Sanford and Son
With yesterday’s murder charges brought against George Zimmerman, and the killing spree in Tulsa still relatively fresh, I thought it worthwhile to examine the startling parallels between the two.
Of course, in both we have Caucasians shooting and killing African-Americans. And it appears that we’ll have murder charges in both. But there’s something else the two have in common.
The “stand your ground” laws.
We have here the Sanford and Son cases. Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. Jake England is the Son; his father, Carl England, was killed two years to the day before his killing spree.
Carl’s killer, Pernell Jefferson, claimed justifiable homicide under Oklahoma’s 2006 “stand your ground” law, which has very similar language to the Florida version. He was granted immunity and served no time for the killing, though he was charged with attempted first-degree burglary and possession of a firearm after a previous felony conviction.
Carl had gone to the apartment of his daughter, Carly England, and her boyfriend, Damien Neal, at Carly’s request. According to Neal’s courtroom testimony, Jefferson had come to the apartment asking for marijuana, but Neal told him (through the closed screen door) that they didn’t have any. Carly then told Neal that she didn’t know who Jefferson was, at which point Neal told Jefferson to leave.
Neal further testified that Jefferson then forced the screen door open, and the two started shouting at each other. Neal then grabbed a baseball bat and hit Jefferson with it. Jefferson left, saying that he’d be back with “something for you.” When he returned less than a minute later, he started kicking on the rear door of the apartment. Carly called her father and asked him to come over and help.
Carl arrived with Jake. Jake stayed outside in the front, while Carl entered the apartment from the front. At the same time, Jefferson kicked in the back door. Carl attempted to talk to Jefferson, but Jefferson kept coming toward him. Carl then hit Jefferson over the head with a wheelbarrow handle. He attempted to hit Jefferson one more time, but before he could, Jefferson pulled his pistol and shot Carl in the chest.
Jake didn’t witness the fatal shot, but he heard it. And he got to watch his father die on the floor of his sister’s apartment.
The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office concluded that Carl England’s death was a justifiable homicide.
I know I said it before, but it bears repeating: if these sorts of cases are considered “justifiable homicide”, then the “stand your ground” laws are seriously flawed. I can only imagine how terrible it is to lose one’s parent to the angry shot of a gun. In Jake’s case, he never even got the closure of justice for his father’s murder.
If he had, there might well be three more innocent people alive today in Tulsa.
- Documents: 2 suspects confessed in Tulsa shootings (timesleader.com)
- Motive discovered for Tulsa shootings (kshb.com)
- Possible Motive In Tulsa Shooting And Oklahoma’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law (mediaite.com)
- Racism in Sanford (logarchism.com)
- Alvin Watts and Jake England to Be Charged with Murder in Oklahoma Shooting Spree (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)