Billy Woodward, the Titusville, Florida, man who gunned down three of his neighbors in a fatal shooting in 2012, will have his case featured tonight on ABC 20/20. Authorities say that during Labor Day 2012, Billy Woodward, aka William Woodward, shot Roger Picior, Gary Hembree, and Bruce Blake because they had been threatening him and his family. Picior and Hembree died in the ambush, while Bruce Blake survived. Billy Woodward tried to use the Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law in order to escape prosecution.
Court records show that Roger Picior, Gary Hembree, and Bruce Blake were involved in a feud with Billy Woodward that started over an accusation of a stolen birthday gift by one of the children. Since that time, neighbors say that Billy Woodward was threatened and harassed numerous times, and that the victims in the case were neighborhood bullies who made it miserable for everyone in the community. By all accounts, the victims yelled and called Billy Woodward ugly names every time he would come outside his home. One neighbor testified that the men would gesture as if they were going to shoot him.
The harassment was so severe that Billy Woodward had to install a home security system to capture the daily events. Friends and family members say that Billy was afraid for his life. And by September 2012, the tension had increased so much that at around midnight, Billy Woodward crawled down the street to his neighbor’s home and began firing, shooting and killing 39-year-old Gary Hembree. He then shot Roger Picior and Bruce Blake. Picior and Blake were transported to a hospital, where Picior later died. Law enforcement officials say that 31 shots were fired in all.
One of the victim’s sons told Brevard County law enforcement officials that after Billy shot the victims the first time, he came back to finish them off. Here is how Justin Picior describes how Woodward shot his father. “He pushed my dad’s head. He didn’t move, so he shot him a second time.” When Billy Woodward was asked in court why he kept shooting, he stated, “I put more bullets into his body because he was still alive, sir.” Judge James Earp made it clear that Woodward was not standing his ground, and later ruled against him, according to WESH.
“This defendant did not stand his ground.() What he did was decide to preemptively strike at his victims at a moment when it was entirely unnecessary to do so….There was no imminent threat of…harm to the Defendant or his family… [N]o reasonably cautious and prudent person would have believed the the danger could be avoided only through the use of deadly force.”
Inquisitr previously covered ABC 20/20‘s “Diamond Jewelry Heist” and “Gone Girl Kidnapping” reports. Set your clocks and don’t miss tonight’s ABC 20/20, which airs at 10/9 central. Check out the “stand your ground” fatal shooting that was caught on video in Titusville, Florida.
Look at an interview with the only survivor, Bruce Blake.
[Photo Credit: YouTube]