Man uses golf clubs to defend his home
An alleged intruder was beaten and chased from a Dillon area house by a homeowner wielding two golf clubs and a wrought iron fireplace poker, authorities said.
Greg McMurray, the homeowner, reported that his wife, Kelly, woke him at about 4 a.m. Sunday, telling him there was an intruder in the house. McMurray saw the intruder, later identified as Kristopher Zeller, 34, in the bedroom doorway and began yelling at him to leave, according to the incident report.
McMurray’s 8-year-old son later told law enforcement officials that Zeller had grabbed him several times before his parents were awakened. Each time the boy was able to break away from the man’s grasp, authorities said.
McMurray said he grabbed a barbell in the bedroom to force Zeller out of the doorway while his wife and son locked themselves in a bathroom.
After several shoves of the barbell, Zeller still refused to leave, so McMurray picked up a golf putter and hit him over the head, possibly breaking Zeller’s nose, police said.
When the putter broke into several pieces, McMurray grabbed a second golf club, again striking Zeller until the club broke into pieces, the report continued.
Because Zeller still wouldn’t leave, McMurray grabbed a wrought iron fireplace poker and continued to hit the man, bending the poker in the process, reports said.
“He beat the living daylights out of him,” said Sheriff John Minor. “He had every right in my mind. If he’d have come into my home and grabbed my child, I’d have shot him. It’s that simple.”
Zeller finally left the residence, and officers said they found him wandering around the neighborhood. “We just don’t know why he was there or why he chose this house,” Minor said. “The guy kept saying, ‘Let me explain,’ and he wouldn’t leave the house. I have no clue what this guy was thinking. It’s a very strange case.
Minor said the measures McMurray took to defend his family could fall under the so-called “Make My Day” legislation, in which a homeowner is allowed to use lethal force to protect his or her life or the lives of those around him.
“It’s subjective,” he said. “Every time you use deadly force in a residence, it’s going to be scrutinized. He might say (Zeller) was trying to kidnap his kid. That’s for the (district attorney) to decide.”
The boy said he’d felt pain when Zeller grabbed him, Minor said.
Zeller was taken to Summit Medical Center for treatment of his injuries and later booked into the Summit County Jail where he will remain until his court appearance.
So far, he has not spoken to officers at the jail, Minor said.
Sheriff’s Office reports indicate alcohol might have been a factor in the incident. Zeller has two drunken driving convictions in Virginia from 2003.
McMurray could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.