Monday, April 28, 2014
The Byron Smith trial resumes this morning. He has decided not to testify. Closing arguments will start soon.
Smith’s soliloquy during the lengthy audio recording of the shootings and their aftermath does not serve him well because he does not appear to be in any distress. Instead, he seems to be narrating an execution with about as much passion as a medical examiner describing an autopsy that he is conducting.
The legal test for self-defense is whether he believed that he was in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily harm and whether his belief was reasonable. That is, whether a reasonable person in the same situation would have believed that he had to use deadly force to prevent being killed or suffering great bodily harm.
Since the incident happened inside his home, the law also permitted him to use deadly force, if reasonably necessary to prevent the intruders from committing a felony in his home. Again, the word reasonable means that his decision to use deadly force must be judged by what a reasonable person would have done in the same situation.
Would a reasonable person set an ambush and record it starring himself as the executioner-narrator?
Even if jurors conclude that his initial disabling shots were reasonably necessary, will they conclude that the kill shots to the head from close range were reasonably necessary to prevent them from killing him or seriously injuring him or committing a felony in his home?
He knew they were not armed and he never called 911.
There are two counts and the jury will be instructed to consider each separately. Therefore, it is possible that the jury might find him not guilty of murdering the boy, but guilty of murdering the girl.
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