57-year-old Patricia Talerico and her 27-year old nephew Nicholas Talerico broke into the home of 64-year-old Robert Stolarczyk in Deerfield, New York.
Stolarczyk, who apparently feared for his life, shot the two home invaders. Ms. Talerico died at the scene and her nephew died later at a local hospital.
Stolarczyk’s attorney, Mark Wolber, said Stolarcyzk made the following statement about shooting: “He told me that when they were coming up the stairs, that as they approached him, that he was scared to death and he thought they were going to kill him. ‘I just saw them coming at me and I thought to myself, at that point, that it’s either them or me,’ and he just started firing.”
Police quickly arrested Stolarczyk, not for the murder of the two criminals, but for the possession of an ‘illegal firearm,’ which he used to shoot the burglars.
The gun used by Stolarczyk was obtained legally by Stolarczyk’s deceased father before Stolarczyk’s father died, he allegedly gave Stolarczyk the gun. According to court documents, Stolarczyk’s gun is a 38-caliber Rossi revolver.
New York state has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the U.S. Although Stolarczyk was not legally required to go through a background check, in order to obtain his dad’s gun, he was legally required to obtain a pistol permit.
Police claim Stolarczyk did not have a pistol permit for the gun he used to defend himself. Stolarczyk, if convicted for possession of an illegal firearm, could face up to 4 years behind bars in New York state prison. Also, as a convicted felon, he would permanently lose his right to keep and bear arms.
The Oneida County district attorney office agreed to release Stolarczyk without bail while he waits for his trial to begin on August 5th. However, authorities seized Stolarczyk’s home and left him with nowhere to go.
Stolarczyk has been provided with temporary shelter through social services.
A GoFundMe campaign to help cover Stolarczyk’s lawyer fees has raised over $13,000.
Stolarczyk’s attorney is asking for a dismissal of charges “in the interest of justice.”