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Big Lake pastor indicted in shootings


Anchorage Daily News

(Published: June 12, 2003)
A grand jury has indicted Big Lake pastor Phillip Mielke on two counts of manslaughter and two counts of criminally negligent homicide. Mielke shot and killed two men he caught burglarizing the Big Lake Community Chapel in the predawn dark on April 24. Chris Palmer, 31, was found dead near the chapel. Frank Jones, 23, died about seven hours later at a nearby friend's home.

Autopsy reports show both men had been shot in the back, according to Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalytiak. The grand jury's decision became public Thursday, when Palmer Superior Court Judge Beverly Cutler set Mielke's arraignment for Friday morning. Jurors heard from nine witnesses, but not from Mielke, who did not volunteer to testify, Kalytiak said. A trial could be as much as a year away.

Mielke has said that he was investigating the chapel after an alarm signaled, and that he encountered the two men coming up the stairs from the basement. He had armed himself with what his lawyer said was a .44 Magnum revolver.

Mielke has said he feared for his life. The district attorney has said he has seen no evidence Jones nor Palmer were armed.
 

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Me thinks he chose poorly



Mielke has said that he was investigating the chapel after an alarm signaled
Not his job, responsibility or legal right.




Autopsy reports show both men had been shot in the back
Self defense will be a hard sell
 

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Please Pray

Please be in prayer for the pastor and his family - and his congregation. As Joseph explained to his brothers - may God take this, "that the enemy meant for harm, and turn it to good". Please also pray for the families of the victims - those innocent ones who will pay from now on.
 

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I wonder what would have happened if that Pastor had confronted those crime intent men without anything to defend himself? It is easy to say that he choose poorly! What would you have done if this would have been your house instead? Also, there could have been a third or even a fourth person hiding in wait. Tuff questions yes indeed, problem is we are living in a society these days, where GUNS put 2 strikes against the person who would defend his home, belongings or family.

Yes, I will pray for this person and notify the NRA as well of the incident. Now ask yourself this, should you confront such an intruders face to face, like Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp did the Clanton's before you pull the trigger on your weapon? Many a burglery has gone sour and the criminal set out to commit murder to keep from being known or caught at the scene. Show me the book on where it say's, where to shoot a person who has broke into your home or shop, including church...........Amen!
 

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Most states only allow for the use of deadly force in cases where your or a family member's physical well being is in danger. I read this article to mean he was responding to an alarm at a location other than his house. In this case it can very easly appear that he went looking for the trouble. I used to be the person that was called when the alarm went off in my fathers business. My responsibility was to open the door when the responding officers told me too and come in after they asked me to. I didn't even go on the parking lot before they were there.

In my home, things are completely different. Any intruder there can be an immediate threat. VA law does indicate that you can not shoot if the intruder is retreating. That can make for some interesting and hard decisions.

My intention was not to pass judgement on the Pastor. Unfortunately, in re-reading my first post it can be construed in that manor.

As suggested by others, much prayer is needed here.
 

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Now where I come from, many a time is the Pastor's residence ajoining the Church off to the side, somewhat like a garage on a house.

I do agree if the church was a block away, that becomes a horse of a different color in the eyes of the LAW and certainly a prosecuting attorney's office. In any event the prayers are needed for this Pastor.
 

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Gentlemen, i do not know where Big Lake is located at, Somewhere near Anchorage?
From what I understand, many house alarms are set off by bears, or other large beasts. A.44 would definatly have been in my hand! or larger!
Any L.E.O. will tell you, that the intruder has said they will be back, SO WATCH YOUR BACK, Anyone threatens me when I am armed ( which is allways ) has just put themselves in some serious trouble. I will shoot as they face me, or as they are running away and call it self defense. They said they would be back.
Are the police capable of guarding my family and home until this punk makes a return trip?
I don't want to shoot anyone, but I will rather face 12, than be carried by 6. today or tomorrow.
How much did it take for a man of GOD to take another mans life. Not an easy call.
Do you beleive the crook just got lost and wandered into the wrong building, or the preacher felt he had to defend himself. I'd rather shoot now, than to come home and find my wife dead at the hands of this trash.

Just my point of view, I use to be the garbage man, so I know what to do with the trash;)

Halfbreed
 

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2bits, I agree with you in that if the church and parsonage are attached, the situation changes dramatically. Now the slime becomes a home intruder.

As a side note, my BIL is a Pastor. He says that parsonages attached to the church are very trying to the Pastor and their family. Basically, the pastor and their family are never away from the church and the members.
 

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twillis,

You are absolutely wrong!!!!!! It is his job, responsibility and legal right to investigate an alarm on property which is in his care. We hire law enforcement officers to do that which we are afraid, or incapable of doing ourselves. When a law enforcement officer is called to the scene of an alarm it is in the capacity of de-facto agent for the person actually responsible for that property. If you do not believe or understand this, then you are one of the many who have been sold the bill-of-goods that you must allow someone else ( law enforcement) to do your job for you.

Further, the matter that they were shot from behind could have a quite reasonable explanation which is a defense under law, you have watched too many cowboy movies.

So far as a citizens rights are concerned, here in Utah, as well as many other states, a citizen has the same rights of arrest as a law enforcement officer. The sole exception to this is arrest for probable cause.

If you are interested, I retired after 21 years in law enforcement in Utah.

Rocknload has said what is most important, pray for the Pastor and that this matter is adjudicated in a fair manner and in accord with the Constitution.
 

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Easy, my friends...easy...the Pastor is only indicted. No grand jury would have a choice. Even with front shots, there is no choice. Many more facts will come out at trial and he has the right to appeal the trial court's decision.

Already it is conceded that there was no Malice Aforethought. He may have been frightened out of his wits...they may have threatened to come back and kill him or even said that they were armed and ran when he started shooting.

He may have made some split second choices that fall into a grey area of the law, but they are not necessarily bad choices. It is quite possible a jury will find for the manslaughter charge and he will get probation without jail time.
 

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(loader) is right. He has only been indicted. In just about any state in the U.S. that is an automatic. Big difference between being found guilty in a trial. My experience has been more valuable information (facts) will be presented during the trial. I doubt the pastor saw himself as Dirty Harry walking into a bank robbery. It's real easy to sit behind a computer in your safe home and make a judgement. But, on the other hand, we've all read where felony suspects have sued the home owner and WON. I sure hope it goes well for the pastor.
 

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The indictment is still a slap in the face of what is right . That man of God had to choose between his safety an taking a life. The Grand jury should of had enough common sense to know that he would not have shot at the criminals unless he thought his life was in danger!!!:rolleyes: He did what he was supposed to do protect the church from them scum bags!!! I have no love for those who violate a church!!! We all know the cops can't be everywhere!! I hope he is found not guilty!!;)
 

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alyeska338

This story strikes me as being important to all of those who would even consider using a weapon of any sort to defend themselves, their families or their properties.

I would be VERY interested to hear how it turns out. There are a lot of unknowns out there that are just begging for an answer. Chances are a verdict of not guilty will be shoved back on page 6 with just a few details. Let's hope you have to go digging to get the follow-up information.

Please keep us all informed, if you would be so kind.
 

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Pastor Acquitted

Big Lake minister acquitted of manslaughter charge
Jury deliberates for day and a half in church shooting case

http://adn.com/front/story/4260977p-4271781c.html
The Associated Press

(Published: October 27, 2003)

The Rev. Phillip Mielke during his testimony Wednesday in Palmer Superior Court.

A preacher was acquitted Monday of two counts of manslaughter and two counts of criminally negligent homicide in the shooting deaths of two intruders at his Big Lake Community Chapel last spring.

Jurors deliberated for a day and a half in Superior Court before acquitting the Rev. Phillip D. Mielke, 44, in the deaths of Christopher Lee Palmer, 31, of Big Lake and Francis Marion Jones IV, 23, of Wasilla.

"We're relieved," Jim Gilmore, Mielke's defense lawyer, said after the verdicts were read.

Mielke had no comment.

Palmer and Jones were burglarizing the chapel at about 5 a.m. April 24 when Mielke heard a noise over a homemade intercom system that linked the church to his home, across the road.

He got his .44-caliber Magnum revolver and went to investigate.

The three men ended up together in a small, dark arctic entry.

Mielke testified that he ordered the men to stop and then fired when they kept coming.

He told investigating troopers that he saw one of the intruders get up and run toward a parked, idling car outside the church.

Palmer was found dead on a road near the church. He had been shot once in the lower back.

Several hours later, a woman called 911 to report that Jones had been shot and was at her house. When investigators arrived, they found him dead with a gunshot wound to the back and the left ankle.

In closing arguments last Thursday, Gilmore characterized Mielke as a mild-mannered man who carried a gun for self-defense. The preacher used it in a "totally unexpected, out-of-control" situation when Palmer and Jones rushed him inside his own church, he said.

"It was like a bear charging," Gilmore said. "The critical feature of this event (is) it happened in a matter of seconds ... and it happened in the dark. ... His fear that caused him to pull the trigger was reasonable under the circumstances."

If Mielke was acting in self-defense, why did he empty his gun out a window as the mortally wounded Jones fled toward his car, Collins asked in closing arguments.

"Once he started shooting, he couldn't stop shooting," Collins said. "This is the act of someone who isn't going to let them get away."

The burglars were stealing donated food the church planned to give away, Collins said.

"You don't take a gun to protect some old doughnuts," he said. "Those are not the actions of a reasonable person."
 

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One for the good guys (actually two)!

Nice of you to update the case. Also, nice to hear the great state of Alaska has citizens with common sense.
 
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