HIGHLAND, Ill. (KSDK) - A Troy, Illinois, man is now charged in connection with Sunday's early morning home invasion in Highland, an attack which left the intruder reeling from a gunshot wound.
Charged today with home invasion is 33 year old Joshua R. Jewell, of the 100 block of Country Aire Drive in Troy. His bond was set at half a million dollars. He remains at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.
Debi Keeney of the 2600 block of Eagle Way Drive shot the intruder shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday after she says he burst into her apartment and demanded money. When Keeney said no, she says the man began strangling her sister, Donna Carlyle.
"I was scared to death," said Keeney who had been outside smoking a cigarette moments before the intruder forced his way inside.
"He picked me up under my arms and he flings me across the room from the door onto the couch."
Carlyle was watching TV in a recliner when she says the man began attacking her.
"He had a hold of me," said Carlyle. "And with the chair propped he had me pulled back and he was choking me."
Carlyle desperately struggled to call 911 while Keeney remembered she had protection. She keeps a small five shot revolver in a drawer in her living room. In the six years she's lived in Highland the gun had never moved. But she had pulled it out of the drawer earlier that night.
"There's a guy in the neighborhood that gets drunk and loses his way pretty much every night," said Keeney. "He'll go around trying to open people's doors until he finds his place, but he's harmless. So, when I heard my doorknob rattling I thought it was him at first. I had gotten the gun out earlier because for some reason this one time I had this gut feeling that there was something different."
The gun was sitting on a side table when the man got inside.
"I said I'm going to shoot you. Let her go. And he wouldn't let her go he just kept choking her. So I fired a warning shot," said Keeney.
"It didn't faze him," said Carlyle. "He never let up. He was fighting me, pulling my arm and trying to get my phone and my sister shot him in the back."
The man collapsed on the floor and police arrived a few minutes later.
Debi Keeney says she's not proud of shooting another person but she'd do it again to keep her sister safe.
"The fear in her face and the thought of losing her was scarier than the thought of shooting him," said Keeney.
"It's beyond words," said Carlyle. "I'm certain that she saved my life."