California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Since TrueTexan gets up before I do, I thought he'd have it before me. I changed the headline. But here's the gist:
Video evidence of the incident clearly shows Jackson and another suspect exiting the Chevron station convenience store after the robbery and running from the scene.

Williams is then seen in the footage leaving the station store with a firearm while running after the robbers.

"Williams then fired upon Mr. Jackson, hitting him in the leg while he was fleeing and causing him to fall to the ground," Becton's statement read. "Mr. Williams continued to approach Mr. Jackson with his firearm pointing at him when Mr. Jackson fired shots at Williams hitting him twice. Once in the chest and in the leg."

In the eyes of the law, Becton said, Williams' actions ceased to be self-defense when he pursued Jackson and the other suspect with a firearm and continued to pursue Jackson after he shot him.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/da ... r-AA14NY0Z

I'm gonna have to agree.

CDFingers
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Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Location, location, location, it's not just important in sales. James Williams the Chevron clerk defended himself using his gun in the store, but going outside and pursuing the robbers changes the location. In that location it looks like self defense by Jackson the robber, against Williams the pursuer. I grew up in Contra Costa County, Antioch has always been a rough area of the county.
A Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson refused to comment on whether Jackson would face charges in the slaying that occurred during the robbery on Saturday.
According to KTVU, the DA did not charge Jackson because Williams fired at him first.
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/art ... 623013.php

I blame the owners of the Chevron station, Williams should have been trained to never pursue a robber.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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highdesert wrote: Fri Dec 02, 2022 12:45 pm Location, location, location, it's not just important in sales. James Williams the Chevron clerk defended himself using his gun in the store, but going outside and pursuing the robbers changes the location. In that location it looks like self defense by Jackson the robber, against Williams the pursuer. I grew up in Contra Costa County, Antioch has always been a rough area of the county.
A Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson refused to comment on whether Jackson would face charges in the slaying that occurred during the robbery on Saturday.
According to KTVU, the DA did not charge Jackson because Williams fired at him first.
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/art ... 623013.php

I blame the owners of the Chevron station, Williams should have been trained to never pursue a robber.
I worked at a gas station in my teens. The owner a friend and running buddy told me, just give them the money.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Yes but to most DA’s, a person cannot claim self-defense where they are committing a crime. This situation may appear cut and dry due to “location” arguments above and I agree that the store clerk loses his legal justification for shooting another human being in pursuit of the robbers outside the convenience store. But they were all still on the gas station property and robber(s) are recorded on camera fleeing the scene of a crime with a gun. The law clearly states any robber loses his right to claiming self-defense shooting while committing felony armed robbery! At the very least the DA in this case can/should charge the robber(s) with involuntary manslaughter. Heck, a robber who causes a clerk/owner of a store to have a heart-attack can be charged with involuntary manslaughter even if he used a fake gun.

I sense an imbalance in The Force.
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent." -Gandhi

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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A Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson refused to comment on whether Jackson would face charges in the slaying that occurred during the robbery on Saturday.
Looks like the DA hasn't made a final decision.

Once Jackson the robber left the convenience store with the money, Williams the clerk was no longer in mortal danger. If Williams was involved in a shoot out in the store with Jackson and wounded him that's one thing, he would have been defending himself. But Williams left the store to pursue Jackson and shot at him and wounded him.

That's my reading, but it's up to the Co Co County.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Bisbee has got the right of it. As usual. If the clerk had killed the robber, it would have been a murder charge and not self-defense. That's moot, because he didn't.

Committing homicide in the course of a crime is only self defense when the judge decides to throw out the charges because of political bias - exhibit A, Kenosha. Otherwise there would be a lot of cop killers walking free.

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Many states have a "felony murder doctrine" which says that you can be charged with murder for any death that occurs during your commission of a felony, whether or not you directly caused it.

So for example, if a store clerk shot and killed a partner in the robbery, the surviving robber would be charged with 1st degree murder of his partner, even though it was the clerk that did the shooting.

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Felony-murder did come into effect in CA in 2019.

But the CC DA is not looking at the case the same way. And I wonder if racial bias plays a part in this because the victim was an armed African American male. This Butts also seems to have a hard-on against guns:
Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts says they consider all possible scenarios. But he says, because Williams chased after the suspects with a firearm as they were fleeing, who were a good distance away at that point, in the eyes of the law, it is no longer self-defense. And the suspects won't be charged with murder.

"Technically, when you commit a robbery, the robbery is not over until you reach a place of safety. And the robbers hadn't at this time. But the analysis is that now they are under a deadly attack when such attack was not legally justified," Butts said.
https://abc7news.com/james-williams-ant ... /12526765/

Not legally justified according to whom? The working man who just had a gun pointed at his face during a robbery?
FUBAR
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent." -Gandhi

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Laws in US states allow us to have firearms for protection, to defend ourselves and others. Self defense is all about the threat, when Jackson the robber and his accomplice were in the convenience store, Williams the clerk's use of a firearm was self defense to protect himself and patrons in the store. When Jackson the robber and his accomplice left the store there was no longer a threat to Williams the clerk or the customers there. They could have barricaded themselves and waited for police to arrive. Williams pursuit of Jackson outside the store made him a vigilante. Law enforcement or sworn members of a posse comitatus can pursue. If Williams jumped in his vehicle and pursued Jackson at a safe distance relaying info to police, that would have been a better solution. When Williams stood over Jackson with a gun, Jackson feared for his life and shot Williams.
"In the eyes of the law, Mr. Williams' actions ceased to be self-defense when Mr. Williams pursued Mr. Jackson and the other suspect with a firearm -- and continued to pursue Mr. Jackson after he shot him," Becton said. "The legal distinction is clear: when your property and life are being threatened, an individual is legally justified in using deadly force in self-defense," she said. "However, once the threat of harm has dissipated, the victim of a property crime cannot then use deadly force to reclaim stolen property."
https://abc7news.com/antioch-homicide-c ... /12519257/

The same applies with your home, defending yourself from a burglar in your home and shooting and possibly killing him is one thing, pursuing the burglar down the street and shooting him is totally different. There are news stories all the time about momma/poppa store owners pursuing a robber down the street with their gun and shooting the robber or shooting an innocent bystander and the owner is charged.

Years ago we had family friends who owned a liquor store close to where this shooting happened. They kept a shotgun behind the counter and the adult daughter told us that a cop friend told them if they shot a robber outside drag him inside. Forensic evidence would likely have shown where the perp was shot.
Last edited by highdesert on Thu Dec 08, 2022 6:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Good, rational analysis, Highdesert. I agree with everything you wrote, from the legal and rational armchair that we all sitting in discussing the somewhat unfortunate choices of the store clerk, Mr Williams.

However, I might add that we do not have his perspective. We do not live under the constant threats of poverty and drug addiction of his neighborhood. We do not remotely understand what it feels like to have to work in a gas convenience store at night. We have to acknowledge that we do not understand the motivations and stressors that would activate the rage and fears of Williams to “pursue his attacker in self defense,” which would possibly change the legal perspective currently being white-splained to a black family who simply cannot understand why this murder is not even going to be attempted to be prosecuted by the DA.

Who knows?.. maybe Williams went outside the store to fire a warning shot into the air after he felt safe to do so, so the thieves would know not to return (tomorrow or next week?) to point a gun at him again? Would you do something like that if you had to face petty thugs on a regular basis robbing the tills with a gun in your face on a semi-regular basis? Do you (DA Butts) even know what it feels like to have a muzzle pointed at you as a threat?

Meh, that perspective had to be aired.
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent." -Gandhi

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Bisbee, I’m not ready to convict him and I do know what it means to work in a gas station at night. I worked from the time I got off school to about 10pm during my senior year in high school. I would very much have preferred to concentrate on my studies and school activities, but my father made it clear we should work. Working at night is no fun, especially when you’re a teenager. The individual made a bad decision in hind sight, perhaps I would not have made the same, but I’m not ready to convict someone when the individual that died was the perpetrator of an armed robbery. The laws may say one thing, but jurors don’t always do what the DA wants. I’m not going to examine this person’s background, but I think the jury will. Hopefully there are a few that won’t simply condemn because a gun was used. These cases are never very simple.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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tonguengroover wrote: Wed Dec 07, 2022 6:04 pm Castle Law rules out here.
So I dunno, if the perp was still on my property I believe I could hold them under gun point until police came since they committed a crime upon my property and or person/s.
Or you could call the sheriff and by the time they get there the perp would be long gone.
Video helps
By judicial rulings, 'Castle Doctrine' also applies in California along with 'Stand Your Ground', it's not just as portrayed by the media that those "racist red states" have Castle and Stand, other states have them. In CA a homeowner isn't required to retreat, he/she can choose to stay and fight.

A problem with pursuing a perp and holding them at gun point, is that some cop may perceive you're the perp and shoot you, it's happened before. And if that's not the right person you detained at gun point, you could be sued for unlawful detention. I just mention possible scenarios you should be aware of.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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highdesert wrote: Thu Dec 08, 2022 12:05 pm
tonguengroover wrote: Wed Dec 07, 2022 6:04 pm Castle Law rules out here.
So I dunno, if the perp was still on my property I believe I could hold them under gun point until police came since they committed a crime upon my property and or person/s.
Or you could call the sheriff and by the time they get there the perp would be long gone.
Video helps
By judicial rulings, 'Castle Doctrine' also applies in California along with 'Stand Your Ground', it's not just as portrayed by the media that those "racist red states" have Castle and Stand, other states have them. In CA a homeowner isn't required to retreat, he/she can choose to stay and fight.

A problem with pursuing a perp and holding them at gun point, is that some cop may perceive you're the perp and shoot you, it's happened before. And if that's not the right person you detained at gun point, you could be sued for unlawful detention. I just mention possible scenarios you should be aware of.
I'd hedge a bet not all states Castle Doctrines and Stand Your Ground statutes are the same.

Obviously disarming the perp would come first. Cuff and or have laying face down, hands behind back. When LEO arrives holster the weapon. Kinda goes without saying.

As long as on your property it's OK in AZ. Heck, perps get shot in the back here and the home owner doesn't get charged. I can cite numerous instances.
That said I wouldn't ever do that anyways.

And I would be fine going to court here if the perp filed a faux unlawful detention suit. I get free legal.

In AZ this also applies to your vehicle and business. I might take a leap of faith and include any dwelling your inhabiting too.
Happiness is a worn gun. - Dan Baum

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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featureless wrote: Thu Dec 08, 2022 12:37 pm In general, I agree it was a bad decision to leave the confines of the "murder hut" to pursue. I do have a tickle at the back of my mind though that there is legal grounds for pursuing an armed attacker as that attacker with the gun is a general threat to public safety. I.e., it isn't self defense, it is ensuring public safety. But I can't recall what it's called or where I read about it.
Would sound logical. I think it may be other states and not in California. I would hope the use of the gun isn’t the central issue, but the acts leading to the event.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Any loss of life is tragic, but James Williams' life didn't have to end that way. I blame TV and movies for making people feel that having a firearm also gives them police powers and that a gun gives them the right to pursue perps and get "justice".

The incident occurred at a Chevron gas station convenience store and the silence by Chevron is deafening. All the companies I recall that have had shootings where a clerk was armed and used their gun, have quickly issued statements after the shooting saying they don't approve of clerks having and using guns in the workplace. It's been crickets from Chevron (formerly Standard Oil Co of California).

None of the articles I've read have questioned Williams' gun, did he have it legally or illegally or did he have a concealed carry license or was it a gun that any clerk could use if robbed. It says a lot about the focus of Bay Area media.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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highdesert wrote: Wed Dec 07, 2022 9:40 am Laws in US states allow us to have firearms for protection, to defend ourselves and others. Self defense is all about the threat, when Jackson the robber and his accomplice were in the convenience store, Williams the clerk's use of a firearm was self defense to protect himself and patrons in the store. When Jackson the robber and his accomplice left the store there was no longer a threat to Williams the clerk or the customers there. They could have barricaded themselves and waited for police to arrive. Williams pursuit of Jackson outside the store made him a vigilante. Law enforcement or sworn members of a posse comitatus can pursue. If Williams jumped in his vehicle and pursued Jackson at a safe distance relaying info to police, that would have been a better solution. When Williams stood over Jackson with a gun, Jackson feared for his life and shot Williams.
"In the eyes of the law, Mr. Williams' actions ceased to be self-defense when Mr. Williams pursued Mr. Jackson and the other suspect with a firearm -- and continued to pursue Mr. Jackson after he shot him," Becton said. "The legal distinction is clear: when your property and life are being threatened, an individual is legally justified in using deadly force in self-defense," she said. "However, once the threat of harm has dissipated, the victim of a property crime cannot then use deadly force to reclaim stolen property."
https://abc7news.com/antioch-homicide-c ... /12519257/

The same applies with your home, defending yourself from a burglar in your home and shooting and possibly killing him is one thing, pursuing the burglar down the street and shooting him is totally different. There are news stories all the time about momma/poppa store owners pursuing a robber down the street with their gun and shooting the robber or shooting an innocent bystander and the owner is charged.

Years ago we had family friends who owned a liquor store close to where this shooting happened. They kept a shotgun behind the counter and the adult daughter told us that a cop friend told them if they shot a robber outside drag him inside. Forensic evidence would likely have shown where the perp was shot.
AND, cannot shoot the guy to protect your property. If you come up stairs and the guy is standing there holding your TV, can't shoot him. If you catch him in your garage stealing your catalytic converter, cannot just shoot him..gotta be a threat to you. Now if that guy stood up with the sawzall in his hand..threat-But if he just stood up..probably not.

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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I’d say the instance depends on your state laws CDFingers. There are instances where it legal to shoot someone robbing you. In Texas there is a time component involved. I know it exists, but the likelihood of me taking action over possessions is pretty small so I have not committed it all to memory. Let’s not encourage generalization statements as being factual or good.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Ike I said there's numerous instances in AZ where thieves have been shot and killed on private property.
One was just last year and the perp wasn't armed. No charges.
What Should I Do if I am Charged with Murder?
Using deadly force to shoot an intruder entering your home may be justified under Arizona’s Castle Doctrine and self-defense statutes. However, shooting someone who is stealing your car from your driveway may result in a murder charge.

If you use deadly physical force and you are charged with murder or another crime, it is vital that you seek legal advice immediately. Arizona self-defense laws are complicated. They involve proving what a reasonable person would do, which can be tricky.

If you claim self-defense, it is up to the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a reasonable person would not have taken the same action to protect themselves or another person. However, juries are unpredictable
https://www.orentcriminallaw.com/blog/c ... al-my-car/
Happiness is a worn gun. - Dan Baum

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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tonguengroover wrote: Sat Dec 10, 2022 3:09 pm Ike I said there's numerous instances in AZ where thieves have been shot and killed on private property.
One was just last year and the perp wasn't armed. No charges.
What Should I Do if I am Charged with Murder?
Using deadly force to shoot an intruder entering your home may be justified under Arizona’s Castle Doctrine and self-defense statutes. However, shooting someone who is stealing your car from your driveway may result in a murder charge.

If you use deadly physical force and you are charged with murder or another crime, it is vital that you seek legal advice immediately. Arizona self-defense laws are complicated. They involve proving what a reasonable person would do, which can be tricky.

If you claim self-defense, it is up to the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a reasonable person would not have taken the same action to protect themselves or another person. However, juries are unpredictable
https://www.orentcriminallaw.com/blog/c ... al-my-car/
In 2018, the Ohio House and Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto of House Bill 228. The bill places the burden of disproving a self-defense claim on the prosecution. Additionally, some states (including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) have replaced the common law “reasonable person” standard, which placed the burden on the defendant to show that their defensive action were reasonable, with a “presumption of reasonableness,” or “presumption of fear,” which shifts the burden of proof to the prosecutor to prove a negative.
Self-defense laws in at least 23 states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee West Virginia and Wisconsin) provide civil immunity under certain self- defense circumstances. Statutes in at least six states (Hawaii, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota and Tennessee) assert that civil remedies are unaffected by criminal provisions of self-defense law.
https://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and ... round.aspx

One could be exonerated in a self defense shooting and still be ruined financially by a civil law suit.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: California robber kills clerk, but it's not murder

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Another case of an armed pursuer, this time the pursuer lived and the suspect died. This happened in South Kitsap, WA.
A South Kitsap man charged with first-degree murder for chasing down and killing the driver of a vehicle whose occupants he suspected of stealing mail said he acted in self-defense after attempting to block their vehicle in a cul-de-sac near his home. Chad Michael Landon Wilson, 39, was found at his residence a short distance from the scene of the shooting in South Kitsap by Kitsap County sheriff's detectives. Richard Utaifeau Taii, 31, of Puyallup, released two hours prior to the shooting from the Kitsap County Jail, was found dead in the driver's seat of a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe from a bullet wound to his head.
Wilson told investigators he saw a white SUV pull onto his street and drive slowly as a passenger opened mailboxes. At first he tried to hail the SUV on foot, but then drove his pickup truck after the SUV, worrying that a $1,500 check for which he had been waiting had been stolen, according to court documents filed Wednesday. Wilson said he attempted to block the SUV in a cul-de-sac and exited the truck with his 9 mm Sig Sauer handgun. “With the gun in hand, he began waving both of his arms over his head in an attempt get (sic) the vehicle to stop,” a Kitsap County sheriff’s detective wrote. “Chad said the SUV drove at him at a high rate of speed, causing him to fear for his life, so he shot one round into the SUV as it passed by him approximately two feet from where he was standing." Deputies obtained surveillance video from multiple homes on Brady Place that showed the incident, according to court documents. The Tahoe continues past the truck and comes to rest where patrol located it.” Investigators began searching the area for a truck and found one in the driveway of Wilson's home.
The woman said that after she and another woman had picked up Taii from the Kitsap County Jail earlier that evening, they drove first to Walmart and then to 7-Eleven for pizza and scratch tickets before driving to the neighborhood where Taii was shot. Taii’s girlfriend said she had opened a mailbox but claimed that no other mailboxes were opened by her or others in the vehicle. "At least" one piece of mail from the neighborhood was visible in the SUV, and a deputy found that the mailbox at Wilson’s home on Chasewood Court and others on the street were open, according to court documents. Taii was being held on $25,000 bail for two counts of second-degree burglary and one count of first-degree theft. He had been accused of stealing from storage units in the summer of 2021, according to court documents.
https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/bl ... 799631007/

First degree murder might be overcharging instead of manslaughter, but Wilson could win over a jury on a self defense plea.
https://www.washingtongunlaw.com/lawful ... lf-defense
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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