Blind man who killed his friend is given his guns back under Stand Your Ground law

By Victoria Greene,

A Florida man will be getting his guns back after he fatally shot his friend.

In 2012, following a night of drinking, John Wayne Rogers, 40, shot James T. DeWitt, 34, to death. At the time, Rogers, who is legally blind, said he felt threatened and Judge John Galluzzo has agreed that Rogers was within his right.

According to Think Progress, DeWitt’s death occurred the morning after the two men spent the night drinking. DeWitt stayed over at Rogers’ home after they drank and after they retrieved more beer from the store the next morning, an incident allegedly occurred. It was during this time Rogers states he felt threatened by DeWitt, went into his bedroom to get his gun, and then shot the man.

DeWitt’s girlfriend stated that they were simply ‘play-fighting’ at the time when Rogers got his gun and shot the victim. Rogers refuted these claims and stressed that he was under attack.

Rogers was initially charged with first degree murder, for which he faced life in prison, but a judge granted a “stand your ground” so Rogers would be awarded immunity and ruled that Rogers acted in self defense, according to The Daily Mirror.

"I have to return property that was taken under the circumstance. I have researched and haven't found case law to say otherwise,” Judge Galluzzo said.

Rogers, who apparently has a history of violence, has his weapons back and is free to use them. However, the authorities told him that he will have to buy new ammunition for his guns as what he has was “too old and too dangerous.”

The Stand Your Ground law came into prominence in 2012 after neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman ultimately walked away a free man.

In the past two years, cases involving the law and its unfair use have sparked a battleground in America revolving around cases such as the 2012 Marissa Alexander case, in which Alexander fired a warning shot against her abusive husband and received 20 years in prison.

There was also the 2012 Michael Dunn case, in which Dunn shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis over ‘loud music.' Dunn was convicted of three counts of second-degree attempted murder and firing a weapon into a vehicle, but was not charged for the murder of Davis.

Disturbingly Rogers' crime took place in the same neighborhood in which Trayvon Martin was killed.

With cases like these gaining prominence, Florida’s laws will surely be coming under further scrutiny and a change will likely be made. However, this change isn’t likely to come in the foreseeable future.



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