I wrote back in July about the 80 year old gentleman who was robbed and beaten by a man and a woman here. I stated that I would be curious to see how this case develops and whether he would be charged or not for using deadly force. I mentioned that while initially he had every right to defend himself from the pair of worms who accosted him, once they ran away, he no longer had the legal right to chase them down the alley and shoot the female, since the threat of imminent bodily harm had passed.
Remember, unless every single moment during your violent encounter meets the very strict criteria of a self defense plea, you may very well spend a good many years thinking about how you could have avoided, de-escalated or removed yourself from the situation while wearing your new striped suit and sitting in your new ‘cubicle’.
Revisiting the requirements of a legitimate self defense plea, you need to be able to prove;
Innocence-you can not have in any way started, sustained or escalated a conflict.
Imminence-you believed, based on the circumstances and behavior of your attacker(s) that you were in immediate fear of death or great/grave bodily harm.
Proportionality-any force you use must not be greater than necessary to stop the threat.
Avoidance-commonly referred to as taking every opportunity to retreat.
Reasonableness-any action you take must meet both subjective and objective reasoning by anyone else who would have been in your shoes.
“Greer, who was robbed on two other occasions, “held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury,” wrote Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Janet Moore, explaining the office’s decision not to charge him.
“Greer exercised his legal and legitimate right of self-defense when he shot and killed Andrea Miller,” Moore wrote. (you can read the rest of the article here.)
Once again, based on the original interview with the man after his violent encounter, he admitted that he shot the female robber as she ran away, then fell down and was pleading for her “baby’s” life. He was pretty adamant about the fact that as she was pleading, he ‘shot her anyway’. Again, based strictly on those narrow stipulations for self defense mentioned above, he could not possibly have been in immediate fear of his life while he held a gun in his hands and she was lying on the ground, obviously fearing for HER life.
During a recent defensive pistol training course I attended, a comment was made about how we do not have a ‘justice system’ we have a ‘legal system’. While justice may make the most sense in a case like this, (I certainly empathize with the frustration and anger expressed at having his home burglarized twice before by these same losers) the cold hard boundaries of the legal requirements are not to be ignored. Additionally, in many cases, it does not matter what really happened in a use of deadly force incident, it only matters what the prosecutor thinks the chances are that he/she can convince a jury of 12 average people to believe happened. This can and sometimes does work against a person who may have been legally justified in their use of force, but it appears in this case it worked in the gentleman’s favor.
I strongly urge anyone who carries a firearm to protect themselves or their loved ones from harm never to assume that you will get off so easy if you chase a robber down your driveway and shoot them twice in the back. Unless you happen to be 80 years old.