1. Trayvon Martin, 2012 (Florida) – George Zimmerman claimed he felt threatened by the black Miami teen, who was unarmed, because he “looked like he was on drugs or something” and was walking through the gated community where Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, was a neighborhood watch captain.
2. Marissa Alexander, 2010 (Florida) – The 31-year-old African-American mother of three sought immunity under Stand Your Ground after alleging her husband beat and threatened her in August 2010. She ran into the garage, grabbed a gun, and fired a warning shot over his head. She was convicted anyway, and faces 20 years in prison.
3. Greyston Garcia, 2012 (Florida) – Miami Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom cleared Garcia under Stand Your Ground, after Garcia chased a Miami man, Pedro Roteta, for two blocks, after Roteta stole his car radio. The judge ruled the alleged thief swung a bag of stolen radios, which was enough of a threat for Garcia to stab him to death. Garcia didn’t call 911. Instead he hid the knife and sold the radios, even the ones that weren’t his.
4. Tulsa shootings, 2010 & 2012 (Oklahoma) – In 2010, Carl England attacked a black man he claimed broke into her daughter’s apartment and was shot dead. His killer was not charged, due to Stand Your Ground. Two years later, England’s 19-year-old son and his roommate went on a shooting spree in Tulsa’s black community, shooting five people of which three died.
5. Death on the basketball court, 2012 (Florida) – Trevor Dooley, 69, took his gun with him to confront a teenager riding a skateboard on the basketball court near his Valrico home. When David James, 41, who was playing basketball with his 8-year-old daughter, stood up for the skateboarder, the men fought and Dooley, a school bus driver shot him dead. Dooley (who is black, James was white) is seeking to dismiss his manslaughter case under Stand Your Ground.
6. John McNeil. 2005 (Georgia) – McNeil, who is black, said his son was frightened by a white contractor, Brian Epp, who pulled a knife. McNeil raced home and when Epp rushed him, shot him in the head. A year later — though the state had by then passed a Stand Your Ground law — prosecutors charged McNeil with second degree murder. Though neighbors testified Epp scared them too, McNeil is serving life in prison.
7. Tallahassee gun fight, 2008 (Florida) – A gunfight between rival gang members left 15-year-old Michael Jackson dead in a hail of bullets. However, the judge, Terry Lewis, dismissed charges against the two surviving gang members under Stand Your Ground, saying “the law would appear to allow a person to seek out an individual, provoke him into a confrontation, then shoot and kill him if he goes for his gun. … It’s very much like the wild west.”
8. Bo Morrison, 2012 (Wisconsin) – The 20 year old attended a party in a small town called Singer. When police broke up the bash due to underage drinking, people scattered, including Morrison, who hid in the enclosed porch of Adam Kind, who spotted him at 1:56 and shot him dead. The shooting was ruled justifiable under the state’s Castle Doctrine. Kind is white, Morrison is biracial.
9. Road rage shooting 2008 (Florida) – James Patrick Wonder is claiming “Stand Your Ground” immunity on manslaughter charges in the shooting of a customs agent, Donald Pettit, in the parking lot of a Pembroke Pines post office. Wonder claims Pettit followed him to the lot in a road rage incident, before he shot the agent in front of Pettit’s 12-year-old daughter, who was in the car with him.
10. Shooting caught on 911 tape, 2007 (Texas) – Perhaps the eeriest “Stand Your Ground” case is that of “Joe Horn, the 62-year-old Pasadena, Texas man who called 911 to warn them that he was about to shoot two alleged burglars. Though the dispatcher tried to talk him out of it, Horn (center) shot undocumented immigrants Hernando Riasccos Torres, 38 (left), and Diego Ortiz, 30 (right, both in the back, while the tape rolled. A grand jury cleared Horn.
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The killing of Trayvon Martin by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman has brought the issue of “Stand Your Ground” laws, which started in Florida in 2005 and now are on the books in some form in 18 states.
But are these laws applied equally? Or does race, and gender, play a role in who gets immunity under Stand Your Ground, and who doesn’t?
Here are ten of the most infamous cases.