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
World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas
Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new
TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow
Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'
- 1 Sick elderly man makes 'complete turnaround' after emotional reunion with dog
- 2 Star Wars memorabilia dubbed 'bit of plastic' by Antiques Roadshow's Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
- 3 Isis fighters 'crucify' 17-year-old boy in Syria
- 4 Ebola cruise ship ‘in utter panic’ as Mexico and Belize refuse to let it dock
- 5 Death of northern white rhino leaves just six of endangered animals left in the world
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Permanent Year 6 TeacherThe job:This...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: KS1+KS2 Teachers required ASAP for l...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 2 Teacher The position is to wo...