'Standing My Ground' Guy Faces Life Sentence
Raul Rodriguez, a Texas man who was convicted on Wednesday of murdering his neighbor two years ago, now faces life in prison.
Rodriguez seemingly had plans for his defense before he even fired the shot that killed his neighbor, announcing in a recording he made of the confrontation, "I'm standing my ground here," but that didn't work out in court the way he planned.
Logic would suggest that a man who feared for his life would leave the scene before making a 22-minute recording and plotting his self-defense story. According to reports on Friday, Rodriguez will likely have plenty of time behind bars to figure out why that didn't occur to him. From Slate:
Rodriguez, 47, went to his neighbor's house with a gun to complain about noise from a birthday party. He got into an argument with Kelly Danaher, an elementary school teacher, and two other men at the party. Rodriguez recorded a 22-minute video during the confrontation, during which he said "my life is in danger now," and "I’m standing my ground here," before fatally shooting Danaher. Two others were wounded.
Rodriguez's defense, according to the Houston Chronicle, argued that the retired Houston-area firefighter (who had a concealed handgun liscence) had a split second to decide whether to fire at the three men charging at him. But prosecutors told a different story, one that the jury apparently agreeed with. They argue that Rodriguez's taped confrontation was a bit too deliberate, and peppered with buzzwords from a concealed handgun licensing class, which he used to try and get away with murder after initiating a confrontation with Danaher.
As the AP reports, one neighbor even testified that Rodriguez had previously bragged to her about his guns, and told her that it's possible to avoid prosecution for a shooting if you say you feared for your life and were standing your ground.
Texas's version of the "Stand Your Ground" law is called the Castle Doctrine, which allows for the use of deadly force in one's home, workplace, or car for self-defense. The person using force can't provoke an attacker or be involved in criminal activity.
Read more at Slate.