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Florida’s stand your ground statute has been a controversial law ever since it was enacted. The law is once more front and center in a criminal case involving the intentional shooting at an apartment complex in Four Corners, an unincorporated section of south Orlando.

The incident

The incident began when the decedent left the hotel where he was apparently staying with a group of friends. The man left the hotel dressed only in shorts and shocks. His friends told police that he appeared to be under the influence of drugs. The man somehow found his way to a nearby apartment complex and accosted a man walking a dog. The dog-walker told police that the man in shorts grabbed his shoulder but that he was able to shove the man away.

The commotion reached the ears of a man who lived in a second floor apartment. The man retrieved a gun from his car and confronted the creator of the disturbance. Witnesses told police that the man dressed in shorts was making gun-like noises and pointing this forefinger in the manner of a gun. The man who resided in the apartment building confronted the man simulating gunfire. Witnesses said that the man in shorts was acting bizarrely but that his behavior clearly indicated that he did not have a gun in his possession.

The apartment resident shot the man in shorts several times. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Standing his ground

The shooter was arrested by police but claimed that he was standing his ground and was legally justified to shoot the man making the disturbance. Police disagreed. The Polk County Sheriff said that the shooter did not retreat into his apartment and that the shooting represented the use of excessive force. The shooter was arrested and charged with manslaughter and illegally carrying a concealed weapon.

Now what?

The suspect will be arraigned and will be required to enter a plea. Anyone arrested under similar circumstances may wish to consult an experienced criminal defenses attorney. A capable defense lawyer can evaluate the facts, suggest possible defense strategies, and, if appropriate, attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor.