Friday, April 13, 2012

George Zimmerman? Have you heard of John McNeil? If you are a gun owner and think you have a right to defend yourself on your own property, his case should outrage you.

George Zimmerman and John McNeil
George Zimmerman is facing 2nd degree murder.  But at least he has the nation focused on his case and a top notch criminal defense attorney representing him.  I am not sure if there will be a fair trial in the Zimmerman case, but at least there is hope.

John McNeil?  The Agitator had this story today.

It all began in early 2005, when McNeil and his wife, Anita, hired Brian Epp’s construction company to build a new house in Cobb County, Ga. The McNeils testified that Epp was difficult to work with, which led to heated confrontations. They eventually decided to close on the house early to rid their lives of Epp, whom they found increasingly threatening. At the closing, both parties agreed that Epp would have 10 days to complete the work, after which he would stay away from the property, but he failed to keep up his end of the bargain.
On Dec. 6, 2005, John McNeil’s 15-year-old son, La’Ron, notified his dad over the phone that a man he didn’t recognize was lurking in the backyard. When La’Ron told the man to leave, an argument broke out. McNeil was still on the phone and immediately recognized Epp’s voice. According to La’Ron’s testimony, Epp pointed a folding utility knife at La’Ron’s face and said, “[w]hy don’t you make me leave?” at which point McNeil told his son to go inside and wait while he called 911 and headed home.
According to McNeil’s testimony, when he pulled up to his house, Epp was next door grabbing something from his truck and stuffing it in his pocket. McNeil quickly grabbed his gun from the glove compartment in plain view of Epp who was coming at him “fast.” McNeil jumped out of the car and fired a warning shot at the ground insisting that Epp back off. Instead of retreating, Epp charged at McNeil while reaching for his pocket, so McNeil fired again, this time fatally striking Epp in the head. (Epp was found to have a folding knife in his pocket, although it was shut.)
After waiting a year, the prosecutor decided to press charges.  John McNeil lost at trial.   Things did not turn out so well for John McNeil at the appellate level either.    Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears who argued, “the State failed to disprove John McNeil’s claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.” She went on to write:  
Even viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence was overwhelming in showing that a reasonable person in McNeil’s shoes would have believed that he was subject to an imminent physical attack by an aggressor possessing a knife and that it was necessary to use deadly force to protect himself from serious bodily injury or a forcible felony. Under the facts of this case, it would be unreasonable to require McNeil to wait until Epp succeeded in attacking him, thereby potentially disarming him, getting control of the gun, or stabbing him before he could legally employ deadly force to defend himself. This is not what Georgia law requires.
The NRA should be looking into this case and speaking out about it.   McNeil's story, on the undisputed facts, does not appear to justify the charge let alone the conviction.

Was it bias because McNeil is black and Epp was white?  Was it just bad luck?  It is hard to conceive why the jury decided the way they did in the McNeil case.

Update:
Dershowitz is saying the charing affidavit is unethical and will not hold up for Zimmerman...of course John McNeil's case did not get that sort of attention. The Blogmocracy notes Levin agrees with Dershowitz.
In Search of the Tempestuous Sea has more on this...
The gun-unfriendly nature of the NAACP and whether or not John McNeil is black and Brian Epp was white are irrelevant. What has happened here is that a man has been wrongly convicted in a self-defense shooting and pressure needs to be applied to correct this injustice. Perhaps the Governor of Georgia can be persuaded to grant McNeil a pardon. In the interests of black people and white people and people who care about the natural right to self defense, this case needs more publicity.
Justice for John McNeil...
Ken Blanchard on the NAACP and gun rights...

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad to see John McNeil's case getting attention again. A lot late but maybe something can be done for him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I missed this story when it happened. It seems like a miscarriage of justice.

      Delete

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