Self-defense shooting ruled
justified by grand jury
Originally ran here
"Monteleone shooting ruled justified"
By CHRIS POLLACK, The
June 22, 2001
Grand jury decision: Lookingglass man won’t
be indicted for murder after panel finds there is not enough evidence to charge
him with a crime
A Douglas County grand jury has closed the book
on the November 2000 shooting death of Michael Dale Monteleone near Lookingglass
by declining to indict the shooter, Charles Patrick Shirtcliff.
Shirtcliff, 54, of Lookingglass could have
faced a charge of first-degree murder had he been indicted.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon,
Douglas County Assistant District Attorney Bill Marshall said the grand jury had
insufficient evidence to charge Shirtcliff with a crime.
"They made a determination that Shirtcliff
was justified in using deadly physical force," he said. "Mr.
Shirtcliff was cooperative from the beginning of the thing. He cooperated with
the grand jury investigation, putting himself in a hard situation and having to
answer tough questions."
Marshall said the District Attorney’s Office
now considers the case closed. Neither Shirtcliff nor his attorney could be
reached for comment.
The decision puts an end to months of public
speculation about exactly what happened between Shirtcliff and Monteleone that
resulted in the shooting.
28, 2000, Shirtcliff told police during the investigation, he saw a man,
subsequently found to be 40-year-old Monteleone, in a ski mask running from the
house at 1015 Coos Bay Wagon Road. Taking a pistol with him, Shirtcliff drove
after Monteleone and eventually caught up with his pickup in a field near the
Shirtcliff told police that Monteleone tried to
run over him with his truck, then got out of his vehicle and came at him with a
shiny object in his hand that he thought was a gun. Shirtcliff shot Monteleone,
hitting him at least six times according to a coroner’s investigation, killing
The coroner also found that Monteleone was shot
at least twice while he was on the ground. The shiny object in his hand was a
wrench. Police found Shirtcliff’s home had been burglarized, and Monteleone
was the only suspect in the burglary. Nothing was missing, however.
Monteleone was a former track star at Glendale
High School. At the time he was shot, he was a partner in a contracting firm. He
and Shirtcliff were business competitors, and according to police records,
numerous witnesses placed both men together at social functions and business
meetings. Through his lawyer, Shirtcliff denied he knew Monteleone or recognized
him on the day of the shooting. Members of Monteleone’s family expressed shock
and dismay at the grand jury’s decision.
"We all thought this would go to
trial," said Roseburg resident Daleen Thomas, Monteleone’s sister.
"Our family’s pretty sad. I feel a great injustice has been served here,
and our family has suffered a huge loss. I’m in shock."
Monteleone’s brother, Dale Monteleone, said
he was disappointed, but not surprised.
"I could’ve predicted this," he
said. "It doesn’t surprise me. Just with the whole investigation and the
way things were going."
Members of Monteleone’s family expressed
frustration at what they thought was the slow pace of the Douglas County Sheriff’s
Office investigation. Marshall said police and the grand jury did what was
necessary to ensure an honest and fair investigation.
"The police did a real thorough
investigation. The grand jury did a real thorough investigation," he said.
"That’s why it took a long time." The grand jury’s decision was
not surprising to some members of the local law enforcement community. In an
interview on April 13 with some private citizens concerned about the progress of
the case, Lt. Norm Nelson, head of the sheriff office’s Criminal Division,
said people often are not prosecuted in Douglas County for shootings on their
"In the past, there have been a number of
cases where they did not indict," he said. "Douglas County has
historically not prosecuted people for shootings on their property. I’ve
worked here for 23 years, and the shootings I can recall (of this nature) have
not been prosecuted."
• You can reach reporter Chris Pollock at
957-4213, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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