The Brett Kimberlin Saga:

Follow this link to my BLOCKBUSTER STORY of how Brett Kimberlin, a convicted terrorist and perjurer, attempted to frame me for a crime, and then got me arrested for blogging when I exposed that misconduct to the world. That sounds like an incredible claim, but I provide primary documents and video evidence proving that he did this. And if you are moved by this story to provide a little help to myself and other victims of Mr. Kimberlin’s intimidation, such as Robert Stacy McCain, you can donate at the PayPal buttons on the right. And I thank everyone who has done so, and will do so.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Deep Analysis of the Tampa Bay Times Stand Your Ground Database (III)

The Next Fifty-Four

This is the third of a series.  The first two parts are here and here.

The Tampa Bay Times published a database of information about people who have supposedly invoked Stand Your Ground laws.  I have been going through it to determine if it was invoking one of two unusual features of Florida legislation: 1) the abolition (mostly) of the duty to retreat, which I refer to as SYG-no-retreat, and 2) the institution of the right to a hearing before trial to determine if you are immune because you acted in self-defense, which I refer to SYG-immunity.  At least that was my analysis until today.  Then I noticed a third quirk in Florida law.

You see, in the process of reviewing the law, particularly Fl. Stat. §776.013, I realized a major mistake in my analysis.  Up until now, I had been stating that there were two unusual features in Florida law ushered in by the Stand Your Ground legislation.  But in fact there is a third unusual feature.  You see Florida law has a relatively ordinary presumption that you are reasonably in peril of death or great bodily harm to yourself or another, if:

The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, [or] residence... or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling [or] residence[.]

In other words, if a person is breaking into your house, you generally have a right to shoot.  If someone is dragging your child out of your home, you have a right to shoot.  At least in Florida.  Check local laws, etc.

But the Stand Your Ground legislation applied this same Castle Doctrine (as in, “your home is your castle”), also to occupied vehicles.  Go look at the original text of the statutory language I just quoted.  In each case, it actually says “dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle.”  In other words, it equally says:

The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a[n]... occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the... occupied vehicle

All I did different there was skip over the words about a dwelling or residence.

So many cases were plainly decided by appealing to this apparently unrebuttable presumption in the law that you are allowed to use deadly force to prevent a person from breaking into your car, against a person who has broken into your car, who is trying to drag you out of your car, or who had dragged you out of your car.  Fortunately, all the previous cases do not appear to have involved that fact pattern.  But it will be several times in this post.  I will refer to it as the “SYG-vehicle rule” and I will bring it up when it seems relevant.

Anyway, so I have been going through each case and seeing if any of the relevant SYG doctrines apply, in order to determine if the case is arguably about Stand Your Ground in any form, or is it a more classic case of self-defense.

So I have already completed fifty four of these in the last two posts, and now I will do fifty four  more.  I suggest you read my prior posts first, because I am going to refer freely to my findings there as though you had.

And one more thing before I start.  One thing that became obvious when studying the Tampa Bay Times’ database is that they were being very arbitrary in deciding whom they called Hispanic or not.  On one hand, they called George Zimmerman Hispanic.  On the other hand there are many people that society would almost certainly construct as Hispanic that the Tampa Bay Times are labeling white.  And there are some where you suspect that they are doing this, but you are not sure.  So expect me to note that now and then.

As I have said repeatedly, race doesn’t actually matter, but racism does.  So the most useful definition of race is focused on the differing treatment it is likely to inspire.

So let’s dive in again, again naming cases by the first victim listed.

This is the latest example of the confusion over ethnicity.  It involves a black man shooting two “white” men, Rolando Carrazana, pictured here:


And Jason Jesus Gonzalez, pictured here:


I suspect society would construct them as Hispanics, but I report, you decide.

It is also a pending case.  The alleged killer, Gabriel Mobley, had a gun.  The victims were unarmed.  So as with most pending cases, I won’t comment overly much, but I will point out that this article gives a better picture of why Mr. Mobley may have been acting in self-defense than the Tampa Bay Times database indicates.

And while the case isn’t over, apparently he was denied SYG-immunity.

This is black on black violence, involving a killer armed with a gun (Terry Tyrone Davis Jr.), and an unarmed victim.  The two had been arguing on and off for a while.  Before the fatal encounter Davis texted to his girlfriend that he was going to kill Gooden.  And then when they showed up for a fistfight, he did shoot him.

He sought SYG-immunity and was denied.  Since this was on his yard, he would likely been invoking the SYG-no-retreat rule.  He pled guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to twenty-five years.

A white woman killing a black man, and both were armed.  Perhaps Sean Connery should have said, “never bring a bow to a gunfight” because the victim, Harris, had a bow, and the killer, Tabbatha Nussbaumer had a gun.  Tabbatha also is a reserve Florida Highway Patrol trooper, off duty.  That is likely to have colored how the case was seen.

Basically she came out of the shower to discover there was an intruder in her house, with the bow and arrow.  Her 9 year old son was there, too.  He asked her where her money was and she told him it was in the truck in a probable lie.  She led him outside to it as he stripped off his clothes.  Naturally she had a handgun hidden in the truck and turned around and more or less tried to arrest him.  He continued to approach her so she shot him once.

You can read more about the case, here.

She was not even charged, which given that presentation shouldn’t surprise anyone.  If an off duty trooper shoots a naked man with a weapon, you are 90% of the way to reasonable doubt right there.

One issue that isn’t clear is if he kept the bow and arrow drawn and pointed at her the entire time.  If he did, then I think its hard to argue that she could have retreated if she had to.  But as we will see going on, according to a Florida lawyer friend of mine, law enforcement officers are always treated as law enforcement officers.  A cop doesn’t have a duty to retreat in Florida and I don’t believe they have such a duty in most other states.  So SYG-no-retreat doesn’t apply.

Since she was not charged, there were no need for a SYG-immunity hearing.  Bluntly, this case doesn’t belong in the database.

White guy on white guy violence, with an unarmed victim and a killer, Charles Podany, who had a gun.  This bears some resemblance to the Martin case.  Podnay saw a truck speeding through his neighborhood and call the police.  They asked what the license plate was, so he got on his bike and tracked it down to a house where it was parked.  Landes was a passenger in the truck and he attacked Podnay and basically beat the hell out of him.  So Podnay shot him.

The judge ended up granting him SYG-immunity.  And since this was not his home, SYG-no-retreat would normally apply, but this article suggests another parallel to the Zimmerman case: Landes was on top of Podnay when he shot.  So like the Zimmerman case, SYG is not really involved here.  Even if he had a duty to retreat he couldn’t have done so.

Two black alleged killers, both armed with guns, named Xavious McCray, Lavelton Williams.  They allegedly killed two unarmed black men, Howard and Andre Lamar Jackson.  And what is unusual for me to categorize is that the case is only pending for Williams.  McCray already pled guilty to the lesser charges of aggravated assault and illegal possession of a firearm by a felon.

But despite the fact that much of the case is pending, I can say two things for sure.  First, there was a failed attempt at a SYG-immunity hearing, and further the judge found that both men had a duty to retreat because they were both illegally possessing their guns.  As I have noted regularly, Florida law requires you to retreat if the defendant was engaged in unlawful activity, and unlawful possession of a gun counts as unlawful activity.  So Mr. Williams might still win his case, but win or lose, it will have nothing to do with SYG-no-retreat.

This is a black man killed by an alleged white man, named Emanuel Rivera, who looked like this:


I could see society constructing him as black or Hispanic.  I don’t see where they get “white” from.  Otherwise the case is pending and while the facts suggest that he was dealing drugs when the shooting occurred, which would negate SYG-no-retreat, I don’t feel comfortable drawing any conclusions yet.

Another case of black on black violence, with both the victim (Moore) and the killer (Maurice Moorer) being armed.  I am going to refer to them by their first names to make it easier to keep track of them given how similar their last names are.

Eddy was the boyfriend of Maurice’s ex-wife.  Eddy was in his car when Maurice approached.  Maurice claimed to see him reach for his gun, so he shot Eddy fifteen times.

Indeed, you can get a much more fulsome, if unverified, account here, from his defense attorney extolling the virtues of Stand Your Ground.  It makes for interesting reading. 

In any case, Maurice was not charged, so no SYG-immunity applied.  Since it was not in Maurice’s dwelling, SYG-no-retreat would apply.  And since there was no attempt to break into the car, etc., the SYG-vehicle rule doesn’t apply.

Another black on black case, involving and armed alleged victim (Samuel) and an armed alleged killer, Terry McKeliver, both with guns.  The database says that the case is pending, but it has been “pending” for over a year with no one even charged.  Since too many facts are up in the air to make any judgments, I won’t be.

White man, armed with a knife, Craig Sandhaus, killed unarmed Hispanic male (Torres).  Other than that the case is pending, although I will note that SYG-immunity was denied.  Beyond that, I don’t feel comfortable commenting on it.

Another black on black violence case, with killer wielding a gun (Jimmy Hair) and the victim being unarmed.  The short version is that there was an argument outside a nightclub.  Harper kept trying to enter and fistfight with Hair and another man in the car.  A third man kept pulling Harper out, after which he would escape and come back in the car.

The unusual feature in this case is that it was actually decided by a court of appeals, where they decided as a matter of law Hair was entitled to statutory immunity.  What they found was that the shooting part was accidental, that his intention was purely to beat Harper with the pistol and it accidentally went off.  So the court didn’t even think he intentionally applied deadly force.  Further, the court was plainly applying the SYG-vehicle rule.  The court wrote that “Harper, the victim, had unlawfully and forcibly entered a vehicle occupied by Germinal, Hair, and a third person in the back seat.”  They plainly felt he was entitled to a conclusive presumption he believed he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm, justifying deadly force.

The SYG-no-retreat rule seems to have applied, as well.  And of course SYG-immunity was granted.  So this is a rare trifecta where all three doctrines apply.

This would be a white man, armed with a gun, killed by a Hispanic man, Anthony Gonzalez Jr., also armed with a gun.  Or so the database says.  Then if you look at this flyer used in the case, Henry is clearly a black man.  Essentially the story is about a frickin’ car chase in the streets of Miami, both men exchanging gun fire.  After a motion for SYG-immunity and before the judge decided, the pled the case down from Second Degree Murder to Manslaughter.  He was sentenced to three years in prison.

So SYG-immunity was invoked and I suppose had some success.  Gonzales was only a passenger, so how exactly could he have “retreated”?  But for now I will trust in the Tampa Bay Times description that he could have retreated.

This is an unarmed black man being killed allegedly by two other black men, Earl Jackson, Dervaunta Vaughn.  In this case, Miller was just a bystander caught in the crossfire.  They didn’t claim any need to defend themselves against Miller, but instead claimed he was accidentally shot while defending themselves against others.

As I mentioned in relation to Shervadia Jenkins according to Wayne R. LaFave and Austin W. Scott, Jr. Criminal Law 462 (2d Ed, 1986) the typical rule is that if you are acting in lawful self-defense, you are only held liable for the injuries to third parties if you were acting recklessly.  (Do consult your local laws on this subject and wholly apart from any legal duty, if you have to defend your own life or another’s exercise great care that you don’t harm anyone else.)

Both men sought SYG-immunity and it was denied.  The SYG-no-retreat rule didn’t apply because they were both felons in unlawful possession of firearms.

The Tampa Bay Times recordation of outcomes is strange here.  Jackson went through a full trial and was acquitted from murder charges but found guilty of unlawful weapon possession.  Vaughn, meanwhile, worked out a plea deal to the same charges and was not charged with murder, in exchange for testimony.  So they list Vaugh as having a “plea” as his outcome, but list Jackson as having charges dismissed.  I think the answer is both cases is that they were found not guilty of murder, but convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm, which they were probably really obviously guilty of.

Unarmed Hispanic victim shot by a white male named Samer Hasan.  He was acquitted but all of this was before SYG was passed.  So what is it doing on the list at all?  I am not including it.

Black victim with a gun, killed by black killer with gun, David Justin Wilson.  Wilson was a repo man, trying to take back a car owned by a third party.  Williams objected to this and tried to intervene.  There is no question Williams shot a few times in Wilson’s direction, and no question Wilson shot and killed Williams.  There is some dispute as to who fired first.

Who fired first would determine whether SYG-no-retreat is likely to be relevant.  If Wilson fired first, he would have to argue that he believed that Williams was about to use deadly force against him.  That situation might have afforded him time to retreat if he was legally required do.

On the other hand, if Williams was shooting first, then there would probably have been no safe retreat.  He could have just shot back.  So the information is not clear enough to determine if it is a SYG-no-retreat case or not.  Further, since he was never charged there was no SYG-immunity hearing.

I’m going to leave it out of the database due to poor data, and because it seems unlikely that he could have retreated if he was required to.

White unarmed man killed by white guy, Steven Anthony Thompson, with a gun.  Two men staying at a hotel for work and got into a fistfight in the room.  Thompson at one point retreated to the corner of the room.  He claimed Barter charged him and he was afraid he would be beaten to death.  So he grabbed his gun and shot him.

He was ultimately acquitted.  But SYG-immunity was denied.  At the same time, he couldn’t retreat, so SYG-no-retreat is irrelevant.

This was about a white guy, who looked like this...


...who was armed with a gun, being shot by a black guy named Demarro Battle.  Or so it says in the summary.  The two men got into an argument at a party outside Bonilla’s home.  Bonilla drew his gun and fired it into the ground and had struck Battle a few times.  Bonilla then ran into his apartment, gave the gun to another person and came back out.  Meanwhile, Battle had returned with his own gun and ended up shooting him.  Like in a lot of these cases, I suspect we are not hearing enough of the facts.

In any case, Battle was not charged.  This was a SYG-no-retreat case.  But obviously SYG-immunity was not sought.

The races/ethnicities of the two are unknown, but it was an unarmed man shot by an armed one, Jakob Penrod.  Basically Penrod was living with his pregnant fiancé.  Gayle was his fiancé’s brother.  He was at their house for several weeks when they had a violent argument.  Penrod and his fiancé actually retreated into a bathroom and Gayle broke in and started attacking Penrod.  So Penrod shot and killed him.

Penrod was not charged.

Why this is chalked up to Stand Your Ground is beyond me.  Penrod did initially retreat, and ended up trapped in a bathroom.  At the moment he finally fired, there didn’t seem to be any further place to retreat to.  And no other unusual doctrine of Florid law applied.  So this has nothing to do with Stand Your Ground at all.

There are those who argued that if a black man shot and killed a white man, he would always be arrested, always charged, and usually convicted.  This is the case that proves this is not always the case.

Two white men, Borowsky and Steven Lonzisero, armed with knives, were shot by Hygens Labidou.  Only one, Lonzisero survived.  It started as an argument about how Labidou had been driving, and the two men allegedly pounded on his truck and made racial slurs.  Lonzisero had a visible knife.  So Labidou pulled out his gun and shot both men.

So an arrest was made, a man was charged with murder but ultimately those charges were dropped.  Who was that man?  Lonzisero.  That is right, not only did they not even arrest the black dude, but they actually arrested one of the men he shot on the theory that he was responsible for the death of his partner in crime under the felony murder rule.  But like I said, those charges were dropped in favor of aggravated assault.  I have no idea how that turned out.

Since Labidou was not even charged, there was no SYG-immunity.  On the other hand, it wasn’t clear if he could retreat or not.  I mean he was in the driver’s seat in a truck.  But according to this report it sounds like he was at least blocked from the front.  So at best we can chalk this up to a “maybe” for SYG-no-retreat.

Further, since they also tried to drag Labidou from his vehicle, the SYG-vehicle rule would apply.

A black gunman (Jimmy Lee Cruz) shot an unarmed black man.  The case is pending, despite being about two years old, so I won’t go into a lot of detail, but I will note that SYG-immunity was denied.

White on white violence, an unarmed victim while the killer, John Croft, had a gun.  It is worth noting that Croft is an old man of 81 years.  Basically they were neighbors who had been fueding for a while, and one day they were arguing and Croft took out his gun and shot Sigmon.  Croft said Sigmon had made a threat to throw him in a dumpster that was central to their dispute, and suggested he was coming at him.

In any case there was no suggestion that Croft sought SYG-immunity.  But since this was in his yard and not his dwelling, the SYG-no-retreat rule would be in play.  Since he was convicted, it was obviously rejected.

White killer, Rhonda Eubanks, with a gun.  The victim was black and unarmed.  Basically first, Wesley tried to break in her home and failed.  Then he tried to steal several cars including one that was occupied.  Then he came back to Eubanks’ home and charged her as she stood in the doorway.  She shot and killed him then.

She was never charged, therefore there was no attempt to get SYG-immunity.  And as for the SYG-no-retreat rule, the cops said they didn’t even consider it.  From the database: “ Investigators said at the time that Florida's "stand your ground" law did not impact their decision not to arrest the shooter.”

So this has nothing to do with Stand Your Ground.

White on white violence, where an unarmed victim was shot by Seth Browning.  But what is not noted in this breakdown is that Baker had a twin brother, Christopher, who was involved in this.  Brandon was angry at Browning for his driving, so the twins stopped in separate cars.  From this account, the twins approached the car and Browning pepper sprayed them.  Brandon then reached into the window of Browning’s car and punched Browning.  Browning then shot him.

This account gives you more of a picture of the situation.

Anyway, no charges were filed.  No SYG-immunity was sought, obviously.  And while the Tampa Bay Times seems to think that he could have retreated, his statement from his lawyer suggests he couldn’t have.  Supposedly the attack came so quickly he couldn’t put the car in park.  So I am not going to count this as a SYG-no-retreat case.

Also it is not clear that he was forcibly entering the vehicle or anything like that, so the SYG-vehicle rule doesn’t apply.

Unarmed Hispanic shot by old white man, Owen Eugene Whitlock.  Ramirez was his daughter’s boyfriend and he felt insulted by Whitlock.  He came to Whitlock as he was in his driveway and this, according to Whitlock, is what happened next:

Whitlock said Ramirez threatened "to show me what they do to people like me in prison," then hit him in the chest with his forearms twice and shoved him in the back when the older man turned.

"I wasn't going to stand there and let someone beat me to a pulp," said Whitlock, who has a concealed weapon permit.

He pulled his Glock from his front pocket, warned Ramirez to back off, then shot him when he kept on coming. Ramirez stumbled back. Whitlock told onlookers to call the sheriff.

Whitlock was never charged, so no SYG-immunity hearing was held.  On the other hand, SYG-no-retreat was probably taken into account.

White on white violence, with an unarmed victim (Rich) and an armed killer, Donald Rivera, who looks like this:


Or was it really Donald Montanez?  Well, it turns out that Mr. Rivera had been operating under a false name for a number of years and allegedly operating an illegal towing operation where they would tow legally parked vehicles.  Basically it was (allegedly) legalized theft.

One of the people whose cars were allegedly unlawfully towed tried to, more or less, steal the vehicle right back.  Rivera claimed he only shot because the car was coming right at him, but the state demonstrated that in fact he fired as the car passed by.

Rivera did seek SYG-immunity, and it was rejected.  He didn’t assert that he was entitled to a SYG-no-retreat rule because the prosecutors said they planned to introduce evidence that he was engaged in unlawful activity—namely, the alleged illegal towing operation—to negate it.  So they conceded he had a duty to retreat, making SYG-no-retreat irrelevant.

He was unsurprisingly convicted of manslaughter.

So this is a unarmed white man stabbed to death by Anusha Bissoon, whose race is listed as “other.”  I suck at “guess the ethnicity” but here’s here picture so you can judge for yourself.

Anusha Bissoon

Basically her boyfriend and Sule were fighting over road rage, and she claimed she stabbed in defense of her boyfriend.

She was not charged, so no SYG-immunity at issue.  And since she was invoking the defense of her boyfriend, SYG-no-retreat doesn’t apply.  Bluntly, this doesn’t belong in the database.

Hispanic man, Edwin Vargas-Lopez, stabbed unarmed allegedly white man, Morales.  There is no picture in this case.  Apparently he was dancing with a girl and two men objected to that.  Vargas-Lopez left the club and got into his truck, but his truck was surrounded by an group of angry people.  Several people were trying to punch him and pull him through the window allegedly when he pulled out a knife and swung, hitting one woman in the hand, and stabbing Morales to death.

He was granted SYG-immunity.  Further, since they were trying to drag him out of his vehicle, the SYG-vehicle rule applied.  But SYG-no-retreat didn’t apply because they were actually grabbing him as he swung.  If anything, it looks like he was trying just to use enough force to escape.

White guy (Ralph L. Wald) shoots unarmed white guy (Conley).  Basically a man woke up in the middle of the night and came out of his bedroom to find his wife having consensual sex with another man.  He claimed, however, that he thought she was being raped.  So he got his gun, came back and killed the guy.

This article is downright weird in how overjoyed his wife seems to be, seeing that he got away with murdering her lover.

Anyway, whatever my skepticism about his actual motives, this has nothing to do with stand your ground.  It was his own home meaning SYG-no-retreat didn’t apply and there is no suggestion that he sought SYG-immunity.

White on white violence.   Unarmed victim, Hilson, shot by Russell Conrad, an old man.  Basically Conrad interrupted Hilson as he was breaking into his car, firing several shots in his direction but not hitting him.  Hilson then approached him and Conrad told him to stop.  Conrad claimed he was extremely frail and wouldn’t fair well in a fist-fight. Hilson wouldn’t stop approaching him, so he shot him once.

I relied significantly on this article for additional details.

Conrad was not charged, so SYG-immunity is irrelevant.  But since he was not presently in his home SYG-no-retreat was in play.  And the SYG-vehicle rule requires the vehicle to be occupied, which it wasn’t.

White woman, Bonnie, killed by her husband Bryan Hower.  He claimed self-defense, that he strangled her because she came at him with a knife.  Then he hid her body and pretended he didn’t know where she was.  In all frankness, it sounds like the jury decided he fabricated the self-defense story to cover up what was intentional murder.  He was convicted of first degree murder.

Still, he did seek a SYG-immunity hearing, and since both of them presumably had a right to be in the home, SYG-no-retreat was in play.  So the case involves Stand Your Ground in that respect.

Hispanic male, Oscar Delbono, shot an unarmed white guy.  The two men were neighbors and had been feuding for a while.  This article states:

In 11 years, Huse had been arrested 10 times in Florida. He recently had brandished a handgun and grumbled to a neighbor that he would make Delbono pay.

But on this day, after flailing his arms, Huse turned to walk away.

His 5-year-old son looked on as Delbono drew a .45-caliber pistol and shot Huse through the neck and chest. Huse died where he fell. His killer dialed 911 and told a dispatcher that he had fired because he thought Huse "was going for something."

"I feared for my life," said Delbono, who had no criminal history in Florida.

Delbono was not prosecuted.  So no SYG-immunity hearing.  Since this was not in either man’s house, SYG-no-retreat was in play.

Indeed, as an editorial aside, the State’s Attorney, when deciding not to charge Delbano, makes an eloquent point about how Stand Your Ground is in part about vindicating your right to move freely:

"Although it might have been wiser for Delbono to remain inside his trailer and call the sheriff's office he certainly need not be kept hostage in his own home."

The effect of a retreat rule is to say if a person is threatening you in a certain location, you have to leave that location, to cede it to that other person.  So if it your favorite dance club, you have to ruin your evening and flee it, because of someone else’s bad conduct.  Same applies to the streets in your own neighborhood, even potentially your own lawn.  Yes, you can call the police to come handle the situation, but what if they don’t come or there isn’t sufficient proof of this person’s conduct when they get there?

When a person acts unlawfully, they should be the one who is inconvenienced, not the innocent.

Again, it is asserted that if a black man shot an unarmed white man, he would automatically be arrested, charged and convicted.  As one author wrote: “African-Americans are never protected or served by the law enforcement apparatus — yet they are always subject to its military might.”  This shows that line for the ridiculous hyperbole that it is.

We have an unarmed white male, Lavoie, being shot to death by a black man, Cleveland Murdock.

Murdock was allegedly tailgating Lavoie and his girlfriend in traffic.  So the cars stopped and Lavoie argued with Murdock, finally reaching into the car and trying to open the door as they fought.  Murdock then shot him.

Murdock was briefly detained for questioning to check on his story but then set free.  This is constitutionally-speaking an arrest requiring Miranda warnings and the like, but they don’t call it one.  Zimmerman was subjected to the same kind of treatment.

Murdock was not charged with a crime.  And indeed he shouldn’t have been on those facts.

So SYG-immunity didn’t apply.  Also SYG-no-retreat is debatable, much like the Baker case above.  Could he had backed the car away?  In Baker it really sounded like he didn’t have the time.  Here, it’s not clear.  So we will say a “maybe” on SYG-no-retreat.  But since Lavoie was also trying to open the door, this also falls within the SYG-vehicle rule, which means Murdock was presumptively in fear of death or great bodily injury.

Another white-on-white incident, involving an unarmed man, Baisden, who was shot by Sean Christopher Stewart.  But the case is pending, so beyond noting that this man was charged and pretty vigorously pursued, including following an appeal by Stewart.

Another white-on-white incident, involving an unarmed man, Martell, shot by Max Wesley Horn Jr.  Basically they had been arguing on or off previously at a bar unfortunately named Hot Shots.  Horn claimed to have a heart condition that prevented him from fighting.  So from a Tampa Bay Times article on the subject:

"Then he [Martell] starts on me. … I told him, 'I can't fight you,' " Horn said.

Horn had a concealed weapons permit and a serious heart condition. He lifted his shirt to reveal he was armed. "I'll shoot you," he told Martell.

So his story is he really couldn’t engage in a fistfight, similar to a disabled gun owner I blogged about in my Patterico days.  Martell was “dragged” to another bar by a friend named Scott Hicks, but ducked out and went back to Hot Shots looking for a fist fight...  with a man with a gun.  He did end up slugging Horn and Horn shot him six times.

He was charged with second degree murder and acquitted by a jury.

He sought SYG-immunity and was denied.  And presumably he had many routes of escape, so SYG-no-retreat applied.

By the way, I love how the photo they used of Martell was with family, while the photo of Horn featured him acting out the shooting.

Unarmed black man, Mitchell, shot by another black man, Deounce Harden.  Harden was dating Mitchell’s ex-wife, leading to a running dispute between them.  Harden showed up at Mitchell’s job and they started arguing again.  The database says he simply shot and killed Mitchell without further provocation.  In an article with a hilariously biased title, Law And Disorder: Carwash Homicide Deemed Justifiable, the Times Union reported that

Assistant State Attorney John Gihon... said he didn't believe Mitchell was armed with a gun when he died, but that there were allegations he had threatened to kill or do great bodily harm to Harden prior to the shooting.

So you get the feeling there is more to the story than these reports are telling us.  In any case, he was not charged, so no SYG-immunity involved.  On the other hand, it’s a public place so SYG-no-retreat probably did play a role in this.

Sidebar: One thought that has occurred to me is that perhaps the influence of the law has been more about making people suddenly aware of the law rather than any radical shift in the law.  Allow me to explain.  Before the ADA was passed, was it legal for public schools, colleges (private or otherwise), and businesses to discriminate against the disabled?  Were they required to provide reasonable accommodations?  Actually for a great number of such institutions, they were not allowed to discriminate: they had to provide accommodations..  Prior to the ADA there was a law called the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which included in it a provision banning discrimination based on disability and requiring reasonable accommodations...  if the entity received any federal money.  So rather than relying on the commerce power or Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, they made it a “string” attached to any amount of federal spending.  Further, it was expansive.  For instance, if any unit of a state government received federal funding, the entire government was bound.

So practically speaking a great number of institutions were covered by this law... and yet discrimination—including a failure to accommodate—was still pretty rampant.  Why?  Because most people didn’t even know the law existed.

I have watched in my lifetime how the ADA changed things.  I myself went from being a high school drop-out to being a Yale-educated attorney.  Similarly dramatic changes were made in many of the lives of the disabled.  But I suspect that in the end what was most important was not the change in the law that was made, so much as the change in awareness of the law.

So maybe something similar to that happened here.  The law wasn’t very different from this before, but because this change in the law was so contentious everyone suddenly knew there was this new law on self-defense that was more permissive than before.

Anyway, back to the analysis.

Black on black violence, an unarmed man (Carter) stabbed to death with scissors by a woman, Rotesia Levette Bryant.  So basically they were living together, they had a number of domestic violence incidents at the house and Carter was in the process of moving out.  Bryant stated that Carter hit her several times, tackled her and pinned her to the bed.  That is when she stabbed him twice in the chest.

She said she didn’t want to kill him but the law tends to say that is deadly force regardless of her subjective intent.

In any case she was charged, but granted SYG-immunity.  However SYG-no-retreat wasn’t in play because she couldn’t have escaped.

White guy on white guy violence, a guy armed with a knife, Cohron, shot by David Hatley.  The men were roomates.  Cohron woke Hatley up one evening, they argued and Cohron trying to stab him.  Hatley escaped and then came back, closing the door to his room and warning Cohron that he had a gun and would shoot him if he entered.  Cohron then “barged in” and Hatley shot him to death.

Cohron was not charged, so SYG-immunity was irrelevant.  On the other hand, this was both of their homes, SYG-no-retreat applied.

Unarmed white man, Frazzini, shot by white guy, Todd Rasmussen.  Really this case is a strange one.  Frazzini thought people from the Rasmussen family were harassing his mother.  So he investigates, wearing a sweat suit and  a camouflage mask, carrying a bat and hiding.  The Rasmussens see this going on, and encountered him.  Corey Rasmussen, the shoooter’s son confronted him specifically, but the elder Rasmussen was apparently concerned for his son’s safety and so he got a gun from his daughter, shouted a warning and then shot Frazzini.

So a masked man with a bat was shot to death.

Anyway, he was unsurprisingly not charged.  So no SYG-immunity.  And since this was defense of others, the duty to retreat didn’t really apply, so this was not a SYG-no-retreat rule case.  In all frankness, this has nothing to do with Stand Your Ground at all.

An unarmed white guy, Sands, stabbed to death by a black guy, Reginald Etienne.  Basically they were having an argument at a party.  Etienne left, got a knife from his kitchen and came back and resumed the argument.  The Tampa Bay Times makes it sound like Etienne stabbed Sands out of the blue, but this account at least says there was some kind of fighting beforehand, but it’s not clear who is striking whom.  No other account I have found clears that up.

Still I think what ultimately led to his conviction is this part, describing how Etienne

stabbed Sands 18 times including in the liver and heart. After the fight, Etienne fled and was found hiding in a Dumpster. Etienne remained in Lee County Jail since his arrest. The medical examiner, Doerr said, testified that the heart wound was not survivable and the liver wound “may have been survivable if he was on the (operating) table.” Sands, whose death was the first of 2010, had stab wounds to his back and torso and defensive wounds to his arms.

We have seen a number of cases where the prosecutors argued that the first blows were justified, but subsequent blows were not.  It sounds like case involving Yajaira Jimenez-Castillo, mentioned in the last post in this series, who stabbed an attempted rapist 74 times.  You have to wonder if all those stabbings are necessary.

Anyway, he did seek SYG-immunity and was denied.  And since this was a party at someone else’s house, this was a SYG-no-retreat case.

White on white violence, an armed killer, Nathan McReynolds.  Meanwhile, the victim’s armament status is listed as “unknown.”  The facts here are confused and I have searched around and couldn’t get more data to clear it up.  The mystery is why McReynolds even claimed self-defense given that he also claimed his gun went off by accident.  At best, maybe he was saying he was trying to use it as a club when it went off like in the Harper case.

In any event, McReynolds was a drug dealer, doing a drug deal with Asber.  They argued and somehow McReynolds ended up shooting him in the head.

Despite the difficulty in asserting self-defense, he did seek SYG-immunity and was denied.  As you know by now, SYG-no-retreat doesn’t apply because he was engaged in illegal activity—drug dealing—when it happened.

He was convicted of manslaughter/

Two unarmed white people, Andrews and a woman named Lynda McAdams, shot to death by Michael McAdams.  I will refer to the McAdamses by their first names to make life simpler.  Lynda was Michael’s wife.  Andrews was Lynda’s lover.  What is strange here is that the Tampa Bay Times account is contradicted by... the Tampa Bay Times.  Let me illustrate.

As background, apparently Michael came home to find his wife and a man together.  Supposedly Andrews challenged Michael to a fight and Michael refused and retreated.  And then we get this from the database’s write up:

[Michael] McAdams refused and said he left the house only to see the new couple having sex through a window. Enraged, he grabbed a gun that he said he stored under a milk jug by the front door and shot his wife in the face and her boyfriend in the head.

But this is contradicted by the Tampa Bay Times itself, when they wrote:

Some of his claims about how the shooting unfolded didn't add up. McAdams claimed his wife was naked when he arrived, but her body was fully clothed when it was unearthed. Andrews' T-shirt had two apparent bullet holes in the back.

Yes, you read that right, unearthed.  As in he buried their bodies somewhere.  Indeed, judging by this posting there was a considerable period of time when no one could figure out where they were.

So it sounds like the Jodi Arias case where at one point self-defense was claimed, but it was one of many unbelievable stories he told.  According to this report, by the time the trial rolled around, they were no longer arguing that he didn’t kill them, but just that he didn’t commit murder one:

Anyway, supposedly SYG-immunity was asserted and denied.  And the SYG-no-retreat rule would be in play for however long he claimed self-defense.

Unarmed Hispanic guy, Ibanez, shot by Marcos A. Trujillo.  Trujillo is described by the database as being on a “spiritual high.”  You know, I don’t think I can quite capture this as well as they do:

Neighbors said the man had been pounding on windows and doors in the New Tampa apartment complex. Witnesses describe a man out of control but not necessarily threatening. Before he approached Trujillo's apartment and began banging on his windows, the victim, Carlos Humberto Ibanez, was doing cartwheels and banging on cars hard enough to set off alarms.

Also by this account, he very specifically appeared to be banging on the door.

Anyway, since there was no charge, there was no SYG-immunity necessary.  Since he was in his home, there was no SYG-no-retreat rule in play.  This is not a Stand Your Ground case.

White guy armed with a knife, killed by a white guy named Luis Perez.  There is no photo to show you.  Let me quote from the database, so you can see for yourself what is strange here:

Luis Perez was in his car waiting to pick someone up when his aunt's husband, 37-year-old Roberto Legarreta, charged at him with what Perez thought was a machete or crowbar. Perez said he couldn't get his keys out fast enough to drive away so he fired a gun he had next to him, striking the man five times.

The motive for Legarretta’s attack is never explained, but here’s the really odd part.  When you look at the checkboxes below, they say he could have retreated?  How?  He was in a car, and he couldn’t turn it on fast enough to avoid being attacked with what he thought was a pretty serious weapon.

Anyway, he was not charged, so no SYG-immunity needed.  And since he couldn’t retreat, the SYG-no-retreat rule is not in play.  This is not a Stand Your Ground case.  There was no suggestion that he had even touched the car, let alone attempted to break into it, so the SYG-vehicle rule wouldn’t apply.

Hispanic on Hispanic violence, with Roteta armed with a bag of car stereos, and Greyston Garcia having a knife.  I think this is one I have heard referenced several times.  Basically Garcia saw Roteta stealing his car radio.  He chased the man down the street and caught up to him and Roteta swung the aforementioned bag of car stereos at his head.  Garcia stabbed him.  There was video evidence, though it is unclear if it captured the entire incident.

As an interesting aside, Garcia didn’t call the police after the stabbing and denied involvement until the video appeared.  He also allegedly took the stereos that Roteta had in his bag and pawned them.

He sought and received SYG-immunity.  The judge ruled that he was within his rights to chase the man down and once Roteta used deadly force against him—swinging the sack of radios—Garcia was justified in using deadly force in return.  And of course SYG-no-retreat rule was in play here.

For the life of me, I don’t understand why this case is so controversial.  In most states you can use non-lethal force to try to protect your property, which is all he did initially.  It was the thief who escalated matters into a lethal encounter.

As a final coda, Garcia was shot by a random bullet about three months after being acquitted.

Unarmed white guy stabbed by white woman, Cindy Gilliland.  The database said this case was pending, but in fact she was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to manslaughter in a probable plea deal down from murder two.

Basically they were boyfriend/girlfriend and she claimed he was abusive to her.  She claimed at some point it was self-defense.  It is really unclear what the exact circumstances were, but we don’t have to know for my analysis.

There is no indication she sought SYG-immunity.  But the SYG-no-retreat rule would have applied.

Black on black violence, unarmed victim (Johnson), shot by Greg McQuitter.  McQuitter is a sheriff’s deputy.  I consider this a poor account for two reasons.  First, it doesn’t make it clear why or if deadly force is justified.  It said that Johnson tried to rob him and McQuitter shot.

Or it might be the case that even he was off-duty, he was still empowered to act as a law enforcement officer and with greater freedom of action.  Certainly the police are not required to retreat.  He might not have needed a threat to his life to shoot.

In any case, he was not charged, so no SYG-hearing.  Since he was not in his home, SYG-no-retreat would presumably apply, except his status as an officer negates it.  I asked a Florida lawyer who goes by the nickname Rebelpundit about it, and this is what he said:

I will defer to his expertise on this point.  So he had no duty to retreat, so the SYG-no-retreat rule wouldn’t have anything to do with it.  In all frankness, he is not treated as an ordinary person in this respect.  This case doesn’t belong in the database.

White man, Cline, shot to death by white woman, Anita Jane Smithey. The case is pending so I won’t comment overly much about it, but she did seek SYG-immunity and it was denied.  She claimed that he was raping her with a knife at her neck, so SYG-no-retreat wouldn’t apply.  The problem with her defense, so far, is problems in credibility—as in, they don’t believe her story.

Unarmed white guy, Fryer, shot by white guy, Raymond Emala.  Basically there was domestic violence in Fryer’s mother’s home and she called for help from her friend, Mr. Emala.  Emala arrived in his car and Fryer approached the vehicle in an aggressive, threatening manner.  Emala remained in the vehicle.  Emala was in poor health an unable to defend himself physically, so he pulled out his gun hoping Fryer would back off.  Instead Fryer lunged at the gun and according to this, caused one shot to go through the windshield.  Fryer tried to punch him through the window and Emala shot Fryer twice, killing him.

So let me break that down some.  One might debate whether Emala initially feared deadly force or non-deadly force.  But Emala didn’t respond with deadly force—aiming a gun at person is force, but not deadly force.  But Fryer decided that instead of running away he would fight, so then now Emala had grounds to fear deadly force—namely his gun getting taken from him and used against him.

There were no charges, so there was no SYG-immunity needed.  As for the SYG-No-Retreat rule, I don’t see how it could be relevant.  Plainly Fryer was able to get at him quickly enough to deflect the first shot, so how could Emala have retreated in that time?  So this is not a Stand Your Ground case.

Incidentally, it is not obvious that the SYG-vehicle rule would apply, because his entry didn’t seem forcible.

Unarmed white man, James, shot by an elderly black man, Trevor Dooley.

This on a high level bears some resemblance to the Fryer case.  Some of the background facts are different, of course, and Dooley was not in his car at the time.  But the key similarity is an older man and a younger man having an argument, and the older man asserting physical weakness in part as a reason to shoot.

The short version is Dooley didn’t like a kid skateboarding in the park.  For the life of me, I don’t understand why anyone gets so riled up about skateboarders.  James was just a bystander but he decided to stick up for the kid and they argued.  Here’s what the court found to be the facts:

the evidence showed that Mr. James had not been threatening or aggressive in any way toward Defendant, although he did appear to be shocked, defensive, loud, upset and agitated.  It was not until Defendant reached for and pulled out his weapon - indicating an intent to escalate from an argument to violence - that Mr. James exerted and used physical force against Defendant.

So you see it is very similar to the Fryer situation, but in that case, they necessarily believed that Emala reasonably feared non-lethal force, at the very least, when he drew and brandished his gun, but evidently they did not believe the same about Dooley.  Instead once Dooley drew the weapon—which is against the law in Florida as a rule and you must find some exception to allow it, such as self-defense—he caused the situation to escalate.

Anyway, that factual finding was from a SYG-immunity hearing, where such immunity was denied.  But as for SYG-no-retreat was concerned, the defendant’s theory of events—that he only drew his gun because he was afraid of being attacked—doesn’t implicate a retreat rule.  If he was in a retreat jurisdiction and the facts were truly as he stated, his drawing of the gun could have been justified to help him retreat.  As in, “I planned to get out of there, and I drew my gun hoping to keep the other guy back.”  Once the gun was drawn, evidently James became afraid for his life, and rather than run, he jumped Dooley.

He was found guilty of manslaughter.

Sidebar: According to my friend Lee Stranahan, this story was advertised as a “reverse Trayvon Martin situation” because Dooley claimed that James was had him pinned down and was choking him before he shot, and he only shot because he was afraid he was going to die.  The problem was that there were four living eye-witnesses who contradicted that story.  And if there were any marks on his neck, I haven’t heard of it.  So the difference isn’t the claims made by the defense—they are somewhat similar—but whether the evidence supports them.  Zimmerman’s story was supported by most of the evidence; Dooley’s was not.

And let’s not forget that Cleveland Murdock, a black man, was able to shoot a white man and was set free after questioning, just like George Zimmerman, and never charged.

White on white violence, basically an unarmed husband, Robert, was stabbed to death by his wife, Lillian Dolores Fahrer.  There was a history of abuse by Robert against Lillian.  That night, they had been arguing and Robert pushed her against a wall and threatened her.  She went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife.  He dared her to stab him and then took a step toward her, and so she did.

She was not charged, so there was no SYG-immunity.  What isn’t clear is if she could have retreated safely.  Some kitchens you can retreat from, some you can’t—there is only one way in or out.  Well, the database put a checkmark next to “no” to the question of retreat, so I will presume they know what they are talking about.  In that case, this case wouldn’t be a Stand Your Ground case at all.

But think of the opposite rule.  Would it be right to require her to flee her home?  Are you good feminist liberals sure about your opposition to Stand Your Ground?

White guy on white guy violence.  The deceased, Burke, had a wrench.  His killer, David Trombley, had a metal pole.  Trombley claimed that Burke swung a wrench at him, but witnesses contradicted his account, stating that he was too far away from Trombley to threaten him and he waited 10-15 seconds after the swing to strike him. 

He ended up pleading guilty, sentenced to 40 months in prison.

There is no suggestion that Trombley sought SYG-immunity.  But he was not on his property according to the Tampa Bay Times, so SYG-no-retreat would be in play.

Two unarmed white guys, Mohlman and Matthew Vittum, shot to death by another white guy, Michael Monahan.  To be blunt I am not sure why this was self-defense at all.  This Blaze article makes it clear that Mohlman and Vittum might have had murder on their minds, but there is no report of why Monahan felt he was about to be killed or suffer great bodily harm.  They were twenty feet away, and unarmed.

All of this took place on a boat, and so it occurred to me that maybe this boat had become legally Monahan’s dwelling.  And that is indeed what the court seemed to think, but at the same time, Mohlman was apparently the legal owner of the boat, so he had a right to be there too.  So I am left wondering why Monahan felt threatened, but for some reason the court felt that he had proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that killing the men was necessary to prevent imminent deadly force against himself.

In any case, SYG-immunity was granted.  As for SYG-no-retreat, the database describes him as cornered, so he couldn’t have retreated.

Another white guy on white guy violence case, an unarmed man (Koenig) stabbed to death with a knife by David Allan Dodd.  Basically, Dodd was sleeping with Jerry Koenig’s ex-wife, Kim.  I will refer to the Koenigs by their first names for clarity.  The couple were asleep in small car repair shop office that doubled as Dodd’s home.  Jerry kicked in the door and attacked Dodd, Dodd telling him repeatedly to get off of him.  Then he grabbed a knife and stabbed him.

He was initially charged, but the case was dismissed.  There is no suggestion that SYG-immunity applied.  But there is also no suggestion that SYG-no-retreat applied.  This was his home, of course, and according to the database, he couldn’t have retreated.  So this is not a Stand Your Ground case at all.

So that is it for this chunk.  Stay tuned because the next is likely to be the last of the fatal cases.



I have accused some people, particularly Brett Kimberlin, of reprehensible conduct.  In some cases, the conduct is even criminal.  In all cases, the only justice I want is through the appropriate legal process—such as the criminal justice system.  I do not want to see vigilante violence against any person or any threat of such violence.  This kind of conduct is not only morally wrong, but it is counter-productive.

In the particular case of Brett Kimberlin, I do not want you to even contact him.  Do not call him.  Do not write him a letter.  Do not write him an email.  Do not text-message him.  Do not engage in any kind of directed communication.  I say this in part because under Maryland law, that can quickly become harassment and I don’t want that to happen to him.

And for that matter, don’t go on his property.  Don’t sneak around and try to photograph him.  Frankly try not to even be within his field of vision.  Your behavior could quickly cross the line into harassment in that way too (not to mention trespass and other concerns).

And do not contact his organizations, either.  And most of all, leave his family alone.

The only exception to all that is that if you are reporting on this, there is of course nothing wrong with contacting him for things like his official response to any stories you might report.  And even then if he tells you to stop contacting him, obey that request.  That this is a key element in making out a harassment claim under Maryland law—that a person asks you to stop and you refuse.

And let me say something else.  In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that any person supporting me has done any of the above.  But if any of you have, stop it, and if you haven’t don’t start.

No comments:

Post a Comment