son, and nephew told Miller Co. Sheriff's deputies they saw Hanna trying to get in from the back door. Routh allegedly went outside armed with a shotgun to confront Hanna who was crouched on the back porch.
The probable cause statement said Routh then fired off one shot into the air before he approached Hanna. Witnesses said Routh set down the shotgun and got into a physical fight with Hanna. Routh was stabbed in the leg during the fight.
Hanna started to leave the home when Routh's son handed him his shotgun, and Routh began to fire in the direction of Hanna, hitting him in the back.
Both Hanna and Routh were treated at Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach.
When Hanna was interviewed, he admitted to deputies that he went to the home and tried to get in. He said he wanted to die and thought if he tried to break in they would shoot and kill him. He also admitted to stabbing Routh, but only after he was attacked by Routh.
In a letter to the Miller County Sheriff, Howard explained how Hanna, in his interview, said he had also tried to overdose on medication the night of the attempted break-in. When caught by Routh and his family, Hanna said he initially laid two knives that he had on the ground on the porch and stepped away to show that he was not a threat.
Hanna said he only stabbed Routh when he began to physically attack him in order to escape the attack.
The letter continued to say, "Hanna offered no explanation as to how it was that he was found by officers lying on the ground, still armed with the second knife at his side which fit in a leather sheath located on his belt, as well as a steel claw hammer lying nearby, and a handful of high powered rifle cartridges in his pocket. No injuries to Hanna consistent with any assault, other than the shotgun blast to his backside, were documented in the report."
Howard wrote that Routh's use of a gun was justifiable in the case of self-defense. Missouri law states a citizen has the right to use deadly force to stop a fleeing person from escape.
"I fully understand and share concerns that not prosecuting Routh in this instance may somehow set a “precedent” that property owners, as a matter of course, can get away with shooting any fleeing person suspected of a crime," said Howard, in the letter.
Hanna is facing first degree assault and armed criminal action charges for the attack, and is being held in the Miller Co. Jail on $300,000 bond.