Shooter Cleared In Bystander’s Death In Stand Your Ground Case - WSPA.com

Shooter Cleared In Bystander’s Death In Stand Your Ground Case

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The central question of this case: Are people who shoot an innocent bystander while defending their own lives protected under the Stand Your Ground law? The central question of this case: Are people who shoot an innocent bystander while defending their own lives protected under the Stand Your Ground law?
COLUMBIA, S.C. -

A man shoots and kills an unarmed teen, but won't be prosecuted for it.

Just this week, a judge decided he's immune from prosecution under South Carolina's "Stand Your Ground” law.

The central question of this case: Are people who shoot an innocent bystander while defending their own lives protected under the Stand Your Ground law?

While Shannon Scott's teenage daughter hid under the kitchen table, Scott went out onto his stoop and shot into a car out front.

He thought it was a car full of people who followed his daughter home and were shooting at her.

But he shot at the wrong car and killed an innocent bystander, 17-year-old Darrell Niles.

Three years later, Scott's off the hook.

Judge Maité Murphy said he's immune from prosecution.

In the order granting immunity, the judge said Scott was "reasonable to be in fear of the victim” and believed the attack would continue if he did not act.

“I think, if you look at it from the perspective of the father, he did have reason to believe that his life was at risk, that his daughter's life was at risk. So therefore, as the law is written, there's really not much the prosecution could have done," said University of South Carolina law professor Colin Miller.

David Blanton is retired from the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office. Now he teaches a concealed weapons permit course. He said he disagrees with the judge's decision.

“If someone is a clear and present threat to myself and my family, I'm going to react to it. Someone that might be? No. I'm not going to shoot that person,” said Blanton.

And he said this judge's decision won't change how he would teach his students to react in a similar situation.

“The Supreme Court can say that and I'm still going to say shooting at someone that you think might have been a problem, but you're not 100 percent sure -- you don't do that," said Blanton.

Fifth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson is appealing the judge's decision to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Right now there are no Stand Your Ground cases before the state Supreme Court. All of them have been dismissed.

For someone to be granted immunity through Stand Your Ground, that person has to demonstrate three things. First, the person must be in a place where they have a right to be. Second, they cannot be "engaged in unlawful activity." Third, deadly force can only be used if the person reasonably believes it's necessary to prevent great bodily injury or a violent crime.


Related:
Stand Your Ground Laws
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