Texas Man Convicted of Murder In ‘Stand Your Ground’ Case
A Texas jury found a retired firefighter was guilty of murder and that the state’s stand your ground law was inapplicable. Raul Rodriguez shot and killed an unarmed neighbor for allegedly playing loud music during a party:
Raul Rodriguez’s defense attorney argued that his client is protected by the so-called Castle Doctrine because the altercation that resulted in the shooting death of 36-year-old elementary school teacher Kelly Danaher took place in the street.
“He had a right to be (in) the street,” said Neal Davis. “He was not provoking anybody. He was not engaged in any criminal activity. The (stand-your-ground) law is not only for home invasions. That’s why the law was changed.”
Indeed, the Texas version of the controversial law allows for the use of deadly force in self-defense outside the home, but cannot be used as a shield if the person using force provoked the attack.
Prosecutors Kelli Johnson and Donna Logan maintained that Rodriguez was the aggressor when he armed himself with a gun and a camera and headed over to Danaher’s home to complain about the noise.
In the footage he recorded, Rodriguez is heard telling a police dispatcher his life was in danger, but Johnson said it was Rodriguez who “lured” Danaher and two others onto the street “and threatened them by brandishing his gun.”
Rodriguez videotaped the incident, and is overheard claiming that his life was in danger and that “these people are trying to kill me” followed by “I’m standing my ground here”. He then shot Danaher after someone appeared to grab the camera. Two other men were wounded.
This case has some similarities to the Tayvon Martin case, in that the Rodriguez appeared to be initiating the incident (by going and confronting his neighbors, brandishing the weapon, and videotaping the incident as compared to Zimmerman following Martin through the neighborhood) and that the none of the victims were doing nothing illegal at the time in either case.
However, there’s a significant difference in the way the respective laws are written. The Texas SYG law doesn’t apply if the person using force provoked the attack. The Florida law doesn’t have that critical distinction.
Yet, the case could bear on the outcome in the legal maneuverings in the Florida case.