Thursday, March 02, 2006

PA: No charges in fatal tavern shooting: "A security guard who fatally shot two people while being attacked by a mob inside a Lawrenceville tavern last year cannot be charged with the deaths, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said today. The guard, identified Tuesday as Gregory Stewart, 30, opened fire in self-defense early May 7 inside J&K's Place after being assaulted with objects thrown by an unruly crowd, including a bottle thrown by Aaron Alston, 23 of Garfield, Zappala said during a news conference announcing his decision. The first bullet struck and killed Alston. A second bullet hit bartender Janice Kemp, 63, who ran the bar. Although Kemp, who died several days later, was an innocent bystander, Stewart cannot be charged with her death due to a 1998 state Supreme Court ruling in a similar case in Easton, Zappala said. Once someone begins shooting in self-defense, the court ruled, the shooter is not criminally liable for injuries to others nearby."

WY: Retreat bill amended: "The necessity of a bill that would specify that people have no duty to retreat from an attacker before using deadly force was questioned in a House Judiciary Committee meeting Monday. Despite negative testimony from the public, the committee decided to further consider the bill later in the day. Tom Jubin of the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association testified that years of case law had clarified the issue in Wyoming. He said Wyoming citizens already had the right to defend their homes without a duty to retreat. ... The bill was amended so a person would have the duty to retreat in a public area. Byron Oedekoven, executive director of the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, suggested the amendment because law enforcement was worried that shootouts might start occurring in the middle of the street if the bill became law. ... The committee also heard testimony on two bills related to concealed weapons during its morning meeting. The first would allow anyone in the state of Wyoming -- as long as they are over 21, are not alcoholics, on drugs or not a felon -- to carry a concealed firearm without a permit."

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