A 36-year-old Puyallup man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on gun and marijuana charges after he killed two people last December while protecting his marijuana grow operation.
If convicted, Jeremy Peter Capodanno could face a 15-year mandatory-minimum sentence — and possibly up to 40 years – for drug trafficking and for using a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Capodanno was indicted by a federal grand jury after the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office determined that Capodanno acted in self-defense when he shot two armed, masked men who tried to force their way into the three-car garage of his secluded, luxury home. Federal prosecutors say he had 200 marijuana plants growing in a loft in the garage.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said that his office formalized its decision not to charge Capodanno for the shootings earlier Wednesday.
“Regardless of whether you are operating an illegal enterprise, you still have the right to to use deadly force in defense of yourself or others or your property,” Lindquist said. ”It is undisputed that these men were armed intruders.”
News accounts at the time said Capodanno’s 7-year-old son was standing beside his father when a gunfight broke out with the intruders. Multiple rounds were fired before Capodanno killed the two men, police said. Capodanno called police to his home, which is located down a gated driveway, to report the shootings about 8 a.m. that morning, according to news stories.
The federal indictment said Capodanno was armed with a 9-mm Glock handgun. Police also found two assault-style rifles, a Tec-9 semiautomatic handgun and a shotgun.
“This defendant chose to enter the illegal drug busienss, and armed himself to protect his trade, not his home,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a news release. “This conduct brought thieves to his door, put his seven-year-old son at risk, and ended with him taking two lives.”
The government is also seeking to forfeit Capodanno’s home in Puyallup, a second home in Kent, a 2008 Mercedes-Benz and a 2008 Toyota truck.