crimesider

Legally blind man killed friend, saved by "stand your ground"

John Wayne Rogers Seminole County Sheriff's Office

A legally blind Florida man who shot and killed his friend during an alcohol-fueled argument has won immunity from prosecution under the state’s “stand your ground” law, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

John Wayne Rogers, 40, shot and killed James DeWitt, 34, with a rifle in Rogers’ home in May 2012 after a day of drinking.

Rogers’ trial on first-degree murder charges began Monday in Seminole County, but on Friday, a judge ruled that Rogers acted in self-defense when he shot DeWitt in the chest, reports the Sentinel.

DeWitt's girlfriend, Christina Robertson, told police that she and DeWitt had come to Rogers' home the night before to drink and hang out. She said that at around 10 a.m., Rogers and DeWitt went out for more beer and spent the next few hours drinking. She said that both men sustained injuries to their faces from "play fighting" and that DeWitt ended up passed out in the computer room of Rogers' house.

According to the paper, Rogers testified that when he went into the computer room and told DeWitt to leave his home, DeWitt attacked him, so he retreated to another room to get his rifle. Rogers reportedly told the court that when he pointed the gun at DeWitt, his friend charged him, and Rogers felt he had to shoot.

In the initial police report, the officer who took Rogers and Robertson's statements, wrote, “I believe that the use of deadly force by Rogers was not lawful.”

  • Julia Dahl

    Julia Dahl writes about crime and justice for CBSNews.com

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