'Stand-your-ground' killer gets 40 years

June 27, 2012 at 9:22 PM
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HOUSTON, June 27 (UPI) -- A Houston jury Wednesday sentenced Raul Rodriguez to 40 years in prison for murdering a neighbor in a so-called stand-your-ground shooting in 2010.

Rodriguez, 47, was spared a possible life sentence, the Los Angeles Times reported. Defense lawyers had asked for a five-year term, saying Rodriguez -- who was convicted this month -- thought he was legally entitled under Texas law to shoot Kelly Danaher, a 36-year-old elementary school teacher, in Huffman.

Rodriguez killed Danaher after having complained about the noise at a party at Danaher's house May 2, 2010.

During the trial, jurors watched a 22-minute video Rodriguez shot of himself going from his house to Danaher's, and demanding those at the party quiet down. In the last 7 minutes of the video, Rodriguez is heard telling the guests at Danaher's house he is afraid they will hurt him, the Houston Chronicle reported.

At one point, as several men from the party, including Danaher, are seen charging at Rodriguez, the shot goes to black and the audio portion contains a laugh and a gunshot before the camera seems to fall to the ground.

The defense argued Rodriguez shot Danaher in self-defense and had a split-second to decide whether to shoot.

Prosecutor Donna Logan said during the trial "self-defense was never meant to protect the one who started the fight" and Rodriguez was employing language he'd learned in a concealed handgun licensing class.

After the sentencing Thursday, Rodriguez's attorney, Neal Davis, told the Times the case is "only the beginning of the cases we're going to see" involving stand-your-ground laws.

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