The case of an Ono Island man accused of shooting a tourist in an alleged road rage incident is putting the spotlight on Alabama’s Stand Your Ground law.
Steve Pinson was charged with first degree assault after police say he shot 44-year-old Damon Hembree on Perdido Beach Boulevard and Highway 161 in 2012.
Police said Hempree and Pinson got into an argument while driving. After the altercation witnesses say Hembree approached Pinson’s vehicle and began yelling and cursing.
Pinson’s attorney said his client shot Hembree in self defense and is looking at Alabama’s Stand Your Ground law as a possible defense.
“There is a presumption that a person is in an occupied dwelling or an occupied vehicle that is in reasonable fear. the magic words, “reasonable fear” for his personal safety at the hands of another individual is no longer required to retreat any further than where he or she may be and can use force, including deadly force,” said Steve Salter.
Defense attorney Jeff Deen is not trying the Pinson case, but he has argued several cases with Stand Your Ground law as a defense.
He gave FOX10 News an example of a case he won.
“A guy comes home and his girlfriend is combing and braiding another guys hair. The two men get in an argument. My client lives there. He tells the other guy to get out of his house. The two men start arguing… now who had a right to be there and stand his ground? My client who ends up shooting the other guy because he won’t leave and is getting all bowed up at him over the woman, my guy had a right to be there. The other guy didn’t,” said Deen.
“If you are in a place, where you have a right to be, and you are not committing the crime, breaking the law, and somebody attacks you you have a right to stand your ground,” he added.
Deen said where you when your attacked makes a difference. “That’s your home of course, your business of course, could be the breezeway of your apartment complex. Somebody comes approaching you and looks like they are going for a gun instead of running away you’d have a right maybe to defend yourself. “
He adds one note of advice if you feel threatened.
“If you can get away from it, and reasonably do that, you should get away,” said Deen.