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Excusable Homicide

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  • Excusable Homicide

    I hate prosecuting attorneys that think they need to find a crime in every act.

    As far as I know citizens are empowered to arrest felons. I applaud this man for having the courage to take on a felon in possession of a gun when he was armed with nothing but a Ford. I'm OK with him using his vehicle as a weapon and the fact that there were no skid marks. What was he supposed to do? Ask the guy real nicely to wait till the cops got there?

    Armed robbery carries up to 30 years in FL. The fact that he used a gun meant he was facing no less than 10 years with Florida's 10-20-Life law. This guy was facing some serious time even if he only stole $15 and he wasn't about to wait around peacefully.

    Originally posted by Article
    TAMPA, Fla. How far can a robbery victim legally go to stop the person who robbed him?

    A jury may have to answer that question during the manslaughter trial of a local restaurant owner who was allegedly robbed at gunpoint of $15 and then chased down and killed the suspect with his car.

    Lawrence Storer, 36, was sitting in his Ford Explorer while taking a break from remodeling the exterior of his restaurant, the Sumos Thai Cafe in downtown Tampa Bay, on Oct. 29, 2003, when a man pointed a gun at his face and demanded money.

    Shantavious Wilson, 24, allegedly forced Storer out of the car and into his restaurant, where he stole about $15. When Wilson was distracted, Storer ran to his car, locked the door and called 911.

    Wilson fled, but Storer put his car in drive and chased after him, going the wrong way down the street for two blocks.

    Prosecutors allege Storer intentionally steered into Wilson's path, hitting him and killing him instantly.

    Storer faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

    Much of the prosecution's case is expected to rest on the testimony of an accident reconstruction expert who has said the physical evidence shows Storer intentionally ran down Wilson.

    The expert says Storer was probably driving 30 to 35 mph when he hit Wilson, and no skid marks were found at the scene.

    Prosecutors did not return calls for comment.

    Storer's attorney, John Fitzgibbons, said his client is guilty of nothing more than exercising his rights as a resident of the state of Florida.

    "There is no secret that one of the arguments I will make as part of Mr. Storer's defense is excusable homicide, which is a widely recognized defense in Florida," Fitzgibbons said.

    In a motion filed last week Fitzgibbons argued that Storer's actions were justifiable because "a private citizen attempting to make a felony arrest may use such force as is necessary, including deadly force, to prevent a felon from escaping."

    Judge Barbara Fleischer has not ruled yet on whether this defense can be used.

    Fitzgibbons said Storer, who is married and has a 3-year-old daughter, will testify in his own defense, but declined to discuss who else he will call to testify.

    He does plan to play Storer's 911 call, and the jury is also expected to see a grainy video captured from a surveillance camera at the nearby federal courthouse.

    The jury will also hear about Wilson's prior conviction of robbery outside a coin laundry in 1998. A judge previously presiding over the case ruled that the jury could not hear about the conviction, but an appeals court overturned that ruling.
    Article

  • #2
    Re: Excusable Homicide

    It sounds like the law is on the business owner's side. I don't think that he acted unreasonably. He attemted to stop a fleeing felon that was armed with a gun. He used deadly force in the process. Does it really matter that it was a Ford instead of a Smith & Wesson?
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    • #3
      Re: Excusable Homicide

      I'm not so sure. Running over someone with a vehicle for $15 seems a bit over the top. I'm not saying he should get 15 years either, just seems kinda gray.

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      • #4
        Re: Excusable Homicide

        I hope he doesn' serve any time, I think his action was justified enough. Yes its sad to see someone who stole 15$ die, but in another sence, what if that guy was headed to another robbery, but this time he stole 500$ and shot the person?

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        • #5
          Re: Excusable Homicide

          I'm not taking the thief's side either, he is obviously in the wrong whether he took $15 or $500, especially at gunpoint. But the question of whether or not the driver should have used some restraint (assuming for a minute he intentionally hit him with his car) doesn't have a clear answer to me. I guess if he hit him with the intention of knocking him to the ground to arrest him or get police help than it's a no brainer, get him out of court.

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          • #6
            Re: Excusable Homicide

            Originally posted by Faultline
            I'm not taking the thief's side either, he is obviously in the wrong whether he took $15 or $500, especially at gunpoint. But the question of whether or not the driver should have used some restraint (assuming for a minute he intentionally hit him with his car) doesn't have a clear answer to me. I guess if he hit him with the intention of knocking him to the ground to arrest him or get police help than it's a no brainer, get him out of court.
            yep... what he said... I did reply something exactly like this but had to edit coz it was too similar.

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            • #7
              Re: Excusable Homicide

              I certainly don't side with the dead crook, but considering that the dude was running away and not posing a threat anymore, I think it's definitely out of line to run him down. Let's look at it this way: would a police officer have been allowed to do the exact same thing had they shown up when the guy started running away? I'm pretty sure the answer to that is no, unless the thief turned toward the officer or started shooting. Of course, our law enforcement types here can feel free to correct me.

              There's a fairly clear line between citizens upholding the law and citizens deciding to take matters into their own hands via vigilante justice. I say for $15 and a guy running away no longer posing an immediate threat, let the police do their job; this ain't the wild west anymore.
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              • #8
                Re: Excusable Homicide

                Originally posted by SmokingTarpan
                I certainly don't side with the dead crook, but considering that the dude was running away and not posing a threat anymore, I think it's definitely out of line to run him down.
                (Bold emphasis by me) This is exactly what the prosecution is going to present in court and it won't look good for the defendant. I know FL is a little more lenient with their laws when it comes to self defense (like TX), but in most states this guy would be in deep crap (especially in MA).

                Hope it works out for him because I feel the dirtbag got what he deserved.

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                • #9
                  Re: Excusable Homicide

                  The prosecutor is doing the right thing by bringing the charges to trial. Let the jury decide. If I were on the jury the fact that he chased the guy the wrong way down the street at 30-35 mph for two blocks (maybe risking the lives of dozens of others) would make me pretty unsympathetic.

                  The restaurant owner sounds like a psycho vigilante.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Excusable Homicide

                    The restaurant owner behaved like many people who'd recently had a gun in their face: unpredictably because of the gallon of adrenalyn pumping through the veins. I agree that his actions appear to have been criminal, but there's a lot of mitigating circumstances for the judge and jury to consider.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Excusable Homicide

                      Wilson fled, but Storer put his car in drive and chased after him, going the wrong way down the street for two blocks.

                      Prosecutors allege Storer intentionally steered into Wilson's path, hitting him and killing him instantly.

                      The expert says Storer was probably driving 30 to 35 mph when he hit Wilson, and no skid marks were found at the scene.
                      Sounds like vigilantism to me. Or revenge, if you prefer. If you hit someone with your car while they're running away from you, that's not an attempt to detain, that's a killing move.

                      Incidentally, the robber's weapon was found to be a pellet gun.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Excusable Homicide

                        Originally posted by SmokingTarpan
                        Let's look at it this way: would a police officer have been allowed to do the exact same thing had they shown up when the guy started running away? I'm pretty sure the answer to that is no, unless the thief turned toward the officer or started shooting. Of course, our law enforcement types here can feel free to correct me.
                        Yes, a police officer can use deadly force to stop somebody that is OBVIOUSLY (running away with a gun in his hand?) presenting a deadly threat to the community. But you're right, even though they have the statutory authority doesn't mean that they would actually use it. And I'm fine with that, but let's not bring charges against a guy that has stayed within the confines of the law, even if it exceeds the response that a well trained and equipped police officer would use.
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