More than 11,500 people have signed an online petition calling on authorities to withdraw charges against a Hamilton man charged with murder in a confrontation over an attempted theft of his truck.
A bail hearing has been pushed back to later this week for Peter Khill, the man charged with second-degree murder in the death of a man on his Glanbrook driveway last Thursday.
Police say Khill, 26, was involved in a confrontation with a man who appeared to be stealing a truck in the driveway of Khill's home in Hannon, just after 3 a.m. on Thursday.
Police say Khill was armed when he confronted the man, who was 29-year-old Jon Styres.
During the confrontation, the man that police say was attempting to steal the truck "died as a result of gunshot-related injuries."
'Stealing is not right but death over theft is not right either'
The case has ignited speculation and arguments on issues of personal property rights and vigilantism. And it's sparked at least two competing petitions.
The online petition to completely withdraw charges against Khill has attracted more than 11,500 signatures.
"Canadians must have a right to use as much force as needed to protect their families, children, life, limb and property without fear of prosecution," the petition reads.
Meanwhile, 800 people have signed a petition started yesterday that is called "Justice for Jon Styres" – pushing back.
"Stealing is not right but death over theft is not right either," the petition reads.
'Second-degree murder seems pretty harsh'
At Ontario Superior Court on Tuesday, a woman who was there with a group of four others said she came to the court in support of Styres, but she did not say how or whether she knew him. The other members also declined to comment further.
Two men from Niagara who described themselves as right-wing, property-rights advocates attended court Tuesday to try to get some answers to questions they have about the case.
They said they don't know Khill.
"Second-degree murder seems pretty harsh," said Fred Bracken, who said his position lines up with the Second Amendment in the U.S., which identifies Americans' rights to keep and bear arms.
"I'm just a property rights guy," he said.
The other man, Niagara Regional Councillor Andy Petrowski, said based on the details revealed so far in the case, he also thinks second-degree murder is too high of a charge.
An attorney representing Khill, Derek Martin, declined comment outside the courtroom on Tuesday.
During a brief video hearing Tuesday, details were worked out for the next step in the case. Khill is expected to appear by video on Thursday ahead of an expected bail hearing on Friday.