A 26-year-old man in West Jordan, Utah awoke to his dog barking incessantly in the early morning hours of Friday, June 8th. With his wife, mother, and young child in the house; he went investigating downstairs with a firearm in-hand. He found a young woman had broken into his home. After what police are calling a “brief-altercation,” he fired one shot and killed the intruder. The name of the homeowner has not yet been released to the public but the name of the intruder has: 23-year-old Makayla Yeaman.
Yeaman had quite the criminal record for her young age; including theft, trespassing, assault, and illegal drug use. Yeaman was charged less than a month ago with possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, after Utah Transit Authority police reported finding her with a baggie of methamphetamine, syringes, cotton swabs, and a baggie with white residue on May 12. She was arrested that day because warrants in other cases had been issued for her arrest, according to a probable cause affidavit.
She was released the next day due to over-crowding. It is not confirmed, but more than likely, that the 23-year-old intruder was not armed. However, Utah Criminal Code 76-2-402, Force in Defense of Person, states: “(1A): A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that force or a threat of force is necessary to defend the person or a third person against another person’s imminent use of unlawful force. (1b): A person is justified in using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury only if the person reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the person or a third person as a result of another person’s imminent use of unlawful force, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
The family whose home was intruded by Yeaman had moved into the West Jordan address sometime in the past year, said John Painter, president of the homeowner’s association for the neighborhood, the Maples at Jordan Hills. “It’s pretty alarming if someone broke into your house in the middle of the night. It’s dark and it’d be really difficult to analyze that threat level,” he said. West Jordan police officer Scott List gave a statement: “We don’t know why she targeted that house, that particular area.” He also said detectives were not sure if she acted alone or with others. “It appears she was able to get the garage door opener from the truck that was parked outside.” The woman reportedly made it past the interior garage door and into a second room before she was confronted by the homeowner.
Makayla’s family confirmed that she had been an addict. Her mother, LeeAnn Yeaman, gave a comment to Fox 13: Salt Lake City on the situation. “I knew she was going to die for like a week: ‘You’ve got to get some help Makayla. You’ve got to get some help or you’re going to die!… It’s not excusable, it’s wrong,” Yeaman said of her daughter. “She was in the wrong… and she was definitely at the wrong place at the wrong time, but she didn’t deserve to die.” She elaborated her opinions on the situation with 2News: “I understand there are Second Amendment rights, but she is just a 100-pound girl that needed help,” Yeaman said.
“He screamed at her and then shot her — that doesn’t make sense to me. His family was never in danger. She probably had to go to the bathroom or was hungry or cold…she’s a beautiful young baby who is really sick.” Of course, this is all a grieving mother’s personal interpretation and justification of her deceased child. No intent by Makayla is currently known to the police or public.
Makayla received her adult high school diploma while serving time in September 2017 when she was 21. She said in an interview for a story on Utah inmates finally getting their diplomas she planned a special focus on history and government, along with improving her sign-language. “There’s always something out there,” Yeaman said. “There’s more to life than drugs and violence. I want to help people.”
The intruder’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses.