A 56-year-old woman prayed to God while a “crazed” man tried to break in to her home, telling a 9-1-1 dispatcher, “I don’t want to have to kill this man, but I’ll kill him graveyard dead” – and within minutes, she blasted the relentless intruder in the chest with her shotgun.
Cushing, Okla., resident Donna Jackson shot and killed Billy Dean Riley, 53, who has a long history of alcohol and drug convictions, after the belligerent man hurled a patio chair through her glass door Dec. 4.
Jackson remained calm as she spoke with a 9-1-1 dispatcher during the break-in. She called at 12:40 a.m. and was on the phone for more than 10 minutes reporting the intruder, explaining that her barking dogs had awakened her in the middle of the night. She said she was alone, and her husband was working a night shift.
An audio recording of the entire call posted by The Oklahoman newspaper can be heard below:
An urgent 9-1-1 call
“There’s a man at my back door,” she told the dispatcher. “He’s trying to get in.”
She said Riley was hollering and appeared drunk.
Billy Dean Riley, 53
“I have a shotgun, and I will use it,” she warned.
“He is banging on the door,” Jackson told the dispatcher. “It’s a patio door, and it’s not worth a nickel. I can hear him banging. He’s going to get in.”
Loud noises can be heard on the 9-1-1 audio.
“He’s crazy. He’s crazy,” Jackson said. “I’m taking the safety off the gun, ma’am. He’s acting crazy. I don’t know how he got in here. He had to have come from the very back. Oh cr-p, he’s coming around the front.”
The dispatcher asked, “Is your front door locked?”
“Yes, ma’am,” she replied, “but it’s only got a lock on the handle.”
Then the dispatcher asked, “Do you have a place where you can go inside your house and lock yourself in a room?”
“Uh, not really,” Jackson said calmly. “I’ve got a big shotgun. I’m not going into a tiny bathroom.”
She told the dispatcher the intruder was walking around her house, trying relentlessly to get in.
“Oh cr-p, he’s at the back,” she said.
The dispatcher said the sheriff’s department advised that Jackson should defend her property if need be.
“Alright, he’s at the garage,” she said. “Nope, he’s at the back patio door again.”
Loud crashing noises can be heard on the audio tape.
“I don’t want to have to kill this man, but I’ll kill him graveyard dead, ma’am,” she told the dispatcher.
The dispatcher replied, “I understand.”
“Alright,” Jackson replied as she prepared to defend herself.
Jackson stood in the kitchen with her lights turned off, remaining calm and updating the dispatcher. The man continued banging as dogs barked.
“Oh cr-p, he’s breaking in,” Jackson said. “He’s breaking in now.
“I have the gun on him. He’s breaking the window. I’m going to kill him.”
She continued, “He’s walking across, back and forth on the porch. He looks to be an older man. I don’t want to kill him. … He’s kicking the door. Please hurry. Please hurry. He’s going to make it in. Please hurry, ma’am. He’s kicking the door. Please hurry. I think he’s drunk. He doesn’t know where his pickup’s at.”
Jackson prayed, “God, I don’t want to kill this man. Oh dear God.”
‘I’m so sorry, Father’
She told the dispatcher, the sheriff deputies “need to hurry. He’s going to break this thing open. If he does, I’ll have to kill him, ma’am. I don’t want to kill him.”
The dispatcher responded, “I understand, ma’am. You have to protect yourself.”
“I’m trying to stay away from the window,” Jackson said. “It’s off safety, ma’am. All I’ve got to do is fire.”
Riley picked up a plastic patio chair in the backyard and hurled it through the sliding door, shattering the glass. Several loud crashing sounds can be heard on the audio as he forces his way into Jackson’s home.
Jackson said calmly, “He’s gotten in the house. I’m going to shoot.”
“Oh God,” the dispatcher replied.
After another loud crash, Jackson’s shotgun blasts.
The shot killed the intruder instantly.
“Oh my God,” the dispatcher said, realizing the gun had been fired.
“I shot. I’m going out front. I hit him,” Jackson said, her voice trembling. “God help me. … Oh please, dear God, I think I’ve killed him. Please Father in heaven. Please Father in heaven. Oh my God, ma’am. … I’m so sorry.”
The dispatcher responded, “It’s OK. There’s nothing you can do. You have to protect yourself. You don’t know.”
Jackson began sobbing and praying to God as the dispatcher tried to calm her.
“He’s on the back porch,” she said. “I’m so sorry, Father.”
‘Jackson was defending herself’
Lincoln County Sheriff Chuck Mangion told The Oklahoman newspaper the intruder had been arrested many times.
“I’d say he’s been in and out of jail since he was old enough to go to jail,” Mangion said. “He has a long history of drug- and alcohol-related offenses.”
According to Jackson, the man was talking “crazy,” couldn’t locate his pickup truck and had been screaming for a person named “Pat.”
Mangion told the newspaper deputies discovered his truck in a ditch off the rural road.
Inside, they found Riley’s sister, Patricia Ellen Totty, 45. She was taken to a hospital after investigators found her unconscious from an overdose of alcohol and narcotics.
Mangion said it was not clear whether Riley was trying to get help for his sister.
“He didn’t go to the front door or ring the door bell to try to gain entry,” he said.
According to the report, court records show Riley had a number of intoxicated driving convictions from 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2004. He was also convicted of public intoxication in 2002 and possession of marijuana in 1998.
Officials believe Riley was on drugs during the break-in.
The shooting is under investigation, but Mangion told KSBI-TV in Oklahoma City the 56-year-old woman did what she had to do.
“This was nothing more than a home invasion,” he said, “and Mrs. Jackson was defending herself.”
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