LOGANVILLE, Ga. -- Melinda Herman was not in the Walton County courtroom when 32-year-old Paul Slater was brought in to face the judge. His appearance, one in which his court date was set, took a mere five minutes.
Outside the courthouse, Paul Slater's attorney said his client admits he broke into Donnie and Melinda Herman's Loganville home on a cold January day.
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Neal Ainsworth said of his client, "He shouldn't have been there breaking into people's houses to steal things. It's inappropriate and he wanted to acknowledge that."
What Slater does not admit is that he broke through a locked bedroom, then bathroom door, to get to Melinda Herman and her 9-year-old twins, who were hiding in the attic. Herman was ready with a gun.
Working from home that day, Melinda was on the phone with her husband Donnie during the ordeal. He had her on one phone, 911 on the other.
In the 911 calls, Donnie is heard saying to his wife, "Is he in the house. If he opens that door you shoot him, do you understand?" Donnie tells his wife to stay calm, to remember everything he taught her. A little while later he is heard telling the 911 operator, "She's shooting him. She's shooting him."
Melinda Herman emptied her gun, shooting Slater six times, hitting him five. He spent a month in the hospital recovering before he was arrested.
Melinda Herman's saga has taken center stage in the national debate over guns. Supporters say if she'd had a higher capacity magazine, more bullets, she would not have run out.
Her story, one of a mother defending her home and her family, has pulled Melinda Herman into a spotlight, one she does not want. She has never spoken publicly about what happened in her house.
Slater's trial is scheduled to begin on April 15.