Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Legit Verdict

To be clear, I'm of a rationally firm opinion that if someone attacks you with deadly force, you are well within your rights to defend yourself with a firearm.

However, if an attacker has already been shot, and they are unconcious and bleeding on the floor, coming back to stand over them and shoot them 5 more times is little better than cold-blooded execution. It passes the realm of "self-defense" and into the realm of "murder" when the attacker is no longer a threat due to lying prone and bleeding on the floor.

I don't know all the evidence presented in this case, but that's a verdict that appears to have a basis in reality.



Thomas said...

I think it is excessive and I wouldn't call it murder. There was no intent or planning. Two people threatened to kill this man. At that point, THEY decided someone might die that day. He didn't. After being threatened with being murdered, with a gun, he was hardly in a rational state of mind when he came back into that store. Should he have checked the guy for a pulse? How could he know the man, who had clearly stated his intent to kill him, wouldn't regain consciousness? How could he be certain he was unarmed? In a state of panic, a man chose to end someone else's life to end the threat to his. I can see the argument that it was excessive, but I can't see how we can pretend that this guy is a murderer. He was a terrified man who reacted to a situation forced upon him. What does society gain by locking this guy away?

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Look, I live in a city where witnesses willing to testify have found themselves or their families intimidated if not gunned down themselves. I can empathize with someone who still considers an attacker a physical threat even long after they've been taken into custody.

That doesn't change the fact: you stand over someone lying prone on the ground and empty multiple shots into their body, that ain't self defense. You take the time to look around and find another gun first? That damn sure ain't self defense.

Was the guy in his right state of mind? Probably not. Does the situation warrant many considerations based on circumstances? Absolutely. Was the attacker the one who put himself in that position by engaging in felonious activies with an accomplice and deadly weapons? Without a doubt. Do I think it fits the definition of "pre-meditated?" Hell, no.

But I can see where a jury would consider this beyond excessive and into the realm of criminal activity beyond a reasonable doubt. Maybe not a murder charge. Maybe not even a felony charge.

If there was such a thing as 2nd Degree Incidental Unjustified Homicide, here's the case study. But the fact remains, a homicide did take place during this event, and it appears to have gone beyond the scope of being justifiable.

Thomas said...

I'm not claiming self defense. I'm not claiming he did the right thing. I'm just claiming that he was in no proper mental state to be held accountable for murder.

And really, the guy may have been prone on the ground, but guns work from any position. Some guy comes in threatening to kill me, I'm not taking the risk he might get a chance.

Thomas said...

Like I said before, where is the societal benefit of convicting this man of murder?

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

There may be limited societal value of convicting this man of murder, but I don't think the courts work that way in the first place and I'm not aware of the specific evidence in the second. I can't make that call, I can only talk about where I think the jury got their reasoning.

As far as guns working from any position, that is true. But you usually have to be conscious with a gun in your hand to use one. I don't know the evidence presented, but the visibility of the deceased's hands at the time of the additional shots could play a significant role in the conviction. Empty hands on a linoleum floor = much less threat than hidden hands near the waist.

And it could be very difficult to prove there was a present fear that the prone attacker could use a gun with ill intent when the shopowner walked up to the unconscious man's body and stood over him. If you're afraid of getting shot, a normal reaction is to take cover. Presenting a close and easy target seems to run contrary to that.

Hell, the case could turn on that fact alone. Had the shopowner shot the guy six times from the other side of the store, crouched down behind a counter in fear of his life with no way of knowing his assailant was incapable of posing a threat, this probably never gets into a courtroom.

But the thing is, he walked around to get another gun and stood over his attacker's prone body before shooting the attacker five additional times. There is a significant societal line being crossed by behaving in such a way, even during the high stress of such an incident.