Sarah McKinley’s life took an unexpected and terrifying turn on a cold December night in 2011. McKinley, a young widow with a three-month-old infant, was confronted by a pair of armed intruders breaking into her home. Desperation and fear could easily have overcome her, but McKinley chose a path of empowerment that would change her life forever.

Sarah McKinley

Widow On New Year’s Eve, Sarah McKinley, 18, was at home with her baby when Justin Martin, 24, broke in, armed with a knife.

According to prosecutors in Blanchard, Oklahoma, she shot Martin in self-defense.

Dustin Stewart, Martin’s alleged accomplice in the break-in, has been charged with his mu*rder.

Mrs McKinley can be heard asking the operator, “I’ve got two guns in my hand,” on a tape of the emergency 911 call released to the media. Is it okay to shoot him if he walks through this door?”

“Well, you have to do whatever you can to protect yourself,” the operator responds. I can’t promise you that, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your baby.”

Oklahoma law allows for the use of lethal force against intruders.

“Our initial review of the case doesn’t indicate that she violated the law in any way,” Oklahoma’s assistant district attorney told The Oklahoman newspaper.

Dustin Stewart, the alleged second intruder, has been charged with first-degree mur*der because police believe Martin’s de*ath was caused by their attempt to commit the burglary.

Sarah McKinley’s 58-year-old husband died of cancer a week before the incident on Christmas Day.

According to police, the two men were aware of this and targeted her home in search of prescription drugs.

Mr Stewart told police he fled after hearing gunshots.

According to local media, he also told police that he believed Martin was addicted to prescription medication.

Mrs. McKinley stated that she would not have shot Martin unless it was to protect her baby.

“He was going from door to door trying to bust in, just going from door to door,” she told NBC television.

“They said I couldn’t shoot him til he was inside the house, so I waited til he got in the door and then I shot him.”

“You have to make a choice, you or him and I chose my son over him,” she went on to say.

“There’s nothing more dangerous than a mother with her baby.”

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