SHERIDAN — Sheridan County Attorney Matt Redle said in a press release Tuesday morning that the death of Terry Twomey was a legally justifiable homicide based on information provided to the attorney’s office by the Sheridan Police Department and the Sheridan County Coroner’s Office. This means the man who shot and killed Twomey will not face criminal charges.
SPD received a report of criminal entry in progress around 3 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2016, at 203 W. 10th St. in Sheridan. Homeowner Luke Roush, his girlfriend and her two children were inside the home when Twomey entered the home.
According to the press release, Roush informed officers that the occupants of the home were sleeping when he heard a noise in the kitchen and his dog growl. Roush said he got out of bed and saw that an exterior motion sensor light had been activated. Roush heard movement in the kitchen. He saw the silhouette of a man standing in the darkened kitchen. Roush asked the man to identify himself. The man asked him who he was. Roush asked him why he was in Roush’s house. The man, Twomey, claimed that it was his house.
Roush told him to get out of the house. When Twomey didn’t leave, Roush told his girlfriend to call the police. He grabbed his shotgun and looked for a flashlight. When he couldn’t find the flashlight he went to the area of the office and the bathroom just off the office where he found the man. He told the man that he had a gun and to get out of his house. Roush then chambered a round.
The press release states that Twomey entered the office and started toward Roush. Roush told him to get down on the ground. Twomey kept walking toward Roush and when he was approximately 5 feet from Roush, sped up and reached out for the gun. Roush was unsure if Twomey grabbed the gun but thought that he might have done so. Roush discharged the gun into the center of the man’s chest and Twomey fell to the floor.
A breathalyzer confirmed Roush was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the shooting. A forensic autopsy of Twomey determined his death was a result of a close-range shotgun wound to the chest resulting in “severe and non-survivable injuries to his heart and left lung,” the Wyoming State Crime Laboratory report said.
The results of Twomey’s blood testing from the AXIS-AIT Forensic Toxicology Laboratory in Indianapolis, Indiana, came back with an estimated blood alcohol level of 0.196 percent and also showed the presence of a benzodiazepine, clonazepam in his system. Clonazepam is a tranquilizer and can be used for panic and seizure disorders and its use with alcohol is contraindicated. In addition, fluoxetine, or the antidepressant Prozac, was found in Twomey’s body at the time of his death.
Wyoming law states that, “If [a person] had reasonable grounds to believe and did believe that he was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm from which [he] could be saved only by using deadly force against an assailant, the [person] had the right to use deadly force in self-defense.”
Wyoming statutes also provide grounds for an individual to use defensive force against somebody in the process of unlawful and forceful entry into one’s home.
Redle’s office determined the homicide justifiable and said no criminal charges were appropriate.