Lawyer: Shooting was in self-defense

John Saul's attorney says the New York Store owner was threatened during a break-in Friday.

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John Saul is represented by Waitsburg attorney Michael Hubbard, who told the Union-Bulletin this morning the slaying of Cesar Chavira is a clear case of self-defense because Saul's life was threatened during Friday's break-in.

Hubbard gave the following account.

Hubbard said Saul was asleep on a mattress in the back of his store, which also is his home, when he heard the front door glass break. Saul then heard the glass counter break and "accosted the guy verbally."

"(Saul) said in so many words, 'Hold it.' And the burglar's answer was, 'I'm going to kill you.'" Hubbard said.

But Saul -- whose store has been burglarized in the past -- was armed with a 12-gauge shotgun he routinely keeps by the mattress.

The lights in the store were off, but Saul reportedly saw movement.

After he was threatened, he started shooting, Hubbard said.

Hubbard didn't know this morning how many times the gun was fired and didn't want to comment on whether all of the shots were fired from inside the store because he didn't have that information, either.

After the shooting ended, Saul called 911.

Hubbard added that Saul also keeps a loaded .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol by the cash register and the intruder was in that area.

"(Saul) didn't know if that guy had that (pistol) or was otherwise armed -- especially when the intruder says, 'I'm going to kill you.'

"That's when John defended himself." Hubbard said.

Also, according to Hubbard, there apparently was more than one intruder, although Saul saw movement of only one in the dim light.

That's because it's Hubbard's understanding that several belt buckles at the store remain unaccounted for.

Hubbard said Saul is "very shook up."

"We put him up in a motel Friday morning. We tried to let him calm down for a while," Hubbard said. But Saul opened his store that day as usual.

Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle has said that although the investigation is continuing, no charges against Saul are pending or expected.

Hubbard emphasized that all of Saul's actions during the burglary were in the course of defending himself.

"It's about as clear a case of self-defense as you could draw up," Hubbard said.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

Read more:

Washington law regarding legally justifiable homicide: ubne.ws/JXytoZ

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