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.
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?
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