Texan Gets 40 Years for 'Stand Your Ground' Slaying
He filmed himself confronting neighbor over party noise
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2012 1:00 AM CDT
Updated Jun 28, 2012 1:27 AM CDT
Kelly Danaher, a physical education teacher at an elementary school in New Caney, Texas, was killed in a confrontation over noise with neighbor Raul Rodriguez.   (AP Photo/New Caney Independent School District via Houston Chronicle)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – A Texas man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for what prosecutors described as an attempt to use the state's "stand your ground" law to get away with murder. Raul Rodriguez shot dead his neighbor, a 36-year-old teacher, after going next door to complain about noise from a party—carrying a gun, a video camera, and a cell phone. He used a flashlight to lure partygoers out into the street, and then filmed himself confronting them, calling police and saying he felt his life was in danger, adding: "I'm standing my ground here."

Rodriguez killed his unarmed neighbor and wounded two other men after a partygoer apparently made a grab for the camera. Prosecutors described him as a bully who held his neighborhood hostage, and tried to hide behind a law designed to protect responsible gun owners, the Houston Chronicle reports. "When you take your gun, your two magazines, your video camera and your cell phone, and you document how you feel, that was premeditated," a prosecutor told the jury. One juror says the jury was split 8 to 4 over Rodriguez's guilt, and the 40-year sentence was a compromise.

My Take on This Story