Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another Dubious DGU

The Dallas Morning News reports on the acquittal of country singer Billy Joe Shaver. At least this one was hard-won.

It took a McLennan County jury just two hours Friday to acquit Texas country singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver of aggravated assault in the 2007 shooting of another man in a bar parking lot.

An unlawful carrying charge remains pending. Judge Matt Johnson set a $7,500 bond on that charge and told Shaver he was free to go.

Earlier Friday, Shaver testified that he acted in self-defense when he shot Billy Coker in the face near Waco on March 31, 2007. But prosecutors maintained that no other witnesses described Coker as "violent or mean."

Some folks have accused me of thinking that no DGU is legitimate. That's just not true, but in this case there are a few things in the article that make me wonder. The first is, "no other witnesses described Coker as "violent or mean.""

Here's another one:

During cross-examination, prosecutor Beth Toben asked Shaver if he was jealous that Coker had been talking with Shaver's ex-wife, Wanda Shaver, in the bar.

"I get more women than a passenger train can haul," the defendant replied. "I'm not jealous."

That kind of bragging macho talk often betrays the very quality it attempts to deny. If I may venture into a comparison for a moment, it's not unlike the macho tough-talking gun owner who insists he's not motivated by fear and paranoia.

Coker had told authorities that Shaver told him, "Where do you want it?" before shooting him in the cheek. Friday, however, Shaver testified, "I actually asked him, 'Why do you want to do this?' For one reason or another, someone turned it into, 'Where do you want it?'"

After the shooting, he said he called friend and fellow Texas singer-songwriter Willie Nelson and asked for his recommendation of an attorney. Then, Shaver said, he left town out of fear of Coker and his family.

So, with Willie Nelson's lawyer and celebrity, I believe he appeared as a character witness, the jury believed the shooter's version of what was said immediately before the shooting.

I certainly don't claim to know what happened, but I suspect this may be another of the many so-called legitimate DGUs which are nothing of the kind.

What's your opinion? What do you think about the pending charge? Shaver was not supposed to be carrying a gun in the first place. Is it even possible to do something legitimate with a gun you have illegally in your possession? Even that sounds like a bit of a stretch. I'd say this is Texas Justice, but a different kind from what we usually point out.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. "Is it even possible to do something legitimate with a gun you have illegally in your possession?"