CNN reports on the shooting death of a female car thief in Florida.
What happened was this: Tony Curtis Phillips, 29, and his girlfriend, Nikki McCormick, 21, decided to break into the garage and steal the SUV of Ladon "Jamie" Jones. When Mr. Jones heard the commotion he came running out of his house with a gun to stop the theft. He stopped it all right, with six or eight shots through the windshield, killing McCormick. Phillips fled and was later arrested.
Now here's where it get's interesting. The owner of the vehicle, Jones is not being charged with anything; Phillips, the fleeing boyfriend is being charged with second-degree murder.
Authorities said Jones is protected by Florida's "no retreat" law, which gives him the right to use lethal force if he reasonably believes his life is in danger.
Phillips, however, faces charges because police allege he was committing felony grand theft auto at the time of McCormick's death.
"Because his conduct caused her death, he gets charged with a felony," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Remember Lillo Brancato? He's the Soprano's actor who was cleared in the death of an off duty policeman but sentenced to 10 years for burglary. In his case, he and the shooter did a crime together and upon being discovered by the next-door neighbor who happened to be a cop, Lillo's partner in crime shot the cop dead. The courts decided Lillo was only guilty of the lesser crimes.
In the Florida case, it seems to be an even greater stretch to charge the boyfriend with murder. What do you think? Is this based upon the same principle of law, the accomplice liability theory?
What do you think about the SUV owner, Ladon Jones and his actions? Supposedly, he saw an arm extended outside the passenger side window which he thought might be a gun about to be raised at him. Also when he tried to stop the vehicle, he says it came directly at him, making the SUV itself a deadly weapon to which he responded with the lethal force which was his right under Florida law.
Wouldn't it have been better if he had stayed in the house and called the police? What is so difficult about accepting that? I can already hear the chorus of constitutionally backed protectors of private property and defenders of personal rights crying out that Jones was correct in what he did and the fault lies completely with the thieves Phillips and McCormick.
What's your opinion? Don't you think a bullet in the brain is a punishment just a little bit severe for car theft? I promised the last time we talked about one of these righteous shootings that I wouldn't compare it to the death penalty, to do so is just too inflammatory, but let's face it, dead is dead. I find the response to this crime disproportionately heavy. What about you?
Please leave a comment.