Tuesday, June 13, 2006

S.C. Court of Appeals issues opinion on self defense jury charge

In State v. Lockamy, Dana Lockamy was sentenced to 30 years for the murder of his brother James. James had beaten Dana and Dana returned to the scene with a pistol. When James went to strike Dana with a wrench, Dana was able to locate and disengage the safety on the gun and pump a shell into the chamber. According to the testimony, James dropped the wrench and started to run away. Dana then stood up and walked a short distance holding the gun down by his side. As James ran away, Dana said "don't ever beat me in my head and face like that again, and don't ever come to our father's home and harm him in any way or there will be no warning shot fired the next time." Dana then shot James in the back.

Dana alleges the trial court erred in failing to charge the jury on self defense. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court because Dana could not show that he had no other probable means of avoiding the danger.

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