A Texas man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after claiming that the Texas version of the Stand Your Ground law justified him gunning down an unarmed neighbor while complaining about the noise coming from his neighbor’s birthday party for his wife and daughter.
Retired Houston area fire-fighter, Raul Rodriguez, was found guilty of murder by a jury despite his testimony that he was defending himself after fearing for his life. Rodriguez had been awaiting his sentence since June 13th when the verdict was read and was said to be facing life in prison, however the guilty man received 40 years and faces parole after 20 years.
“I think it sends a clear message that this was not a case of stand your ground,” prosecutor Kelli Johnson said of the sentence.
In the 22-minute long video used as evidence in the case, Rodriguez can be heard speaking with 911 dispatcher, saying “my life is in danger now” and “these people are going to go try and kill me.” He then said “I’m standing my ground here,” and shot Danaher after somebody grabbed the camera that he was using to record the incident.
Texas’ version of a stand-your-ground law is known as the Castle Doctrine. It was revised in 2007 to expand the right to use deadly force. The new version allows people to defend themselves in their homes, workplaces or vehicles. It also says a person using force cannot provoke the attacker or be involved in criminal activity at the time.
Family members of Danaher sated that the punishment of 40 years in prison was not enough for what this man took from their family that they can never get back.
“Nothing will be enough. It’s not going to bring Kelly back. I just want (Rodriguez) to be in there forever” said his wife.
Another family member added, “eternal fire and damnation is not enough for what you took from us.”
Rodriguez’s attorney William Stradley told reporters that the convicted man’s family is also disappointed in the sentence as they feel that the entire situation is a tragic event for everyone involved, saying:
“He understands that what he’s done is difficult and obviously if he could go back and change it he would.”
Do you think Raul Rodriguez deserved 40 years in prison after claiming Texas’ version of the Stand Your Ground law?