Ignatius Piazza: Your Verdict in the Pharmacy Shooting…

June 8th, 2009  

I must say that last week’s blog, How to Get Charged with Murder, created the greatest number of responses in the history of this blog.

I spent hours reading thousands of your responses and tabulating the verdict of “Guilty” or “Innocent.”

So, here is your collective verdict…

Some of you simply responded with a single word, either  “Guilty” or “Innocent.”

Some of you provided several paragraphs of explanation as to why you were deciding on your particular verdict.

A significant number of you believed he was technically guilty, but could not morally convict him because he did not start the fight and the robber ultimately got what he deserved.

An equally significant number of you expressed pain in doing so, but you would have to find him guilty.

There were also a number of you who believe he will be found innocent of murder, but should have instead been charged with manslaughter. You did not believe his actions were premeditated, but instead involved passion of the moment.

And there were a few who said they would nullify the jury (hang the jury) by refusing to find him guilty no matter what was presented in the case, just to send a tough message to criminals.

In total, it was quite an interesting mix of thousands of responses.  I personally read every e-mail until the wee hours of the morning each day last week. Thank you again for participating.

I will post a small sampling of the responses on this blog over the next two days for those who are interested in reading a few dozen of your verdicts.

The overall verdict, seen consistently through the thousands of responses, was…

For every 12 responses, 10 voted for GUILTY and 2 voted for INNOCENT.

Are you surprised?

I’m not.  Based on the mock jury trials we conduct in our Criminal and Civil Liability lecture during Front Sight courses, we have never seen a unanimous decision for guilty or innocent.

What this should tell you is that you don’t want to put your life in the hands of 12 people unless you absolutely have no choice but to do so.  In this particular case, the pharmacist did have a choice in firing those final shots.  As a result of choosing to shoot after it appears the threat had ended, he must now place his life in the hands of 12 of his “peers”.

Not a good place to be.

I suspect, in this case, the jury’s verdict will be similar to your collective verdict.

The big question is whether the 2 voting “innocent” will stick to their guns and hang the jury or eventually cave in to the pressure from the other ten.

Again, the educational aspect of this blog post is that if you can avoid such a situation, you should.

For those who missed last Monday’s blog and want to know what it was all about, I have included it below for you:

June 1st, 2009

How to Get Charged With Murder…

In a gunfight, there is a very well defined line between justifiable use of deadly force and murder.

Unfortunately, in the heat of the gun battle you are only going to be half as good and half as smart as you are on your best training day, simply from the stress of a lethal encounter.

As a result, the well-defined line between legal use of deadly force and murder can become quite blurry.

Here is real surveillance video that shows how quickly you can go from justifiably using deadly force to being charged with murder.

Understand that – universally – you are only justified to use deadly force when your opponent shows the ability, opportunity, and intent to immediately inflict serious bodily injury to you or those around you.

However, you are only justified to use deadly force to stop the threat.

Once the immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death ends, additional use of force is no longer justified.

Watch this very revealing surveillance video that shows a textbook case of justified use of deadly force that turns into a murder charge when shots are fired AFTER the threat has ended.

Then read my comments following these videos and email me your verdict, guilty or innocent?

Please make sure Javascript is enabled and you have the latest version of the Flash Player to see this video.

Here’s the News Media’s take on the shooting:

Please make sure Javascript is enabled and you have the latest version of the Flash Player to see this video.

Here is a video where the prosecutor essentially shows his case to the media.

Please make sure Javascript is enabled and you have the latest version of the Flash Player to see this video.

Please understand that I have explained the universally accepted rules in the use of deadly force and shared this surveillance video with you for a very important reason: I want to help you AVOID criminal charges should you ever need to use your weapon to defend yourself or others.

This case, unless a plea bargain is struck, will end up in the hands of 12 of our “peers” to decide if a normally law-abiding, upstanding citizen should go to prison for his actions or be set free.

The surveillance video is the key witness because the other store employees were hiding at the time, the other robber had run away, and the unarmed teen is now dead and cannot testify.

However, the jury will likely hear from the man on trial as he explains what was going through his mind and why he felt compelled to get another gun and shoot what appears to be a teenager who was no longer a threat.

The jury, regardless of the “letter of the law” or instructions from the Court, ultimately makes the final decision in the case as to whether a man is guilty or innocent. The jury will decide if he walks free or not.

The question I have for you is this: After seeing the surveillance video, knowing what you know about the justifiable use of deadly force, AND WHAT YOU WOULD DO in the same situation, do you find him GUILTY or INNOCENT?

Please send this blog around the Internet and encourage others to e-mail me this week with their verdict.

I will share the results with you next Monday.

And if you want the knowledge, mindset and skill at arms to justifiably protect yourself and your family, but do not yet have a 30 State Concealed Weapons Permit, the world-class training that Front Sight provides, or a Springfield Armory XD Pistol, then take advantage of Front Sight’s Greatest Course, Gun and CCW Permit Offer Ever. (Also known as the Millionaire Patriot Offer.)

Go to http://www.frontsight.com/free-gun.asp.

I will be posting a different article on this blog each Monday so I look forward to your visit every week.

If you have an interesting photo, story or tip about a relevant topic of interest to gun ownership, firearms training or Second Amendment issues, please feel free to send it to me at:

Info@FrontSight.com or

Again, if you want to take advantage of the Greatest Course, Gun, and CCW Permit Offer in the firearms training industry see this link:


See you next week.

Dr. Ignatius Piazza
Founder and Director
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute

Entry Filed under: Dr. Ignatius Piazza,Front Sight,Monday Blog Posts,Self Defense.

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