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Investigators say intruder shot to death was drunk

10:25 PM, May 27, 2012   |    comments
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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Investigators with the Polk County Sheriff's Office said a man who was shot to death after breaking into two Winter Haven homes was drunk.

They also added that 40-year-old Christopher Deese had gotten into a fight before he was dropped off in the neighborhood along Lake Daisy Drive Sunday morning, where he claimed to know a friend.

Authorities said Deese first broke into the back screened-in patio of a house along the 400 block. The homeowner called 911 when she saw him lying down on a table. We're told Deese then went to the house next door and started yelling and banging on the front door.

Investigators said homeowner William Cornwell, who was armed, told Deese to leave repeatedly. But Deese became more agitated and wouldn't back down. According to authorities, Deese pushed through the screen door after Cornwell opened the front door and ran inside. Investigators said Cornwell accidentally fired a shot, and Deese yelled, "You wanna fight?" He then took off his shirt before charging Cornwell, and that's when deputies said the homeowner fired.

Authorities believe Cornwell was protecting himself and his family, which included two small children in the house. They said Deese did not know anyone in the homes he allegedly broke into and they did not know him either.

According to investigators, Cornwell was involved in a similar incident back in 2009, when he shot an intruder who broke into his Lake Wales home. That person lived and the shooting was ruled justifiable.

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