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Thread: Fatal shooting in Richmond was self-defense

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    http://www.timesdispatch.com/rtd/new...221208/199519/

    Published: February 6, 2009
    A fatal shooting Wednesday night in North Richmond was a case of selfdefense, police said yesterday.
    Darrell Jerome Ross, 38, shot and killed Edward Mitchell Perry Jr., 29, after Perry came into Ross' home with a gun, looking for someone with whom he had had a disagreement, police said.
    Also during the ordeal, Perry shot an 18-year-old man in the hand, police said. The shooting took place at 10:15 p.m. in the 3100 block of Griffin Avenue. The residence is near the intersection with West Ladies Mile Road, north of Brookland Park Boulevard.
    Ross was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, but police said they do not anticipate additional charges.
    Police declined to provide additional details about the incident. A woman and two men at the house on Griffin Avenue declined to discuss in detail what had happened.
    Because police have determined the killing to be self-defense, they are not counting it as a homicide. Police report that the city has had two homicides this year. Last year, they officially recorded 32 killings, but that total does not include four cases considered justifiable homicide or manslaughter. -- Reed Williams


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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    It will be interesting to see what additional facts come out on this. Darrel Ross apparently choose to be tried by twelve rather than carried by six. I raises the oft' discussed question as to a felon's right to own/possess a gun.

    Ultimately, it would seem, that he is being charged with defending his own life. Wonder what the charge(s) was that earned Ross his felon status.

    Yata hey
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    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Grapeshot wrote:
    It will be interesting to see what additional facts come out on this. Darrel Ross apparently choose to be tried by twelve rather than carried by six. I raises the oft' discussed question as to a felon's right to own/possess a gun.

    Ultimately, it would seem, that he is being charged with defending his own life. Wonder what the charge(s) was that earned Ross his felon status.

    Yata hey
    Virginia clerarly recognizes a felon's "right" to self defense, even via the use of firearms.


    Common Law Right To Self Defense Includes Felons

    Humphrey v. Commonwealth, 37 Va. App. 36, 553 S.E.2d 546 (2001).


    "[The legislature] in enacting criminal statutes legislates against a background of Anglo-Saxon common law . . . ." Part of this common law is the doctrine of self-defense. . . . [S]tatutes rarely enumerate the defenses to the crimes they describe. . . . We do not believe that [the legislature] intended to make [convicted felons] hapless targets for assassins. The right to defend oneself from deadly attack is fundamental. [The legislature] did not contemplate that [Code 18.2-308.2] would divest convicted felons of that right....Further, as the Commonwealth acknowledges, "[t]he fact that a man has been drinking does not ipso facto deprive him of the right of self-defense, even though the necessity for the exercise of the right might not have arisen had neither he nor his aggressor been drinking." Hawkins v. Commonwealth, 160 Va. 935, 941, 169 S.E. 558, 560 (1933); see Gilbert v. Commonwealth, 28 Va. App. 466, 473, 506 S.E.2d 543, 546-47 (1998) (holding that accused was not at fault in inviting aggressors to his house for drinks)....Courts and commentators disagree over whether the appropriate label for the defense is self-defense, necessity or duress. See Panter, 688 F.2d at 272 n.7 (discussing self-defense and necessity and holding that accused was entitled to instruction under either); Castrillo, 819 P.2d at 1328 & n.2 (comparing justification defenses of duress and necessity to self-defense). The justification defenses of duress and necessity are similar in that both require that "the perceived harm must be imminent." Castrillo, 819 P.2d at 1328 n.2. Self-defense is similar to duress and necessity in that it "provides a justification for an otherwise criminal act; strictly speaking, however, it is not a defense to possession, although it may justify the possession."...The [common law] defense of necessity traditionally addresses the dilemma created when physical forces beyond the actor's control render "illegal conduct the lesser of two evils." . . . We have held that, under appropriate circumstances, constructive possession of a firearm may support a conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. See Blake v. Commonwealth, 15 Va. App. 706, 707-09, 427 S.E.2d 219, 220-21 (1993) (holding accused constructively possessed firearm which was in actual possession of his companion while accused and companion acted jointly to commit robbery). Here, however, neither the Commonwealth nor the trial court took the position that appellant constructively possessed the firearm earlier on December 29, 1999, before he took actual possession of it, presumably because the evidence indicated the firearm was located in a storage shed which was owned and used by appellant's father and located on property owned by appellant's father. "

    See Also : Joann Marie Crews Walker v. Commonwealth, Va. App. (2004 Unpublished)
    Read the case very carefully (not just the partial cite above), as there are aspects of when and under what circumstances Humphrey possessed the firearm that may be quite different from the current situation with Ross.




    Also of note in Humphrey are these words:
    Further, as the Commonwealth acknowledges, "[t]he fact that a man has been drinking does not ipso facto deprive him of the right of self-defense, even though the necessity for the exercise of the right might not have arisen had neither he nor his aggressor been drinking." Hawkins v. Commonwealth, 160 Va. 935, 941, 169 S.E. 558, 560 (1933); see Gilbert v. Commonwealth, 28 Va. App. 466, 473, 506 S.E.2d 543, 546-47 (1998) (holding that accused was not at fault in inviting aggressors to his house for drinks)
    I believe that "inviting aggressors to his house for drinks" could be expanded to include a host of other (legal and illegal) activities. Further details of the case may bear out my thoughts regarding the events/actions leading up to the pulling of the trigger.

    stay safe.

    skidmark

    ** EDIT TO ADD:

    Virginia recognizes self defense as an affirmative defense against the crime of homicide - but you still (in theory) get charged and (in theory) go to trial to prove you committed homicide in self defense. It will be interesting to see if the Commonwealth Attorney declines to take this either as a direct indictment or to a Grand Jury, especially with the prior felony issue involved.

    stay safe.


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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    snip...
    "strictly speaking, however, it is not a defense to possession, although it may justify the possession."
    snip...
    "We have held that, under appropriate circumstances, constructive possession of a firearm may support a conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon."

    There are other issues of course but the fact remains that his defense is tainted/complicated by his past felony conviction even if there is no other fault.

    Lacking too many facts here anyway - will wait to see how this plays out.

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    I wouldn't go into that area armed with my .45 AND AR15.:shock:

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    Grapeshot wrote:
    It will be interesting to see what additional facts come out on this. Darrel Ross apparently choose to be tried by twelve rather than carried by six. I raises the oft' discussed question as to a felon's right to own/possess a gun.

    Ultimately, it would seem, that he is being charged with defending his own life. Wonder what the charge(s) was that earned Ross his felon status.

    Yata hey
    According to the Richmond Court's web site information someone with the same name has numerous drug convictions and a potpourri of other charges. It appears he pled guilty to most of them which would indicate a plea deal. The majority of the convictions look like felonies. The system is very slow today.

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