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Posted: 5/1/2009 9:31:37 AM EDT
http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/04/30/florida.shooting.law/index.html

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) –– Authorities do not plan to file charges against a Florida orange grove owner who fatally shot a 21-year-old woman, saying he is protected under the state's controversial "no retreat" law.
Bullet holes pocked the windshield of the crashed SUV, and blood stained he passenger seat.

But the woman's boyfriend faces second-degree murder charges in her death, because the woman was shot to death during an alleged felony –– the theft of an SUV.

Tony Curtis Phillips, 29, didn't fire a single shot. He didn't even know his girlfriend, Nikki McCormick, was dead until police showed him an online news story.

Police said McCormick accompanied Phillips as he attempted to steal the SUV from a barn in an orange grove near Wahneta, Florida, before daylight Tuesday.

Grove owner Ladon "Jamie" Jones opened fire as the SUV approached him, according to an affidavit released by the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Phillips fled; McCormick was shot in the head and later died.

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.

Phillips was arrested late Tuesday in Polk County, near Lakeland, after a day on the run. Police said he didn't believe McCormick was dead at first, telling officers, "Of all the times you've questioned me, this is a nasty trick you're playing on me this time." He agreed to cooperate if detectives could prove she was dead.

Judd said detectives called up the shooting story on the local newspaper's Web site and "let him read it online, and that's when he broke down and cried, and gave us a confession," Judd said.

According to the affidavit, Jones heard his Toyota Land Cruiser, parked in the barn at his orange grove, start up before daylight Tuesday. Jones told police he grabbed his gun, a 9mm that he keeps with him while working at the grove. He said he could see two people in the SUV as it backed out of the barn, according to the affidavit. He said he saw the passenger's arm reach outside the vehicle, and believed that person might be holding a gun.

The Land Cruiser stopped directly in front of him, Jones said in the affidavit. He said he raised his gun and pointed it at the occupants, shouting "Stop," but the vehicle appeared to be moving directly toward him.

"Fearing for his life, he then fired what he thought to be six to eight rounds into the front windshield of the vehicle," the affidavit stated.

The vehicle backed up at high speed, crashed through a fence and ended up in a ditch. Jones told police a man jumped out of the SUV and ran away.

Sheriff's deputies found McCormick inside the vehicle with a bullet wound to her head. She was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where she died.

Jones did not return a call from CNN seeking comment.

Authorities will forward their information to prosecutors, Judd said, but are "not going to file any charges [against Jones] at this point, because we don't see any reason to arrest Mr. Jones," Judd said. "... It appears, at this point in the investigation, Mr. Jones was completely, legally justified in his actions."

A Polk County judge on Thursday ordered Phillips held without bond. A public defender was appointed to his case.

Polk County Public Defender J. Marion Moorman declined to comment on the charges to CNN. "We will, of course, be interviewing the client very soon, and will be undertaking his defense from there," he said.

Phillips told police he assumed McCormick had also gotten out of the vehicle and run away, according to the affidavit. He said he was sorry for what happened "and said he knew he was partially responsible for her death," the affidavit said.

Polk County State Attorney's Office spokesman Chip Thulberry said his office will review the case when the sheriff's investigation is completed.

The Brady Campaign to prevent Gun Violence says Florida is one of 16 states that have enacted "no retreat" laws, which some call "shoot-first" laws. The laws extend the right to use deadly force beyond a person's home and into public places.

"The shoot-first law is not needed," said Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign. "This person, regardless of the situation, may have done the right thing, but he cannot be prosecuted for doing something wrong if he hit an innocent bystander," he said.

Other groups stand by the "no retreat" laws.

"At the moment a crime occurs, victims don't have the luxury of time," said Andrew Arulanandam of the National Rifle Association. "They have seconds to decide on a course of action to protect their lives and their families. This law provides law-abiding people with options."
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 9:53:05 AM EDT


As it should be.

If crime does not pay, there will be less of it.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 10:23:12 AM EDT
Absolutely. The fact her photo was already on file before this incident shows prior record.

No loss here.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 10:44:10 AM EDT
I'm glad the writer of the article got both views on the matter... although the Brady Campaigns isnt really needed.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 12:15:52 PM EDT
That douche said he was "partially responsible"?  You bring your girlfriend to steal a car, get caught and you are PARTIALLY responsible. WTF?

And...by the way...good shoot.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 1:42:08 PM EDT
You have to love the Gunshine State, we are setting the standards for the rest of the Country to follow.  
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 4:08:54 PM EDT
Good shot.

Man ought to be given a medal.

If it was a man instead of a woman than nobody would even care about this story. This is one criminal and his accomplice that's it.  Sad, but women can be criminals as well just look at Bonnie and Clyde Barrow.

Link Posted: 5/1/2009 4:13:47 PM EDT
Tweakers I'd bet. Good shoot.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 4:22:32 PM EDT
Too bad one of them got away. Could have saved the judicial system time and the tax payers money. He will just end up on the street again in a few years if he gets a nice sympathetic judge or DA.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 10:23:06 PM EDT
The first thing I thought when I saw the pictures was "That's a respectable grouping."  Good on the shooter, too bad he didn't get the other douchebag.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 10:49:51 PM EDT
' "The shoot-first law is not needed," said Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign. "This person, regardless of the situation, may have done the right thing, but he cannot be prosecuted for doing something wrong if he hit an innocent bystander," he said.'

Why can't douche nozzles like Brian suffer a home invasion and be a victim of anal gang rape.  Maybe they might change their high horse tune when they face death.

Also why does the reporter let Brian lie and not offer a counter point view?  Instead the paper lets the lie stand.  If you shot an innocent bystander I'm sure you will be prosecuted given the bystander presses charges.
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 1:10:01 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AR15Texan:
' "The shoot-first law is not needed," said Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign. "This person, regardless of the situation, may have done the right thing, but he cannot be prosecuted for doing something wrong if he hit an innocent bystander," he said.'

Why can't douche nozzles like Brian suffer a home invasion and be a victim of anal gang rape.  Maybe they might change their high horse tune when they face death.

Also why does the reporter let Brian lie and not offer a counter point view?  Instead the paper lets the lie stand. If you shot an innocent bystander I'm sure you will be prosecuted given the bystander presses charges.


You bet your ass you Will be prosecuted just like any LEO would be held responsible for every round fired that misses the target and causes damage or harm, this is just more B.S. the anti's use to try and sway public opinion.
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 5:08:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ColdboreDreamer:
Absolutely. The fact her photo was already on file before this incident shows prior record.

No loss here.


While I am in full support of this man's actions, and the outcome, I feel I must play devil's advocate here and point out that almost every state that issues CCW's requires a photo of the holder, therefore all of their photos are on file.  Not to mention photos from a drivers license.  So also are CCW holders' fingerprints in most states that issue.  So simply providing a photo for the news piece, even if ID was determined from fingerprints if there was no ID card, does not necessarily coincide with prior criminal activity.  To provide a case in point, If I am forced to shoot someone in my home and get charged with homicide as a result(don't laugh, I AM in NJ after all), my photo wil be plastered all over the local news outlets.  Does that automatically mean I have prior criminal events in my past??
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 5:25:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/2/2009 5:26:12 PM EDT by TwinLocust]
Nothing new in Death by Association.  Good shot.
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 9:41:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/2/2009 9:47:21 PM EDT by SEC-OF-WAR]
As we say on the range "remember every round you fire has a lawyer attached to it,be sure of your target and what`s beyond. Get good hits". Good job,this should happen to criminals more often. Why should people stand by helpless while someone else steals from them.
Link Posted: 5/3/2009 12:18:16 AM EDT
A car is certainly a deadly weapon if used as such, hell I'd rather be shot with a 9mm than run over by a truck going 60 MPH. If someone drove a car towards me in a threatening manner, you'd better believe I would empty my mag into BOTH the driver's side, and passenger side, since the passenger can hit the gas and steer if the drive is incapacitated.
Link Posted: 5/3/2009 12:53:24 AM EDT
Originally Posted By johnQpublik:
Originally Posted By ColdboreDreamer:
Absolutely. The fact her photo was already on file before this incident shows prior record.

No loss here.


While I am in full support of this man's actions, and the outcome, I feel I must play devil's advocate here and point out that almost every state that issues CCW's requires a photo of the holder, therefore all of their photos are on file.  Not to mention photos from a drivers license.  So also are CCW holders' fingerprints in most states that issue.  So simply providing a photo for the news piece, even if ID was determined from fingerprints if there was no ID card, does not necessarily coincide with prior criminal activity.  To provide a case in point, If I am forced to shoot someone in my home and get charged with homicide as a result(don't laugh, I AM in NJ after all), my photo wil be plastered all over the local news outlets.  Does that automatically mean I have prior criminal events in my past??


Dude what are you smoking? Those are mugshots. See the orange jumpsuit on dirtbag #2? Or do you think those beautiful smiles on their faces are for the DMV?
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