Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Man Refused to Make Coffee, Gets Shot by AR-15

Some people take their morning coffee seriously. Very seriously.

Tony Lee Pennington is on trial for shooting his house guest, a friend of over 40 years, with an assault rifle for failing to make him a cup of coffee. The victim, Dewayne Turner, is kind enough to say he feels it was an accident, but the alleged assailant is trying to escape all responsibility by claiming the rifle dropped and shot Turner, ironically right after the assailant threatened to shoot him. What a crazy coincidence!

How'd That Rifle Fire?

Turner had been staying in the basement quarters in Pennington's home for a few weeks. Turner woke up and made himself a cup of coffee, and then went upstairs to the house's main level to greet his hosts. But the stories diverge there.

Turner alleges that Pennington seemed drowsy, perhaps from opioid pain medication he takes. Pennington asked for a cup of coffee, Turner replied no, jokingly adding in some expletives. Pennington threatened to shoot Turner if he didn't get him a cup of coffee. Turner thought he was joking, even when he picked up that AR-15 rifle in the corner. But no joke, Pennington aimed the gun at him, and Turner was shot in the back shoulder.

If you ask Pennington, he claims that the rifle had been falling over in the corner for days. He was trying to move it but ended up dropping it, and the darned thing went off. Pennington claims he always keeps the rifle with a loaded magazine and the bolt pulled back. Yikes! Unsurprisingly, gun experts have not been able to replicate the drop-and-fire situation.

Opioids and Guns, a Potentially Deadly Combination

While it's always a good idea to just get someone a cup of coffee if they have a loaded assault rifle nearby, people differ on whether a drug user should be allowed to have a gun in their possession. If we're talking about someone convicted of felony drug charges, they are usually barred from owning firearms for life. But what about medicinal opioids and being able to keep the gun you already own in your house? These are good issues to discuss as we head into another year of the U.S. Opioid Epidemic.

And in the meantime? Just get the coffee ... but maybe make it decaf.

Related Resources: