'Stand your ground' fails in Texas case

2012-06-28 12:01
Court (<a href=http://www.shutterstock.com>Shuttertstock</a>)

Court (Shuttertstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Houston - A retired Texas firefighter convicted in the fatal shooting of an unarmed neighbour was sentenced on Wednesday to 40 years in prison, after his "stand-your-ground" legal defence failed.

Raul Rodriguez, aged 47, was convicted earlier this month of the 2010 murder of his neighbour, 36-year-old teacher Kelly Danaher, following a dispute about the noise level at a birthday party at Danaher's house.

Prior to the shooting in Huffman, a rural Texas community northeast of Houston, Rodriguez videotaped himself calling police and telling a dispatcher that his life was in danger and that "I'm standing my ground here."

After a struggle in which it appeared that somebody at the party was grabbing for Rodriguez' camera, he shot Danaher and wounded two other men.

Stand-your-ground gun laws exist in at least 20 US states, including Texas and Florida, where earlier this year a neighbourhood watch captain named George Zimmerman invoked a version of the defence after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.

Prior to 2007, Texas law allowed persons to defend themselves with deadly force in their homes, vehicles and workplaces if they felt their lives were in danger. But the law required that a person first seek an alternative to deadly force to escape danger, like fleeing.

Standoff provoked

A 2007 law rescinded the duty to retreat, provided those who invoked it could demonstrate they did not provoke their aggressor and were not committing a crime at the time of the shooting. That law and similar ones in other states have become known as stand-your-ground laws.

Prosecutors argued that Rodriguez had provoked a standoff with the party guests by shining a flashlight at Danaher's house from the roadway. Defence attorney William Stradley called it a "perfect storm of events" with no evil intent from Rodriguez.

If not for threats from intoxicated party-goers to "get even", Rodriguez might not have felt he was in imminent danger, Stradley said.

A person contemplating murder does not call the police beforehand, he said. Stradley told jurors the case hinged on just the two seconds before Rodriguez pulled the trigger.

"Anyone has the right to stand their ground," he said.

Prosecutor Donna Logan countered in court that the time Rodriguez spent documenting his feelings and thoughts and fears demonstrated premeditation. She called Rodriguez "unpredictable, impulsive and calculating".

Rodriguez, who faced between 5 years and life in prison before sentencing, will be eligible for parole in 20 years. The defence plans to appeal.

Read more on:    george zimmerman  |  trayvon martin  |  us
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Hermanus

Houses R 2 680 000

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Paarl

Houses R 2 690 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.