Shocking Stand Your Ground Shootings

UPDATED May 31, 2016

2013 was the year stand your ground law became a national controversial issue. A case could fall into this category if a person who takes a life claims self-defense under stand your ground laws or may have the option to invoke the law. Here are some of the most shocking incidents that made headlines:

CLICK THE VICTIM’S NAME FOR MORE DETAILS OF THE INCIDENT

RONALD WESTBROOK, Georgia

Georgia stand your ground vicitim Ronald Westbrook
Ronald Westbrook

On November 27, 2013 Ronald Westbrook, a 72-year-old man with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, wandered four miles away from home with his dogs in the middle of the night. He jiggled the doorknob and rang the doorbell of a home in Walker County, Georgia, alerting the resident, Joe Hendrix, 34, who went outside.

Hendrix said that he saw a figure walking toward him in the darkness, ordered the man to stop several times, and fired his weapon, killing Westbrook, who was not armed. Hendrix was cleared of all charges on February 28, 2014.

 

RENISHA MCBRIDE, Michigan

Renisha Mcbride
Renisha Mcbride

On November 2nd, 2013 Renisha Mcbride, a 19-year-old woman fresh out of high school, had wrecked her car in predominately white Detroit suburb of Dearborn Heights. She may have been confused or impaired, but walked into the neighborhood. She didn’t come out alive.

Theodore Wafer, a 46-year-old resident, claims he heard banging on his door, went to the door with a 12-gauge shotgun, and Mcbride, who was unarmed, was shot in the face. Wafer said the gun went off accidentally. He was found guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter with intent but without malice and felony use of a firearm on Aug. 7, 2014 and received a sentence of 17 to 32 years in prison.

 

JANDEI CHERRY, Florida

Jandei Cherry
Jandei Cherry (facebook/Justice4Jandei)

After getting off from work at a restaurant on October 6th, 2013, 22-year-old Jandei Cherry and a couple of co-workers go to the beach in Hollywood, Florida for a pre-dawn swim. While there, Jandei got into some kind of argument with one of the others. When he came out of the water after skinny-dipping, his clothes, cell phone, and other belongings were gone.

Jandei started a ten-mile trek home without his clothes on. A motorist, Duke Laguerre, 29, driving with his girlfriend, saw him, turned around, and claims that after asking the naked man if he was OK several times, Cherry, who was not armed, held on to the window as Laguerre tried to roll it up. Laguerre said he fired a shot, shattering the window and striking Cherry, who later died at a hospital. Laguerre has never been arrested or charged.

JENNIFER ALFONSO, Florida

Derek Medina and Jennifer Alfonso (facebook)
Derek Medina and Jennifer Alfonso (facebook photo)

Jennifer Alfonso, 26 and Derek Medina, 31, appeared to be a loving married couple, from the content smiles they posted in facebook pictures. But on August 8th, 2013 something went terribly wrong in Miami, and friends found a picture Medina posted on facebook of Alfonso’s dead body.

Medina had shot Alfonso several times, then posted a rant saying his wife was punching him, and “I’m not going to stand anymore with the abuse.” Neither could Alfonso; she was lying dead face up on the kitchen floor. Medina claims Alfonso had pulled a kitchen knife on him minutes before he killed her.

After calling his boss, stopping to say goodbye to an aunt, he had his dad drive him to a police station to turn himself in. Medina was found guilty of second-degree murder, throwing a deadly missile, and child endangerment on November 25, 2015, and sentenced to life in prison on February 5, 2016, but not before threatening to sue the world.

 

LEWIS DANIEL, Texas

On July 22nd, 2013 Shanequia Mcdonald, a 23-year-old Houston woman pulled into a gas station and was approached by 58-year-old Lewis Daniel, who she claims made unwanted sexual advances toward her.

In surveillance video Daniel can be seen approaching Mcdonald, who claims he had a knife in his hand. She backs up, he takes a few steps back, and she is seen going into the trunk of her car, taking out a shotgun, then, as Daniel moves toward her, she fires a shot, killing him instantly.

What happens next is equally shocking: Mcdonald calmly walks back to the trunk, puts the shotgun inside, gets a camera out of her car, takes a photo of Daniels’ body, gets back into her car, and drives off.

(This article was updated on 5/6/2016 for timely reference, then again on 5/31/2016 to include the outcomes of each case if available)

 

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Mother Shoots Through Door, Kills Daughter Holding Baby

In a horrible accident a few days before Thanksgiving a Florida woman shot through a door thinking it was her boyfriend, killing her daughter – who was holding a 4-month-old baby. This is the latest in a month-long string of “doorstep shootings” where someone claiming to be in fear fired a gun at the door.

Ruby Bing
Ruby Bing (facebook photo)

On Monday night, November 25th, Adele Bing, 52, of Winter Haven Florida, had a fight with her boyfriend, James Lane, 39, and hit him in the head with a gun. Bing told police he left, but not before telling her he’d be back to kill her. Unbeknownst to Bing, Lane instead went to a hospital to be treated.

While he was at the hospital, Adele Bing claimed she heard a banging and kicking at her apartment door, and, thinking it was Lane, went to the door holding a baseball bat in one hand and a .22 caliber pistol in the other. At the door was her daughter, 25-year-old Ruby Bing, who was holding Adele’s 4-month-old grandchild.

Ruby Bing2
Ruby Bing (facebook photo)

Bing told police that as she opened the door, the gun went off by accident, hitting Ruby with a single shot to the chest. She died at the scene. Luckily, the baby wasn’t hurt. Police arrived to find Adele Bing cradling her daughter’s body, begging her to wake up.

She reportedly has made a statement to police that it was a “f–up accident” and stated, “How can I look my grandkids in their face and say I killed their mother? Y’all can lock me away for good.”

Adele Bing
Adele Bing (Winter Haven Police Dept. booking photo)

She was charged with second degree murder, shooting a deadly weapon, domestic violence with aggravated battery, and child neglect without great bodily harm.

UPDATE: Mom Who Killed Daughter Holding Baby Is Sentenced

Adele Bing
Police bring Adele Bing in for booking.

This and other recent incidents underscore the dangers of approaching a door in supposed “fear” while holding a gun, and of banging on a door at night, heightening the likelihood that a deadly encounter or a self-defense incident may occur.

On November 2nd, 19-year-old Renisha Mcbride was shot and killed after banging on the door of a Michigan home after she wrecked her car. Then on November 27th, Ronald Westbrook, a 72-year-old Georgia man with Alzheimer’s disease, was shot and killed after trying a door at the wrong house, then approaching a man who came outside.


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Renisha Mcbride Shooter Going To Trial

[UPDATE: January 16. 2014 – Ted Wafer entered a plea of not guilty on January 15, and a trial is scheduled to begin June 2nd]

A man charged in the shooting death of 19-year-old Renisha Mcbride last month after she banged on his door will face trial on charges of second-degree murder after two days of testimony before Judge David Turfe to decide whether the case should go to trial.

Mcbride, a 5′ 4″, 2012 Southfield High School graduate, had wrecked her car in the early morning hours of November 2nd. Toxicology reports show she had a blood alcohol content of 0.218%, more than twice the legal limit, and a trace amount of marijuana in her body.

Mcbride walked up to the home of Theodore Wafer, 46, in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Wafer fired through his door, and reportedly claimed he thought it was a burglar and that his shotgun discharged by accident. He has been free on bond since he was charged with second-degree murder manslaughter, and felony firearm on November 15th. The families of both Wafer and Mcbride attended the hearing.

Family and supporters of Renisha Mcbride
Family and supporters of Renisha Mcbride

A medical examiner, a crime scene reconstruction expert, a police detective, firearms expert, witnesses to the car accident, and friends of Mcbride were called to testify during the hearing. The defense appeared to try and sway blame for the incident to Mcbride, using her state of mind that night to display aggressive behavior that would justify Wafer’s actions.

Evidence included the 12-gauge shotgun used to kill Mcbride on his porch, the screen door through which the fatal shot was fired, an NRA pamphlet, shotgun shells, and photos of Mcbride’s damaged car showing airbags deployed as well as a cracked windshield.

The screen door had smudges allegedly caused by Mcbride.The windshield appeared to have a web pattern as though hit from a center point that spread out. Det. Sgt. Stephen Gurka said it’s possible her head hit the windshield.

Assistant Wayne County Medical Examiner Kilak Kesha testified that a person could be incoherent, confused or more aggressive due to any brain damage.

He said they have not been able to establish whether Mcbride had any head injuries from the car accident that could have affected her state of mind, since the gunshot wound to her head caused damage that eliminated any brain damage determination. He said that there was no exit wound.

David Balash, a firearms expert, said the fatal shot was fired from close range, and it may have been from as close as two feet away.

Renisha Mcbride
Renisha Mcbride

A witness, Carmen Beasly, who called 911 after hearing “a loud boom” outside her house, testified that she went outside and saw McBride holding her head and staggering as she walked away from a 2004 Ford Focus that had crashed into Beasly’s husband’s car.

She said Mcbride came back 5 or 10 minutes later. She said she talked to Mcbride, who had blood on her hands, possibly from her arm, but that Mcbride didn’t know where she was.

Beasly asked if she was OK, and Mcbride said yes, then searched for her cell phone but couldn’t find it. Beasly described Mcbride as “discombobulated” and heard Mcbride say more than once that “I just want to go home”, but that the young lady walked away again as Beasly was calling 911 a second time. Beasly and another witness testified that Mcbride was never hostile.

No one knows Mcbride’s whereabouts from 1:30 a.m. until about 4:42 a.m. that morning, when Wafer called police to say he had shot someone.

A friend who was with Mcbride earlier in the night said she had left Mcbride’s home after they drank half a bottle of vodka and got into an argument. Another friend said she was supposed to pick him up from work, and they had spoken by phone, but that Mcbride’s voice was slurred, as if she was drunk.

He said he wondered if someone had slipped something into a drink she may have had. Both friends testified that Mcbride’s actions that fateful night were uncharacteristic.

In ordering the case held over for trial, Judge Turfe said Wafer could have avoided the confrontation. “He could have not answered the door. He could have called for help.  He chose to shoot rather than not answer the door,” Judge Turfe said. He said the defendant made a bad choice when there were other reasonable opportunities.

Theodore Wafer
Theodore Wafer (photo: Freep)

Based on testimony and reasoning, Judge Turfe said that he believes the prosecutors met the burden of proof showing probable cause to go to trial on charges that Wafer committed the crimes of second-degree murder and manslaughter. The trial date is set for June 2, 2014.

Can Renisha Mcbride Killer Claim Stand Your Ground Defense?

A common thread in many of the cases where a person claimed a stand your ground defense after killing an innocent, unarmed person, is that there is usually no other defense for the killer to stand on. The killer of Renisha Mcbride will likely not claim stand your ground.

A pretty young African-American woman, 19 year-old Mcbride, a 2012 Southfield High School graduate, had wrecked her 2004 Ford Taurus in the early morning hours of November 2. She apparently walked into the suburban neighborhood of predominantly white Dearborn Heights, Michigan looking for help. It’s not clear why she could not use a cell phone to call for help.

Renisha Mcbride
Renisha Mcbride

Mcbride was shot in the head at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun after banging on a door at the home of Theodore Paul Wafer, 54, now charged with manslaughter, second-degree murder, and felony use of a firearm in her death.

Toxicology reports show McBride had a blood alcohol content of 0.218%, more than twice the legal limit, and a trace amount of marijuana in her body when she walked up on Wafer’s porch. Wafer reportedly claimed he thought it was a burglar and that the shotgun discharged by accident.

Theodore Paul Wafer
Theodore Paul Wafer (Dearborn Heights Police Dept.)

The state of Michigan does have a “stand your ground” law – a self-defense statute that includes the “no duty to retreat” clause.

However, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has already dismissed the notion of a stand your ground defense. “The evidence will show that self-defense was not warranted,” Worthy said.

“Under Michigan law, there is no duty to retreat in your own home; however, someone who claims self-defense must honestly and reasonably believe that he is in imminent danger of either losing his life or suffering great bodily harm, and that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent that harm”, said Worthy.

Many people are comparing this incident to the shooting of Jonathan Ferrell, 24, an African-American former college football player killed in North Carolina by police under similar circumstances in September after his car broke down.

Jonathan Ferrell
Jonathan Ferrell

Before anyone goes further in the discussion of SYG as it applies to the Renisha Mcbride case, or a crusade to use this as a prudent stand your ground case, it’s wise to acknowledge that this should not be construed as a stand your ground situation. There are many other cases with circumstances that clearly afford the claim. Caution should be used before any presumptions of the shooter’s intent.

While the McBride shooting simply exemplifies the danger of stand your ground laws, her killer has not claimed a stand your ground defense as immunity from prosecution for a justifiable homicide. And self-defense in your home – where you have the right to be – is automatically afforded universally under Castle Doctrine.

Wafer’s attorneys may possibly try to secure the stand your ground option, but it would be a foolish move. He did, in fact, use the indoctrinated “no duty to retreat”. Yet there is no indication he was ever faced with the threat of injury or death from Renisha Mcbride, and has not claimed the perceived fear nor premise necessary to secure a stand your ground defense.

Initial police report from November 2, 2013:

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Sarasota First Fla. City To Seek Repeal Of Stand-Your-Ground

Last week, the Sarasota, Florida City Commission approved the city’s Revised Final 2014 Legislative Priorities and voted to request that “the state Legislature repeal the Stand Your Ground statute and establish a more civil approach to governance than afforded under the current statute.”wikipedia creative commons photo of Sarasota, Fl.. Patrick Braga

This is a brave, emboldened step by Sarasota – perhaps the first city to oppose stand-your-ground laws in the first state to enact stand-your-ground.

According to reports, the National Rifle Association (NRA), which led efforts to enact stand-your-ground laws has already “sunk its teeth” into the debate, urging voters to recall the Sarasota commissioners. The NRA likely will put up a fierce fight to keep stand-your-ground, especially in their prized debut state. Yet, municipalities across the nation are lining up in opposition.

Just this week, the Youngstown, Ohio city council followed the lead of Cincinnati, Dayton, South Euclid and Toledo in voting to oppose the state’s proposed HB 203, which would expand the circumstances in which a person has no duty to retreat from a threatening situation before using force in self-defense, and ease restrictions on permits to carry concealed weapons.

In Cleveland, Ohio a group of clergy and community leaders  are collecting signatures in opposition to HB203.

In Michigan, Ann Arbor and Ysilplanti have each passed resolutions asking that state to repeal stand-your-ground laws.

Every state already has some form of the Castle Doctrine but SYG is an expansion of those self-defense laws, and relieves the duty to retreat.

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Michigan Cities Call For Repeal Of Stand-Your-Ground

Ann Arbor, Michigan by Alan Piracha
Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti are two cities in Michigan that passed resolutions last month asking their state to repeal stand-your-ground laws.  The Michigan Self Defense Act of 2006 and the Firearms and Ammunition Act of 1990 are the two pieces of legislation that the municipalities want axed.

Both cities are politically vocal. Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, gained a reputation during the 1960’s and 70’s as a center for civil rights, anti-Vietnam. and student movements.

The Ypsilanti Courier reports that the resolution cites gun violence as one of the leading causes of death of African-Americans, Latinos and American Indians.  It seeks improved background checks, strengthened gun-free zones and limits on the sale high-capacity magazines.

What other cities have started resolutions? Will other cities follow?

READ MORE: http://www.heritage.com/articles/2013/08/28/ypsilanti_courier/news/doc52166438d96ae636407170.txt?viewmode=fullstory

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