After a five hour deliberation, a Texas jury has convicted Raul Rodriguez, a 47-year-old retired Houston-area firefighter, of murder, after he gunned down an unarmed neighbor, Kelly Danaher, during a dispute over noise. The Texas jury rejected Rodriguez’ argument that the killing was justified under Texas’ version of a stand-your-ground law.
Danaher and his family were having a birthday party for Danaher’s wife and young daughter. When the birthday noise became too much for Rodriguez, he went to the Danaher home armed with a handgun and a camera. Once at the Danaher home, Rodriguez got into a heated argument with Danaher and two other men at the party. Rodriguez then began to take a camera video of the situation. On the video, Rodriguez can be heard telling a police dispatcher that his “life is in danger now” and “these people are going to go try and kill me.” Rodriguez next says, “I’m standing my ground here.” Danaher was then shot when someone appeared to grab Rodriguez’ camera.
Under the Texas “stand your ground” law, aka the Castle Doctrine, an individual can use deadly force to defend themselves in their homes, workplaces, and vehicles. The law does not apply if an individual provokes the attack or is involved in criminal activity at the time of the attack. Though Rodriguez held a concealed gun license, his argument that he didn’t pull out his gun until he was standing in the street and Danaher approached him in a threatening manner, was not accepted by the jury. Rodriguez’s reference to standing his ground is similar to the claim made by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who is citing Florida’s stand-your-ground law in his defense in the fatal February shooting of an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin.
Rodriguez now faces up to life in prison.
According to the Legal Community Against Violence organization, Nevada, like 25 other states, allows individuals to use deadly force when they feel threatened, with no obligation to stand down or try to avoid violence once reasonable fear is established. As with the Texas law, Nevada’s “stand your ground” law does not apply if the individual who feels threatens initiates the altercation or is in the process of committing a criminal act. Nevada’s “stand your ground” law was approved by the Nevada Legislature in 2011.
The Las Vegas law office of Lagomarsino Law did not represent anyone involved in the above-referenced case. The commentary is for educational and commentary purposes only. If you would like to be represented by a Nevada attorney, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.