Update on Deadly Force and the Law in South Carolina
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Update on Deadly Force and the Law in South Carolina

This is a discussion on Update on Deadly Force and the Law in South Carolina within the Deadly Force and The Law forums, part of the Main Category category; In the 7/30 issue of Charleston's Post & Courier, there were, by happenstance, updates on two firearm/defense cases that both ...

  1. #1
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    Default Update on Deadly Force and the Law in South Carolina

    In the 7/30 issue of Charleston's Post & Courier, there were, by happenstance, updates on two firearm/defense cases that both occurred in Bluffton, SC.
    In Case 1, a judge denied a motion to drop a manslaughter charge against a Bluffton man who shot his unarmed neighbor on his front stoop. The argument that he was protecting his home, ala Castle Doctrine, was dismissed by the judge who indicated that "there is no evidence of an attempt to commit a forcible entry in the house" and does not extend to the front stoop; if he had kicked in the door instead of just coming up to the house to ask for a garage door opener, the solicitor said he would not have brought charges. Even though the dead man had a 029 blood alcohol level, and, according to the shooter's attorney, had previously pointed a gun at the shooter and threatened him via voicemail, he did nothing that day to warrant a self-defense killing. There is enough there to think about and perhaps more will come out when this goes to trial.
    Case 2 revisits a Xmas eve shooting where a tow truck operator is charged with manslaughter for killing a Bluffton man. The tow operator had booted his car and in the ensuing argument, the Bluffton man "brandished" a firearm as he lifted his coat to reveal a firearm in his waistband. The tow operator, went back to his truck and retrieved his firearm and ended up shooting the Bluffton man four times in the back, once in the arm and a final shot to the head. The tow operator has been held in jail since Xmas and had tried to escape but the judge ruled that the tow operator could still have bail because he has not been charged with a capital offense. He ended up shooting the man in the head as a final goodbye, tried to escape from jail and will now get bond----the only reason the solicitor did not bring a capital murder charge is because the circumstances of the "brandishing" and dubious witness statements would probably make it difficult to prove murder--there is certainly room for arguing self defense, at least before the shot to the head. Apparently the judge is just following the demands of the law in allowing bond---I don't get it.

  2. #2
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    Lots of really strange things happen in the Court system, in regards to the use of a firearm. I am betting if this guy go's to trial and he surly will.
    The jury will find him guilty of manslaughter.

    That last shot to the guys head will set his fate.

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    Here in Michigan we had a securitd guard come home after his shift to find a man trying to climb inter hip house via a back window. This would be the third time his home had been broken into. The two previous times, the Detroit police told him they would likely not even try to investigate as it was not very likely they would be able to ID a suspect.
    He chased the would be home invader inter the street where the suspect stopped, put hip hands up and turned and asked, "What are you gonna do? Shoot me?"
    The home owner simply said,
    "Yes."
    Shot him in the chest.
    This happened early last year. He was convicted this year of manslaughter.
    I understand hip frustration however, there was no longer a threat.

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    Hey Y'All: Once someone has forcibly entered your home there is, as far as I understand in SC, a clear presumption of imminent threat of death or great bodily injury. Shoot him in the back, in the side, in the front--makes no difference---you are in great fear of your life from an already-defined felon and, at least in SC, you can literally do whatever you want to the perp to protect yourself, your family, and your "Castle". Outside your home, as someone retreats if may be different. I say "may" because in SC, "AT NIGHT", you can effect a "citizens' arrest" by telling him to stop and put his hands up and wait for police. If he still decides to evade your arrest, the law is clear in SC--you can use any means necessary to prevent his escape and that includes his death. Shooting a fleeing perp (the law is clear-only at night), who has been told he is under arrest and doing so in the back (where else can you shoot if he is fleeing?) is legal under this code of law. Obviously shooting him in chest is another story and, as said, it is plain manslaughter, unless he did actually have a firearm on his person, which could be a contributing factor to your actions (imminent threat etal as he reached for it). That has a similarity to the second case I mentioned where the "brandisher" has already put himself in jeopardy and, quite frankly, the first 5 shots can be argued for self-defense whether they are in his front, arm or back. Obviously the 6th shot will send him away for a long time.

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    Kelcarry,
    GREAT subject. As you well know, if you ask 10 different persons who enforce and/or interpret the law,you are likely to get 8 different understandings of the "Protection of Persons and Property Act" in S.C., commonly called "The Castle Amendment". The basic concept I teach is if you take a human life over a property crime, you WILL LOSE in a jury trial!
    I do not agree that you can do what ever you want to the perp....you may ONLY shoot in self defense to "stop the threat"...emptying a few magazines will probably result in your conviction.

    Actually, there are many options a homeowner and/or CWP holder can consider,short of putting himself and heirs in legal jeapordy.

    I also recommend against using the "citizens arrest" laws. It did not work for Goober Pyle on "Mayberry" and will probably not work for you.
    Most homeowners/citizens are NOT trained in face-to-face combat with a THUG. BTW, I am in total agreement in regards to your thoughts on brandishing.
    Be Safe,
    Jim
    Owner, Self Defense CWP

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    Hey Self Defense: Really appreciated your response. My impression in Castle Doctrine and protection of property is that when someone forcibly enters your house, you cannot know and definitely HAVE THE PRESUMPTION that something bad is going to happen to you; anything you do, IMO, is justified and, IMO, has been upheld in most of the recent cases that have happened in SC. Personally I agree with you. I go on the assumption that the perp is better at this than me and that my "stuff" is insured and not worth my life. I lock my bedroom door at night, have my car alarm button available, have my cellphone for 911 available, and have no intention of leaving my bedroom to confront (just my wife and I--different story if you have kids in other area of home). If that perp has intentions of entering my bedroom, he is doing so with a little effort and I can assure you he will not leave the way he came in. As to any psychological problem, I am convinced my only concerns will be fixing the door frame and replacing carpeting. As far as citizens' arrest, I agree with you. Once again the perp may be better at this than me and I do not intend to lose my life over whatever. The law, however, which is an old law, is very clear on citizens' arrest at night and the right to stop arrest evasion by any means. Thanks for an interesting reply--good read. Received my CCWP form Belt Training (Tom & Lisa Marie Judy)---sounds like you are as competent as they were.

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    Kel....Glad you enjoyed it. It sounds like you have a PLAN! I encourage all families to have a PLAN...and ENFORCE it, whatever it is. I told my wife to STAY in the bedroom on one occassion when someone was attempting to break in my home. I was sitting on the couch facing the door (at the very old age of 18), waiting for him to make his entry before I introduced him to his maker,(a requirement at that time and state I was living in)......when my wife approached me from the back, touched me and said something....BLEW the whole deal. Scared the poop out of me, I dropped my 1911A1, scared the intruder away.LOLOL
    I appreciate the nice words.

    PLEASE everyone have a PLAN for anyone IN the house, ask everyone to follow instructions and test it.
    Be Safe,
    Jim
    Owner, Self Defense CWP

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    The mere fact that he went to his truck to retrieve his firearm, shot him 4 times in the bak and once in the head, proves to me that his intention was to execute that man.There was never any mention on the dead guy using any type of force at all. The tow truck operator should have extricated himself from the situation and called the law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Self Defense CWP View Post
    Kelcarry,
    BTW, I am in total agreement in regards to your thoughts on brandishing.
    bran·dish (brndsh)
    1. To wave or flourish (a weapon, for example) menacingly.
    2. To display ostentatiously. A menacing or defiant wave or flourish.

    The common definition of brandishing is as above. Nowhere in that story did the dead guys action get to the point of brandishing. The tow truck operator made himself Judge, Jury, and executioner. He had the right to use whatever force necessary to defend himself from force. There was no force. If I shot someone every time they showed a weapon, there would be a lot of bodies stacked on my pile.

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    Hey buford: I believe everyone agrees that the tow guy had every intention of killing him. Bottom line though, IMO, is that the brandishing occurred first and you can argue that self defense was now the motive, even after 5 shots; the tow guy has every right to defend himself--where exactly was the brandished gun during this time?--many different and changed stories on that point. The brandished gun was found a distance from the dead man and his brother has changed stories several times. It is only the last shot to the head that cannot be "explained". The fact that the solicitor is going with manslaughter indicates that a murder charge might not hold up in a jury trial. Do not get me wrong, this guy was essentially executed but that brandishing moderates the use of that word, particularly if a trial.They do not even use the word "hate crime" for a reason that escapes me--that last shot to the head was followed up with a "feliz navidad" to the brother and the wife.

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