Blind Man In Florida Stand Your Ground Case Wants His Guns Back

[UPDATE: February 22, 2014 – Stating he was legally bound to do it, a judge ordered two guns confiscated from John Wayne Rogers to be returned to him]

A legally blind Florida man who was granted stand your ground immunity last month in the murder of a friend wants his guns back, and probably will get them.

John Wayne Rogers, 40, of Geneva, had been charged with first degree murder and was facing a life sentence for the death of James Dewitt, 34, on March 27, 2012.

A judge stopped a trial after two days of testimony, on January 10, and granted Rogers immunity under Florida’s stand your ground law. Rogers had spent two years in jail while awaiting trial. His weapons were confiscated after he was arrested.

John Wayne Rogers
John Wayne Rogers (Seminole County Police mug shot)

Rogers, an ex-Marine who got the guns before an industrial accident caused his blindness, has filed a motion to have his weapons returned. Assistant State Attorney David Whateley reportedly said “I have no legal reason to ask the court to deny the motion.”

In an Orlando-Sentinel video, Rogers says, “I’m legally blind — not totally blind. I’m not running around the woods hunting or being paramilitary.… I’m not even carrying a concealed weapons permit. The firearms are for here, for my own protection.”

He won’t be the first blind man to fight for his right to bear arms. In 2012, a blind New Jersey man, Steven Hopler, won a four year battle to have his weapons returned after they were confiscated as a result of him shooting himself in the leg.

Rogers said he’s never been in trouble before “except for once..once other time I’ve been in trouble in my life.” That “once” is undoubtedly an incident in which he fired 15 shots from a handgun at a cousin after a night of drinking and fighting, according to court records. The cousin was bruised but not shot.

Rogers was charged with aggravated assault in that incident but made a plea deal, pled no contest to a lesser charge (unlawfully displaying a firearm), and was placed on probation, which was revoked when he physically assaulted a woman a year later, earning him 71 days in jail for domestic violence, according to court records.

What do you think? Should Rogers get the guns back?

(Video by Orlando Sentinel)

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