Troy Bush, a handyman, considered the residence he was charged with breaking into to be his permanent residence until he was arrested for first degree home invasion, felonious assault and resisting and obstructing a police officer. The complainant, Melissa Partain, resided at the home with her adult son, Jason. The day before the incident, Jason had invited the defendant to the home to fix a bathtub. Sometime in the afternoon of November 17, 2014, Melissa barricaded herself in an upstairs bedroom because she claimed she had received threatening text messages from Bush. She stated that Bush broke through the bedroom door and assaulted her.
The prosecution's theory, and hence the request for a special jury instruction, was that home invasion can be accomplished after a defendant is lawfully on the premises if the defendant further breaks into a room within the home to which he has no permission to enter. The Court of Appeals disagreed.
The home invasion statute is clear in that it punishes any person "breaks and enters a dwelling with intent to commit a felony, larceny, or assault in the dwelling...." Though case law existed under the old B&E statute to suggest that a person could be convicted under these circumstances, the caselaw was not binding in that it either predated November 1, 1990 or it was unpublished. More importantly, the home invasion statute defines, within the statute, a "dwelling" as "a structure or shelter that is used permanently or temporarily as a place of abode, including an appurtenant structure attached to that structure or shelter." An abode is defined as a home or place where one abides. Consequently, a room within the home does not fall within the definition provided by the legislature and a careful reading of the statute did not provide any broader definition. The Court reversed the trial court's decision and remanded the case to the Kalamazoo Circuit Court for further proceedings.
The prosecution was represented on appeal by Heather Bergmann and the defense was represented by Joseph McCully of Kalamazoo, MI.