A Texas man says he was justified in killing an elementary school teacher over a noise complaint because he was “standing my ground.”

Retired firefighter Raul Rodriguez is hoping that a video that he taped himself will prove that he was acting in self-defense when he gunned down P.E. teacher Kelly Danaher outside the victim’s home near Houston in May 2010.

On the video that was presented as evidence in court on Wednesday, loud music can be heard as Rodriguez tells Danaher to “turn it down.”

“You need to stop right there,” Rodriguez says. “Don’t come any closer please. I’m telling you, I’m telling you, stop, I said stop right now or I will shoot you! … I fear for my life. I told you to stop, my life’s in danger, you got weapons on you, stay away from me.”

While standing in Danaher’s driveway with a flashlight and a gun, Rodriguez is also on the phone with a 911 dispatcher using the buzzwords he learned in concealed weapons class, according to the prosecutor.

via Stand Your Ground? Texas man kills teacher over noise complaint | The Raw Story.

http://swfs.bimvid.com/bimvid_player-3_2_7.swf?x-bim-callletters=KHOU

Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to kill a person and use “stand your ground” laws to get away with murder. Raul Rodriguez, a retired firefighter walked over to his neighbor’s house to ask him to turn down the music. Not only was he on the phone with 911, he was also filming the incident. He had already called police about the music, but the matter wasn’t resolved to his satisfaction. Using buzzwords that he learned in concealed-weapons class, he made sure to state that he felt afraid for his life. He managed to shoot three men, killing Kelly Danaher, a schoolteacher and father who was hosting a joint birthday party for his 3-year-old daughter and his wife. The other two, one of whom was the fire captain, survived their injuries.

I am very curious about how this trial will end. The video seems very persuasive evidence, if the letter of the law is applied. This man had no duty to retreat. He stated his intentions clearly. The men continued to approach and taunt him. He was threatened by one of them. He has video evidence and the recording of his 911 call. 

Compared to the Trayvon Martin case and George Zimmerman’s shaky defense, this case seems cut and dried. This murderer should walk. But will he? Other neighbors describe Rodriguez as a mercurial man who shouts expletives and racial slurs from his car.  Attorney Gerald Treece doesn’t think the Stand Your Ground should apply in this case. “Nobody’s hold your own ground, or stand your own ground laws are ever on the side of the person who started the fight,” he said. 

Rodriguez has a few other things that go against him in this case, for which he is currently on trial. He shot a white man who was an upstanding member of the community. He also shot a firefighter, a hero figure that most people look up to. If his victims had been some “thugs” blaring rap music and taunting him in a similar manner to the drunken partiers in this video, he would most likely not have been arrested, let alone charged. According to this video, none of the men were wearing hoodies or carrying anything that could by any stretch of the imagination could be mistaken for skittles or tea. 

Being a bit jaded and not very confident in the blindness of justice, this man will probably be convicted. Now, I think he deserves time behind bars, but as the law is written it seems his case is airtight. What do you guys think?

More on Stand Your Ground and Trayvon Martin @ The Brabble Rabble:

Unintentional Irony of Zimmerman’s Lawyers’ Statements

How Does a “Christian Nation” Reconcile Itself With Stand Your Ground

Tears For the Innocent

Trayvon Martin, Gunned Down in Cold Blood and His Killer Walks Free

20 thoughts on “Stand Your Ground? Texas man kills teacher over noise complaint | The Raw Story

  1. The problem? He was not on his own property. Texas has what is called the Castle Doctrine, which is slightly different and gives greater protection to the property owner. The victims were unarmed. Based on the tape, they were holding their hands in the air and did not attack.

    Yes, they were drunk. Yes, one of them said if he went into the house he would come out with his own gun making them even.

    Nevertheless, Rodriguez went to the home armed. He pulled a weapon on unarmed men. He wasn’t threatened. He shot three people killing one of them. He did so on / in front of that mans property.

    He followed what he had learned in the hopes he could get away with his bad acts.

    He is guilty of depraved indifference and murder. No less so than George Zimmerman. In this case his crime is not an issue of Racial Profiling nor is his arrest nor will his conviction be.

    That he is of Mexican heritage and his victims were of European heritage is entirely irrelevant. Sometimes murder is simply murder. Sorry, this is not anything like the Trayvon Martin case and doesn’t deserve the same attention.

  2. I compare the two because this is the defense Mr. Rodriguez is using. In 2007, Texas removed from their Castle Doctrine laws the duty to retreat. Texas state representative Garnet Coleman has called for the repeal of his state’s version of Stand Your Ground based on the Trayvon Martin Case, saying “The Texas Castle Doctrine too freely gives license to use deadly force based on subjective assumptions and needs to be corrected. In 2007, when the Legislature eliminated the duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, the likelihood of killing someone simply because they were presumed to be dangerous was increased. Now Texans can justify the use of deadly force based on perceived danger almost anywhere and not just at home— in their cars on public roads, the workplace, and essentially anywhere they are not trespassing and lawfully allowed to be on that property.” http://blog.garnetcoleman.com/2012/03/repealing-texas-version-of-stand-your.html

    The reason I believe it deserves attention is because of the uncertainty that such laws introduce into the justice system. If a person believes that he has the right and justification to use deadly force in a simple disagreement, there will be and has been many more murders that use this law as a shield. The laws are so unclear and difficult to interpret that it took 44 days to arrest Zimmerman and he may yet walk free. This man Rodriguez used his knowledge of the law to try to get away with murder; whether he succeeds or not remains to be seen. I think all cases that use Stand Your Ground laws as a defense should be closely monitored and highlighted to bring to light the problems inherent in laws that remove the duty to retreat.

    I only bring up the race of the victims to show that the outrage generated by Rodriguez’s crime is for the victims, rather than on behalf of the murderer. There have been no donations for his defense as in the case of George Zimmerman, whose victim is black. I made no reference to Rodriguez’s race, I don’t know if he was of Mexican heritage.

    1. I know we removed the duty to retreat and that we have a sensible representative who has spoken up about this. Representative Coleman has been blasted more than once in the media, because he believes these laws are dangerous. There are many of us who agree. There have been other murderers who have gotten away with murder under these laws. My very Red State has had the Castle Doctrine for as long as I can remember, the validation through legislation of Stand Your Ground is just that, validation it has always been a fairly accepted standard.

      I don’t disagree with you, all such cases should be monitored. That this man actually had the fore-thought to record the entire incident, to me at least, means he planned to do harm; planned the outcome. Personally, I wish all such crimes received more national attention, maybe then we would finally have real outrage. I am afraid though it will take more than this, more than such incidents to finally wake up this nation to the very real danger we are in.

      There are other references to this story, before I responded earlier, I went and looked for them. That is why I knew the ethnicity of Rodriguez, though his name would have provided at least part. The Trayvon Martin case brought out both the best and the worst in people, I will never understand why anyone would side or support the killer of a child, it is beyond my comprehension.

      1. I must have been unclear in my execution of this story. I’m sorry. I am not justifying this man’s actions. I have written a lot about Stand Your Ground laws and their potential for being misinterpreted by men like this. He took what he learned in a concealed-carry weapons class and applied it to his cold-blooded murder of a man. He used all of the words and warnings that he was taught to use. He filmed the event to prove that he warned the men. By letter of the law, he may go free because of this. I hope not. As I said, his victims are more sympathetic than Zimmerman’s victim. These men cannot possibly be vilified in the manner than Martin was. That was my point. My purpose in writing this was to highlight that those who were not outraged by the Martin case could possibly be more outraged by a case like this, where the victims were irreproachable.

        I want people to be pissed about these laws that make it harder to prosecute murderers. I want people to realize the potential for abuse and that the next victim could be just like you or me, not just a hoodie-wearing young black child. I was shocked by the widespread disregard for this young man’s life and that people were stepping up to help fund Zimmerman’s defense. The NRA and ALEC have worked tirelessly to get such laws on the books across the country, and it is costing lives.

  3. Yes. Rodriguez HAD called police, and they came out and determined the music was not loud enough to constitute a “disturbance”. Rodriguez chose to take the law into his own hands. As a gun owner myself, let the jurors send a clear message that a concealed handgun license does not come with the right to wave a gun around in a non life threatening situation. THAT is what escalated the confrontation. Someone threatened to go in the house and come out “equal to” Rodriguez. They would have been covered by the “stand your ground” law. What would you do with a house full of innocent people and an angry man in your front yard waving a gun and saying, “I’m going to have to defend myself! I’m standing my ground! They are gonna kill
    me!” Rodriguez is not covered by the law. He did not innocently find himself in danger (from noise?) A concealed handgun license is just that, the legal right to carry a “concealed” handgun.

    1. Falcon, I hope he is convicted. I hope that the tactics that he learned do not shield him from justice. The fact remains that he believed that he would be covered by the steps he took to protect himself from prosecution. The problem with these types of laws is that people think they have a license to kill. I have written about this subject quite a bit and it makes me sick that people are dying because of it. I am NOT justifying this man’s actions. I am protesting ambiguous laws meant to protect the shooter from prosecution, as ALEC and the National Rifle Association has pushed for and succeeded in doing by financing the campaign to remove the duty to retreat from law books.

  4. andrew johnsonI don't think people should write shit like this when the monster all the way though is Raul. He is a man that belongs behind bars the rest of his natural life. Our neighbor is always on edge when he is near. A person like that should have b says:

    I don’t think people should write shit like this when the monster all the way though is Raul. He is a man that belongs behind bars the rest of his natural life. Our neighbor is always on edge when he is near. A person like that should have been in jail for taking pictures of my then ten year old daughter and threaten to shoot at anything that walks. He is a man that wanted any excuse to pull the trigger. I hope the danahers get justice.

    1. I do too. He is a monster who thinks himself protected by Stand Your Ground laws, which is what I am talking about. I don’t condone his actions and I hope he goes to prison for what looks like premeditated murder. He was trained in how to protect himself with a camera and his words. He actually uttered “I’m standing my ground.” He wanted the event to escalate and he succeeded in killing a man. I’m sorry that the “shit” I wrote offended you. I hope this family gets justice and I hope these laws that justify murder are overturned.

  5. Thanks for your comments, everyone. I assumed that those reading this would understand that I don’t want this man to walk free. I have written extensively on the flaws of Stand Your Ground laws, because pieces of shit like Rodriguez could use them to get away with murder. I am a gun owner, but I don’t use them to settle arguments. I don’t agree with anyone using deadly force rather than settling things “man to man” like reasonable people should. I was highlighting in this post the differences and similarities between the Florida case with the Texas case. I am against gun violence, I am against vigilante-style justice, I am against unstable people having the right to carry weapons, I am against any motherfucker who would shoot an unarmed person. It’s cowardly and disgusting. I don’t want another human being killed because of a law so poorly written that it makes people think they have the right to take another’s life for fear they might get their ass rightfully kicked. There should be a duty to retreat from altercations that can lead to violence.

  6. Amaya – I think we both misunderstood each other. I was trying to reinforce your writing, not dispute you. Peace my friend, you and I both hope for the same thing; that he is buried beneath Huntsville for a very long prison term.

  7. I think it’s clear that no “stand your ground” clause applies because he wasn’t protecting his own home, he was at the end of his neighbor’s driveway, hundreds of feet from his residence, and he is the one that presented a clear and present danger where none existed. Once you’ve antagonized a situation by being the aggressor, you can no longer claim you are protecting yourself. Once you pull a weapon, the person on the other end of the muzzle has every right to disarm you, kill you, beat you, whatever. Honestly, had Kelly Danaher not been the kind of guy he was; if he’d ripped the gun out of Raul’s hands as soon as it was pointed at him and shot Raul point blank in the face, I think we could all sleep easier. Unless we’ve had a gun pointed at us, I’m not sure any of us know what we would do in that exact situation. I think charging him, if they did do that, was 100% within their right. It doesn’t matter what Raul “said”. They were within their legal right to disarm him.

    If you park in the street every day in front of my house and I don’t like it, I can’t tell you, if you park there again, I’m going to key your car. And then when you park there, do it and claim, “but, I told them I was going to key their car!” He had no “legal right” to shoot because he is the one who pulled the gun on a non-life threatening situation wherein the owner of the house was approaching him just to talk and figure out who he was. THEY became the ones acting in self defense. Not him.

    1. Wow! Perfectly said.
      “stand your ground” laws are NOT what people think they are. All they do is in the event of a true act of self defense which happens somewhere besides a person’s own property or home, a judge can review the actions and choose not to prosecute. The person who acted in true self defense OFF of their own property, can avoid costly
      trial lawyers,bail, etc. And the state can avoid the cost of prosecuting someone who has no chance of being found guilty. Controlling disturbed individuals like Rodriguez will find no solace in this law. Having been a crime victim myself, it gives me comfort to know this law exists. However, if a case goes to trial, it’s obvious “stand your ground” is not even a
      consideration. I am a gun owner. It pains me to say people like this man bring out the democrat in me. Gun control is NOT the answer. Harsh punishment for idiots like Rodriguez is, as well as hammering home the RESPONSIBILITIES and not the presumed “rights” of gun owners is the only answers that will work. Ethical gun owners would never stand behind a criminal like this. Rodriguez only “thought” he knew the law. I wish Kelly or anyone at the party HAD known, and had been able to take this angry menacing criminal out.

  8. I remember when this case first occurred, but I haven’t followed it closely. As always, there’s more than 1 side to the story. First, generating loud noise outside of your residence constitutes a nuisance and can lead to hostilities, as it certainly did in this case. But, if an individual confronts a group of people causing the disturbance and tells them to settle down, there’s a good likelihood the latter group won’t, especially if they’ve been drinking alcohol. If anything, they’ll laugh and swear at the other person and possibly even threaten them with physical harm. Believe me! I’ve been in that situation. Just because 1 of the noisemakers in the Houston area case was a teacher doesn’t mean he’s always an upstanding citizen. The same applies to the retired firefighter. Get alcohol into some folks and they can become a completely different person. If they’re in a group of people who are also causing a ruckus, the situation can be even more dangerous.

    Second, people have a right to maintain peace in their neighborhoods. Areas where people are allowed to run rampant – kids or adults – without repercussions eventually descend into squalor. Other law-abiding citizens start to move out, and other troublemakers move in. Rodriguez didn’t know what his neighbors were capable of doing to him. Someone in that group could have had a firearm in their possession and easily whipped it out to shoot Rodriguez. After all, it was at night. Regardless, the Rodriguez defense would have to convince a jury that he felt endangered.

    I also remember the Joe Horn case from 2007. He, too, shot and killed 2 men. But, Horn had heard glass breaking in his neighbors’ house, then called 911 and told the operator he was armed and would confront the burglars. The 2 thieves were illegal Columbian immigrants; 1 of whom had been deported previously. Horn went outside and confronted the men as they exited the house, loaded up with goods. He shot them both in the back and killed them. A grand jury refused to indict Horn, citing the “Castle Doctrine.” Afterwards, Horn finally spoke publicly and expressed remorse for taking the lives of 2 unarmed men. That wasn’t enough to satisfy the Houston-area Black community who stormed into Horn’s neighborhood in protest. The dead men were Black.

    There are no easy solutions when a person kills someone they feel is about to harm them. Each case is different. In the Horn situation, alcohol didn’t seem to be involved, unlike the Rodriguez fiasco. But, it’ll still be interesting to see what happens.

    1. You’re correct that there are two sides to every story. I am interested in the outcome of this case as well. I’ve been around quite a few drunk people, and they are certainly unpredictable. I think sympathy lies with the victims here, though, because of their status in the community. Perception is everything in a case like this, where the victims are just as much on trial as the suspect.

  9. Rodriguez committed murder… pre-meditated… pure and simple. I saw the video and it curled the hairs on my spine. Very obvious what he was up to. My heart aches for the Danaher family. This is a true tragedy.

  10. My blogmate and I have extensively debated the George Zimmerman case at Left, Right, and Centered (leftrightandcentered.com). I’m not sure these “stand your ground” laws should even exist. One would hope that common sense and prosecutorial ethics would suffice. If a man wakes up to masked intruders in his home, no sensible district attorney would ever bring charges if that man shot the intruders. In virtually every other circumstance, there is a gray zone that is best left to the discretion of the prosecutor, the grand jury, and a court of law.

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