Blind Florida man gets his guns back after being cleared of fatal shooting in stand-your-ground defence
John Wayne Rogers said he shot his friend in the chest in self-defence
A blind man in Florida who shot and killed his friend has had two guns returned to him after being acquitted last month of murder under the state’s stand-your-ground law.
John Wayne Rogers, 40, shot 34-year-old James T. DeWitt in the chest with an assault rifle in March 2012, after a long drinking session in Rogers’ home in Geneva, in eastern Seminole County.
Prosecutors had charged Rogers with first-degree murder over the killing of DeWitt, who was staying the night, but a judge ruled that he had acted in self-defence.
Rogers, who was left legally blind after an industrial accident in 2011, told jurors that DeWitt had begun punching him and then came charging at him, threatening to kill him.
Rogers shot him once with a .308-caliber assault rifle.
In a hearing at the Seminole County Courthouse last week, the judge ordered that two guns be returned to Rogers, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Judge John Galluzzo said that he was legally required to return the rifle, as well as a 10-millimetre Glock pistol.
Rogers had argued that it was his constitutional right to bear arms and said that he needed the weapons for protection.
But the judge ordered the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office to destroy the ammunition that had been seized alongside the guns because it was old and unsafe.
After the 10-minute hearing, Rogers told the Orlando Sentinel: "I'm happy that justice was done."
The case has once again thrown Florida’s self-defence law into the spotlight.
The stand-your-ground law allows a person who "reasonably believes" they are in imminent fear of serious bodily injury to use deadly force to defend themselves, even if, despite their belief, no real threat exists.
The law was adopted in Florida in 2005 and has been copied in more than 20 states since then.
Civil rights groups and a handful of state legislators are urging a legal review of Florida's self-defence statute, saying it has created a license to kill for gun owners who hate or fear young black men.
Last year, George Zimmerman, a former central Florida neighbourhood watchman, was acquitted of murder after saying he shot a 17-year-old unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, in self-defence.
Gun rights activists, backed by a Republican-controlled legislature, have resisted all efforts to undo the law.
Additional reporting by Reuters
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
UK weather: Travel chaos continues as King's Cross train delays add to snow on roads
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...