May 12 2012
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the recent case for domestic shooting (no one harmed) I will say I believe the sentencing was way over the top. However, the case illustrates what I have been saying about the Trayvon Martin case for some time.
That is: the use of a firearm in self defense requires a clear and present danger, not a feeling based on emotion.
Here is the situation that transpired:
Alexander said she was attempting to flee her husband, Rico Gray, on August 1, 2010, when she picked up a handgun and fired a shot into a wall.
She said her husband had read cell phone text messages that she had written to her ex-husband, got angry and tried to strangle her.
She said she escaped and ran to the garage, intending to drive away. But, she said, she forgot her keys, so she picked up her gun and went back into the house. She said her husband threatened to kill her, so she fired one shot.
Corey said the case deserved to be prosecuted because Alexander fired in the direction of a room where two children were standing.
Here’s the rub. While the gun was discharged to ward off attack, the “attacker” in this situation had not yet reached a point where deadly force was considered proper. But there is more
Alexander’s attorneys tried to use the state law that allows people to use potentially deadly force anywhere they feel reasonably threatened with serious harm or death.
But a previous judge in the case rejected the request, saying Alexander’s decision to go back into the house was not consistent with someone in fear for her safety, according to the Florida Times Union newspaper.
This is the whole thing about avoiding conflict. You cannot take actions and make decisions that create a confrontation and then use the confrontation as a self defense. Personally I am stunned at the outcome, since the man had apparently tried to strangle the women. But the law is clear, she had escaped and she should have called police, not armed herself and gone back in.
This is why Zimmerman is in such deep trouble. He too had opportunities (many of them) to stand back and avoid the conflict. He defied police direction to do so. This woman fired a warning shot – Zimmerman killed a kid. She was in her home, Zimmerman was in a public space.
The story also explains why I think Zimmerman should avoid a jury trial and actually plea deal:
After the sentencing, Rep. Corrine Brown confronted State Attorney Angela Corey in the hallway, accusing her of being overzealous, according to video from CNN affiliate WJXT.
“There is no justification for 20 years,” Brown told Corey during an exchange frequently interrupted by onlookers. “All the community was asking for was mercy and justice,” she said.
Corey said she had offered Alexander a plea bargain that would have resulted in a three-year prison sentence, but Alexander chose to take the case to a jury trial, where a conviction would carry a mandatory sentence under a Florida law known as “10-20-life.”
Virginia is just as strict. With your CCP permit comes harsh penalties for stepping a hair out of line. Let me repeat – this sentence is unjustified and unfair. The conclusions are correct, the punishment ridiculous. Hopefully the Governor will intervene and set it to something reasonable.
Now, I want address the incident map and show how Zimmerman was not likely to have been ‘jumped’ by Martin. In fact the map shows just the opposite:
You can click to enlarge, but the key points here are
- C – Zimmerman’s truck, where he left it armed to chase down Martin
- E – Where Zimmerman ended up thinking Martin would try and leave the neighborhood (it never dawned on him Martin had a right to be there and lived in the nearby buildings)
- G – Martin’s residence
- F – The site of the physical altercation and killing of Martin
Now a lot of people claim Martin ‘doubled back’ to confront Zimmerman. That is pure BS given this map. Martin would not know where Zimmerman is because he sprinted down between the buildings and likely did make it to is house. He also probably assumed the coast was clear, having stayed between the buildings for a long time (as everyone admits given the phone call time line). Zimmerman could be anywhere since he was in a truck.
Zimmerman is actually standing in the parking lot out of site of Martin. There is no proof Martin knew where Zimmerman was, anymore than Zimmerman knew where Martin was.
So the story goes thus: Zimmerman ends his 911 call to head back to his truck from Point E. There is a straight line between C and E right down the walkway.
But look where F took place!
F is not on that straight line to Zimmerman’s truck. It is on Martin’s path to/from home. There is nothing against Martin assuming the nut job (Zimmerman) had left. Martin reasonably could have assumed the coast was clear and went back to his phone call with his girlfriend.
But Zimmerman must have seen him down the path and diverted his heading. Zimmerman HAS to have walked towards Martin for the event to occur where it did. Which blows Zimmerman’s story out of the water. Zimmerman was the consistent instigator. And like the case above, he had no right to go armed after Martin. None.
Zimmerman is toast.