Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jury Returns Not Guilty Verdict in Las Vegas, N.M., Road-Rage Case: "Richard Baca, who was home on leave from a military tour in Iraq when he shot and killed a former Robertson High School football star during a road-rage incident in Las Vegas, N.M., was found not guilty in the case Friday. A state District Court jury in Santa Rosa deliberated about 2½ hours before acquitting Baca, who was 21 when he shot Benito Lemos, 22, in November 2009. Baca was facing a voluntary manslaughter charge. Baca’s lawyer, Jeff Buckels, said the jury sent a message to the people of Las Vegas that getting out of a car to beat another driver — Baca was punched by Lemos before the shooting — is “dangerous, explosive behavior” that shouldn’t be tolerated. Both sides agreed that Lemos, a mail carrier, got out of the car he was riding in with his fiancee and small children, approached Baca’s car and was punching Baca before the shooting took place."

SC: Jewelry store owner shoots armed robber: "Investigators say that around 1:00 Monday afternoon a male suspect wearing women’s clothing entered the jewelry store and tried to rob it. The clerk shot the suspect; the suspect returned fire and then took off on foot. The store owner’s son says he’s glad his father had a gun because it saved his life.... Outside, the suspect left a trail of blood. At some point police say he got in a car and began to change his clothes. The bloodhounds and a SLED helicopter were called out to follow the robber’s trail. After searching for several hours, investigators located Fortenberry at an Augusta hospital seeking treatment for his gunshot wounds."

FL: Disabled vet set free: "It was historic when Michael Monahan walked out of the Palm Beach County Jail last week a free man. One day, he faced up to life in prison for fatally shooting two men who boarded his boat in Riviera Beach. The next day, a judge dismissed the first-degree murder charges against him. Monahan's case marks the first time a Palm Beach County judge has dismissed a murder charge under a controversial state law that gives extra protection to people who use force in self-defense. On Sept. 6, Palm Beach County Judge Richard Oftedal ruled that Monahan, 65, was justified in shooting Raymond Mohlman and Matthew Vittum under the "Stand Your Ground" law, which gives people the right to shoot if they feel their lives are in danger. Mohlman and Vittum, who were intoxicated, cornered the disabled veteran in the cabin of his 35-foot sailboat during an argument near Phil Foster Park, according to court records. "[Monahan] was within his rights to resist their criminal conduct with deadly force," Oftedal wrote in his ruling."

La.: Shooting at casino parking garage ruled justified: "The man who shot and wounded two people at a Shreveport casino parking garage acted in self-defense after one of them hit him after a road-rage incident that started when one driver cut another off, the district attorney's office said. Things escalated after the woman pulled into a parking spot on the third level, hoping the other driver would go on. The Caldwells stopped and got out -- with one wearing gloves and pounding his fists, prosecutors said.
Joe Mims, a veteran, said he had a gun and told them to leave him alone, Scott said. He was then punched in the mouth, Scott said.
Mims then got his gun and shot the two in the chest, seriously wounding them. The woman in the car with the Caldwells was not hurt. The brothers have been released from the hospital, prosecutors said. The district attorney's office has not decided whether to charge one of them with hitting Mims."

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