I find this case interesting in light of the Jason Dickey self defense case that went to trial in September of 2006. I am left to wonder why Mr. Miller was determined to have acted in self defense and no charges were pressed while Mr. Dickey was arrested and charged with murder in April of 2004 after being involved in a similar situation. A couple years later, he was tried for murder, convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to 16 years in prison. He was represented by prominent Columbia defense attorney Jack Swerling. His appeal was denied in October of 2008. I was close to Mr. Dickey at the time of the shooting, and before and after his murder trial. In 2004, Jason was working as a security guard at Cornell Arms apartments in downtown Columbia. He had a Concealed Weapons Permit. Jason was asked by a resident to ask a visitor they'd brought in to leave the property as the visitor was intoxicated and angry and causing problems. When Jason requested that the man, Joshua Boot, remove himself from the premises, Boot became verbally aggressive. Jason did his job as instructed and called the police who would be responsible for actually getting him to leave. When Josh Boot began rapidly advancing on Jason while still making threats and making a gesture as if he were about to pull a weapon from under his shirt, Jason shot in self defense. Josh also had a friend with him and Jason was fearful that they would both jump him. He believed, based on Josh's behavior, that he had some sort of weapon he was about to use. What was recovered at the scene was a liquor bottle. Tox screens determined Josh's blood alcohol level was .20. In SC, .08 is considered too intoxicated to be driving. The only difference I see on the surface of these two cases is that Mr. Miller was actually being beaten when he fired on his attackers. Was Jason supposed to let himself get jumped before using his weapon to protect himself? SC law does not say he was. Once you are being physically assaulted, it is often too late to make use of one's own weapon. It is important to note here that SC law says a person does not have to wait to fire until they see a weapon if they have reason to believe there is one. Like Miller, Jason had a valid CWP and was advanced upon by someone clearly intent on doing him harm while he was attempting to carry out his job responsibilities. He did not provoke Josh Boot and was not looking to have an altercation with anyone. He did not shoot out of anger or vengeance and was very distraught that Josh Boot died as a result. He felt he had no choice and was genuinely sad for Josh's family. He shot when in fear for his own safety and was promptly charged with murder the same night, before a thorough investigation could be done. Bond had to be posted so he could be out of jail while awaiting trial. Like Mr. Miller, Mr. Dickey was in a job that didn't pay much but could be potentially dangerous and he chose to carry a weapon legally in case he needed it. Why was he formally charged with murder? Why did the case even go to trial? He kept being told a jury would have to decide if it was self defense or not unless he was willing to take a plea, which he was not because he refused to plead guilty to something he was not guilty of. Again, I say, "What's the difference?" I'm glad Mr. Miller was able to defend himself. I'm also glad he is not facing the situation Jason faced with a trial looming over his head, murder charges, and now, years spent in prison with criminals. Jason was trying to complete his college degree and get his life on track after a botched surgery lead to him being discharged from the military with a permanent and painful injury and after his mother's death. He should not be in prison now. The outcome should have been the same as for Mr. Miller. It was a clear case of self defense. (Mar 27, 2009 | post #2)
The launch party for this book will be held on Saturday, March 21 in Irmo SC. I will also be the featured Speaker at the Center on Thursday, March 26 at 12:00 pm at the SC State Library, 1430 Senate St., Columbia, SC 29202. This event is free and open to the public. (Mar 13, 2009 | post #1)
Q & A with ColumbiaCarmella
Insight Without Sight
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