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  •  John McNeil Case (16+ / 0-)

    Black homeowner defended himself from an assault with deadly force, cited justification GAs SYG law. Convicted with the case on appeal.

    http://www.afro.com/...

    Epp, a White contractor, had been commissioned to build a $450,000 custom home for the McNeils on the 500 block of Earlvine Way in Kennesaw, Ga. But, according to court testimony, the family had so many problems with Epp that they decided to end his role in building the house “to have him out of [their] lives.”

    At the closing on Nov. 8, 2005, they agreed that if Epp did not complete certain work within 10 days he would lose a particular sum of money, and he could not come on the property after the 10-day period expired. Epp did not complete the work.

    However, about a month later, McNeil received a call from his son, who said that not only was Epp trespassing on the property, but had also threatened him with a knife. Rushing home to protect his son, McNeil reported the threat to 911 and reportedly told the operator that he was getting ready to “whip his (Epp’s) ass…so get the cops here now.”

    On arriving home, McNeil took a semi-automatic handgun from his car's glove compartment, loaded it and confronted Epp. The pair argued loudly, and while retreating from Epp’ advance, McNeil fired a shot into the ground and warned the intruder, “Back up, I am not playing with you.” As Epp continued his approach toward McNeil, the homeowner fired a fatal gunshot to Epp’s head.

    Initially, investigating officers did not charge McNeil, concluding that Epp was the aggressor and that he was armed. An unopened knife was found in the dead man’s pocket. But 274 days later, a Cobb County district attorney--in the midst of a re-election campaign, according to the NAACP—charged McNeil with murder, and a jury found him guilty.

    NAACP leaders say the verdict belied Georgia’s stance as a gun rights state, where the “Castle Doctrine,” allows residents to protect their home and family, without a duty to retreat, if they feel threatened on their property.

    The decision, they say, echoes a pattern in which “stand your ground” laws are disproportionately applied to Blacks on both sides of the gun.

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