A Texas jury found a retired firefighter guilty of murder, despite the man's claim of justifiable homicide under Texas' version of a "stand your ground" law.
Raul Rodriguez, 47, faces up to life in prison for shooting and killing his unarmed neighbor when the two argued over a noisy house party in 2010, the Associated Press reports.
Annoyed by the loud gathering, Rodriguez grabbed a flashlight, a handgun, and a camcorder, and decided to crash the party. He harassed people at the party and then lured three men into the street, prosecutors claimed.
Once in the street, Raul Rodriguez threatened the men by flashing his gun, prosecutors said, according to the AP.
When someone tried to grab his camcorder, Rodriguez shot and killed 36-year-old Kelly Danaher, an elementary school teacher with a young daughter. The house party was for Danaher's wife's birthday.
The moments that led up to the killing were caught on Rodriguez's camcorder. In the video, Rodriguez is heard calling 911 and saying "my life is in danger now," "these people are going to try and kill me," and finally, "I'm standing my ground here." Raul Rodriguez then shot and killed Danaher. The two other men were wounded.
"This is not what stand your ground is," the prosecutor told jurors.
Under Texas law, a self-defense killing is justified when a person "reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary" to protect himself against another person's "use or attempted use of unlawful force."
But the law also states that a self-defense killing cannot be justified if the killer "provoked" the other party's use of unlawful force.
Rodriguez not only provoked the confrontation, he also used a gun against an unarmed person, which is a crime, the prosecutor said.
Raul Rodriguez's defense lawyers argued Danaher and the two men confronted Rodriguez in a threatening way that justified the shooting. But jurors rejected his "stand your ground" defense. The sentencing phase of his trial is now underway.
- Jury finds retired firefighter guilty in 'stand your ground' murder trial (Houston's KHOU-TV)
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- 'Stand Your Ground' Laws: State by State (FindLaw's Blotter)
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