Tulsa District Attorney Abuse of Power:Charge filed in road-rage homicide
This is a discussion on Tulsa District Attorney Abuse of Power:Charge filed in road-rage homicide within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I agree that the security guard made a wrong decision when he got out of the car. He should have stayed put and let things ...
September 28th, 2007 07:03 PM
I agree that the security guard made a wrong decision when he got out of the car. He should have stayed put and let things play out. Thats the trouble with law, it can be twisted around to fit any occasion. It pays to to cross all the tees and dot all the ies when carrying a gun for protection.
September 28th, 2007 07:07 PM
I think our shooter has himself a world of trouble.
Janq has pretty much spelled it out far better than I could, but the things that really stand out to me are:
1) him stating that he doesn't recall if he shot intentionally.
So he basically set himself up for a manslaughter or negligent homicide charge (whatever the OK equivalent is) if the shot was an "accident" as opposed to an intentional act. With his training, if he did not intend to shoot, why was his finger on the trigger? That right there could qualify as not exercising reasonable caution.
2) The SYG law requires our shooter to be defending against a "forcible felony". From what is reported and what I have read on the OK website that Janq was kind enough to link up, our Bad Guy so far was only guilty of misdemeanor assault and battery.
I hope he has a good lawyer.
September 28th, 2007 07:19 PM
Well, I am not sure how a professional juror would be more prone to corruption than a randomly selected juror. Further, professional jurors could be screened and their performance measured. I really have not devised any formal plan for how that system would work.
Originally Posted by peacefuljeffrey
I have considered the problems the current system has. First and foremost, the randomly selected juror is not necessarily smart enough to comprehend the logic required to make a deductive reasoning. I wonder how many would realize that if a==b and b==c that a==c. A pool of professional jurors would be able to properly assess evidence.
Consider the recent celebrity cases. Now, I was not in the courtroom for any, but the fact that Simpson walked, Blake walked and Specter will probably walk speaks volumes about the abilities of juries. And this happens every day.
There is no Constitutional requirement to randomly select jurors. Moreover, I would not want to be in defense of my life and liberty and see a bunch of uneducated morons [a jury of my peers?] sitting in judgement.
September 28th, 2007 09:06 PM
Here is an update to this case from Gumm's attorney from The Tulsa World newspaper
September 28th, 2007 09:40 PM
First, I agree with what Ron posted. I do think that Mr. Gumm has a good chance of winning this case. However, there are some things about it that don't pass the smell test and it troubles me that a person is not more prepared for a shooting, after it occurs. If your going to carry a gun then you also need to think about how you will react after you have had to use it. Based on what I have read about this and other cases I have come to some conclusions.
- Maybe it is a good idea to carry pepper spray along with my CCW for altercations like this. Using a gun is not always the right thing to do.
- If involved in a shooting I will tell one story and not change it. I will definately say that I feared for my life and thought the guy was going to kill me. Keep it simple and don't embellish it.
- I will claim stress when being interviewed by the police, give just the basic facts and request my lawyer be present for any in depth questioning.
- I will show remorse and cry like a baby, especially when interviewed by the news media. I will say that taking another persons life has destroyed my life and I only did it as a last resort.
Remember these things seem to play out in the media so act accordingly. Being macho, changing your story or blabbering like a fool will not help you when you go to court.
September 28th, 2007 09:59 PM
My son's asked about this exact situation - What if you're being followed/harrassed by a road rager?
You need to know where the nearest police stations are to your office and our home. That's where you go to confront road rage drivers. If the idiot manages to have a moment of clarity, they'll realize you've just turned into the "wrong" parking lot.
Turning into any other lot, or going home, and confronting them with weapon in hand can only end badly. [IMHO]
Protect your family. Reload. Call 911.
September 29th, 2007 03:06 AM
No way would I EVER say a word to the press. I would do everything I could to avoid being photographed by them.
Originally Posted by cherokeetad
If the want to write something, they can dig through the police reports. "Mr. Packer could not be reached for comment."
September 29th, 2007 04:43 AM
Wow, this case is just bad on so many levels it’s hard to find a starting point.
Disclaimer: Obviously none of us have anywhere near all the facts so Monday morning quarterbacking this case is something that will be inappropriate. However, given the stated story, there are some excellent things to consider and hopefully some insight can be gleaned from such a scenario.
Was there a disparity of force?
It could be argued that yes, there was a disparity of force. The aggressor, (Turney) was 20 years younger than Gumm. Gumm stated to Turney that he had health problems and couldn’t fight or run away.
Was Mr. Gumm justified in shooting Mr. Turney?
Apparently a jury of his peers is going to decide that question.
Given the numerous “tactical mistakes” already made by Mr. Gumm, there is still a case to be made that lethal force may have been justified.
Mr. Gumm stated he was in fear of his life. Presumably based on Turney’s actions, obscenities, demeanor, blocking his car in, and the statement/threat “You’re History”, from an angry man 20 years his junior. He may or may not have been able to smell the alcohol on his breath. Lets say he did! Lets also say that the Meth in his system also made him obviously and extremely aggressive and menacing. (for arguments sake) This pretty much fulfills the “Jeopardy” component!
Mr. Gumm stated he attempted to get away and was chased around his car twice. This also goes towards being placed in "Jeopardy."
Mr. Gumm stated that Turney started to shove him. Physical assault and laying hands on him fulfills the “Opportunity” component!
And again, being high on drugs and alcohol, enraged, 20 years younger than a senior citizen who is in poor health, creates a “Disparity of Force” which lowers the standard and giving the unarmed aggressor the ”Ability” component!
(He may not be able to argue the "High on Meth" in his defense, since he did not have that information available at the time! However, he probably saw the results of being high on meth by the level of rage and aggressive behavior and that probably can be argued. Plus the District Attorney had the Meth Toxicology as well as the alcohol level and really based on that should have seen what the guy was capable of and chose not to file the charges)
(Place yourself in Mr. Gumm’s shoes... It’s late, in a dark parking lot, blocked in, feeling cornered, being menaced and threatened by an intoxicated, drugged man 20 years younger, things are happening fast, getting out of control, you’re isolated and you’re almost 70 years old, in poor health, and the thug has another accomplice although apparently still sitting in the man’s car.)
It’s not hard to see how this became a killing situation! But could it have been avoided? Or what could Mr. Gumm have done to put him in a better standing with the prosecutor.
1. He probably should not have pulled into a darkened parking lot and allowed himself to be blocked in and thus isolating himself. He should have driven to a more public and visible location, if not directly to a police station if possible.
2. Having failed in the above suggestion, he probably should have stayed in the car with doors locked and windows up. Then if the BG starts to bash his car and especially if he breaks a window to get at you, you are on much firmer ground shooting at that point. You now have physical evidence of his aggressive behavior in damaging your car in an attempt to harm you.
(It’s a tough call as to whether he should have gotten out of the car initially to see if the guy indeed had a weapon as he approached you or not, but again, having the physical evidence of a forced entry into your car helps your case should you have to shoot him.)
3. Having a cell phone would have been extremely beneficial in this situation.
4. Making a statement like, "I'm not sure if the gun accidentally went off when he shoved me or if I consciously pulled the trigger" could very well sink his whole case! Should have spoke with an attorney first! (A gun that "accidentally" goes off resulting in death is pretty much a prima facie case for manslaughter!)
Regardless of all the tactical blunders there are some caveats in self defense law.
1. Is that you are not required to use “detached reflection” in evaluating your tactical moves in the heat of the moment as a situation unfolds.
2. In the heat of the moment, you are not required to make certain and possibly more appropriate choices as long as the actions you do choose are not considered by a reasonable person in the same situation to be reckless in nature. And as long as you can show you were reasonable in your belief of being in immediate and otherwise unavoidable fear of death or crippling injury.
If you’re guessing it takes great expense and a skilled attorney to successfully argue points like those mentioned above, you’d be right!
And even then, you’re rolling the dice.
I also can’t help but notice that Mr. Gumm did in fact shoot what is considered to be an unarmed man!
And now he’s facing Manslaughter!
Sure, you can argue disparity of force… I just did!
Sure, you can argue there was Ability, Opportunity & Jeopardy present… I did that as well.
And what about “Castle Doctrine?”
Well, my opinion is that the District Attorney should not have brought charges!
(At the very least, the District Attorney if anyone, should know how people high on METH act and what they are capable of doing in a fit of “road rage” and the fact that he was 20 years younger than the senior citizen with health problems who shot him.)
But I’m not the District Attorney. I'm not even an attorney... All I have are my opinions. And those probably won't even buy you a cup of coffee!
I wish Mr. Gumm the best of luck and hope he doesn't end up losing everything including his freedom!
A wise man once said, “Anytime you carry a gun, you’re walking on thin ice… as soon as you pull that gun out, you’ve just begun to hop on that thin ice!” Nothing is 100%, including the outcome!
Carrying a gun is serious business, and taking a life is as serious as serious gets!
Below are two posts in the Reference & "How To" forum where you may find some additional insight on the topic.
Can You Be Too Prepared
Should I Shoot Someone if they are Unarmed
Stay Safe, Stay Armed!
"The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."
September 29th, 2007 11:11 AM
Agreed! The more you say, the greater the chance that you will get yourself in more trouble then you may already be in. Let your attorney do any talking for you. Again, from your perspective, the mantra should be: "I was in imminent fear for my life."
Originally Posted by 1911packer
"It does not do to leave a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."
J. R. R. Tolkien
September 29th, 2007 11:50 AM
Read my post from yesterday to Tye Defender.
An attorney/DA is going to take into account not only what was said by whom but more importantly sequence of events leading up to said statements.
Turney as per the police report did not state "You're history" to Gumm until _after_ Gumm had exited his car with his firearm in hand (which anyone would take as being threatening), and Gumm per his statements to the police confronted Turney.
"Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy
"A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing
September 29th, 2007 06:04 PM
This Tulsa DA is a fruit cake. He has repeatedly refused to prosecute murderers when the police had a good case for murder. He did prosecute a good guy who interrupted a rape in progress. The rapist tried to run over the good guy with a vehicle, the good guy shot the perp dead. The Tulsa DA charged the good guy for carrying without a permit.
When you discuss OK, think of the judge who went to jail for masturbating in court-we have some real wackos in public service here.
"Justice Betrayed? Tulsa D.A. Refuses to Prosecute Brutal Slaying In Midst of Violent Crime Wave
"TULSA, Okla. - July 28, 2004 /Send2Press Newswire/ -- The family of a slain businessman, Shawn Howard, is seeking justice for their son in a case that has many questioning the judgment of the Tulsa County prosecutor's office.
On June 25, Mr. Howard, owner of a downtown tavern, located at 23 North Cheyenne Avenue, died from wounds received during an assault by a vagrant in the early morning hours of June 24. Howard was hit in the head as many as 10 times with a steel pipe. His teeth were broken out. His skull was destroyed.
The killer pursued Howard after he was left stunned and helpless. Howard was attempting to flee when he was hit from behind. After the victim was rendered unconscious, his killer beat him savagely. Tavern manager Josh Martin was also severely beaten.
The night of the attack, Terry Badgewell, a transient with a documented history of violent crime, fled the crime scene and was later arrested on two complaints of assault with a deadly weapon. He was covered in the blood of Martin and Howard. Howard's family and friends trusted that charges would be filed.
They were wrong.
Without even interviewing Martin, the only witness to the killing, Tulsa District Attorney Tim Harris declined to press charges and released Badgewell on the grounds of self-defense. Why? Because, in part, Howard struck Badgewell with a single light blow with a set of brass knuckles he was carrying for protection while transferring receipts for deposit. The eye witness stated Howard was attempting to warn Badgewell away. Indeed, Badgewell's booking photo showed no visible marks of any kind.
The decision has created a polarizing firestorm of discussion and speculation among local residents that leaves many scratching their heads. The police investigation came to a halt after Harris' announcement.
The Howard family is, however, determined to expose the facts, protect their son's memory, and pursue justice for him.
"We just want the facts of this case to come into the open, and let the chips fall where they may," Kay Howard, Shawn's mother, said. "We wanted our report to be objective, and we think it is."
Based on the D.A.'s pledge to the family that he would consider any additional evidence they uncovered, an attorney was hired to conduct an investigation, produce a report and share the results with Harris, who asked for a copy.
The family had faith in the D.A.'s promise. That faith was soon betrayed.
Two days before a meeting was to occur, the family was shocked to read the D.A.'s office statement to the press: They revealed that the upcoming meeting was merely a matter of "courtesy to the family", and that, in effect, their minds were closed.
Mrs. Howard reacted with bewilderment. "We did everything we could. If they have additional information, as they have implied, they at least need to show it to us. After all, we've shared our information with them."
The family's attorney stated: "Under the law, this was not an act of 'self-defense.' Lethal, disproportionate force was used after any credible claim of threat from Shawn toward his killer has disappeared."
Harris has been repeatedly criticized in the community for what seem to be inexplicable decisions not to prosecute violent crimes. This leaves residents struggling to cope with a skyrocketing crime rate that has sent Tulsa into the top 15 cities in the nation, prompting Attorney General John Ashcroft to deploy a task force of FBI agents to help local law enforcement cope.
Citizens who look forward to the success of the City's revitalization projects are concerned that safety issues may become a major stumbling block. And those residents outraged at the D.A.'s refusal feel their only option is to gather the 5,000 signatures necessary to petition to constitute a Grand Jury under the Oklahoma Constitution. Mrs. Howard comments: "Shawn worked tirelessly to make downtown a safer, more interesting place. All we want is justice for Shawn.""
Last edited by Sig 210; September 29th, 2007 at 10:49 PM.
September 30th, 2007 03:49 AM
Jang... I agree!
Like I first said, this was just a bad deal on so many different levels.
I don't think it needed to be a killing situation, and Gumm certainly has himself in a pickle because of it!
If something like that happened to me, I'm pretty sure there's no way I would allow it to even play out like it did.
He had so many tactical blunders one right after another that it ended up in a bad way.
I was only trying to find some ways to argue for a justification.
I also wanted to point out that things play out like they play out. In the aftermath, if your poor tactical decisions early on, is what led to it turning into a killing situation, you're going to have to deal with it skillfully or spend some time in the slammer.
I mean look at the situation as a whole... Here's Mr. Gumm... a retired senior citizen approaching 70 years of age who has the where-with-all to be a lawful ccw holder.
He doesn't seem like a 70 year old "hell raiser". He's probably just a regular guy, who had the misfortune of pulling out infront of a violent nut job! (how many of us hasn't accidentally cut someone off or pulled out in front of someone?) He may not have even realized what he did? And from there, the situation just progressed out of control until he felt trapped and shot.
I was wanting to point out to folks, that in self defense law, you aren't required to make the same choices everyone else would have, just as long as the path you do take isn't considered reckless and that you legitimately have solid ground to feel your life was in danger at the time you shoot.
It's kind of confusing to explain and I don't remember the exact legal terminology used when explaining it. I just remember from training that you are not required to do "X" because everyone else would have done "X". Or be required to do something that may be considered "more correct."
The key is being able to successfully argue those points in court. The judge isn't going to point those facts of law out to the jury for you. You are going to have to have a skilled attorney in order to explain those fine points of the law in a way the jury can understand and will accept. Lawyers like Roy Black and Mark Seiden who are very skilled at mounting such a defense and point that stuff out are not cheap! And if you are using a public defender or the cheapest lawyer you can find, they may not even be aware of such aspects and it will be up to you to get your lawyer up to speed regarding those subtle nuances in the law.
Trust me, I would not want to be sitting in Mr. Gumm's shoes for anything!
"The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."
September 30th, 2007 05:10 AM
As to the 'Or' clauses as you pointed out; "...Has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm...", the law states to prevent death or great bodily harm. There is no statement by Gumm that Turney had means to do him great bodily harm or death.
Great bodily harm cannot be accomplished with a closed fist?
There are legions of DEAD PEOPLE who might wish to argue with you otherwise. Trouble is, they can't because they're DEAD.
Anyone who can close a fist and propel it can cause you grievous bodily harm or death... and here you are, Janq, trying to what, convince me that Turney had no "means" to do him great bodily harm or death?
I honestly do not know where you are coming from. From my perspective, your views on this subject are neither informed nor reasonable.
September 30th, 2007 05:27 AM
Am I saying that? No.
Originally Posted by farronwolf
Would the law allow for that? Arguably.
If you report that a big, aggressive bruiser was headed toward you with balled fists, screaming at you that he was going to " you up!" then damn skippy I would say that you are justified in shooting him.
Or should you wait until your face has been pummelled a couple of times and you're about to black out before you decide, "Gee, I guess he really DOES have 'justification, ability, means,' and intent to boot!"?
I don't know but, it it possible that he escalated the arguement, and after two times around the vehicle then Turney realized that maybe this guy was just bluffing with the gun and decided to shove him? We will never know what Turney was thinking.
I have seen people repeatedly state a belief, on this board, that if a person will continue coming at you in a threatening manner even after he is aware you are armed, that person is a grave threat because he is either fully dedicated to the idea of killing you or he is mentally imbalanced, or both.
How many times has it been stated on this forum that the best thing to do is to drive to a police station or someplace where there are plenty of other peoople around when being followed etc?
Because people have never been beaten, stabbed or shot to death in a place where a lot of other people are around, or within view of a police station? Puhlease. It's happened. Being in the proximity of a cop or a crowd doesn't save your life if someone really wants to kill you.
Surely you are not serious. Turney couldn't have emerged from his car with a weapon concealed on him? How many times have posters on this forum written of having had their hand on a gun that their aggressor never even knew about, and didn't find out about because the aggressor backed off? And yet, you act as though you can't conceive of the possibility that Turney could have been approaching with a weapon that he was concealing. Unbelievable.
For those that think staying in the car would have been a bad idea in this situation with the information we have, well I simply disagree. Turney had no weapon or other device that was presented, to readily smash through the window, or shoot through the thin steel car.
Mostly because you are not willing to approach your own vehicle and start smashing through the windows with a wrench, pipe or bat; or shoot them with a handgun that had been in your waistband at 6 o'clock. Is it really so hard to conceive that Turney could have had any of these things, and Gumm could not risk that they would be brought to bear from close range?
Gumm admittedly was not in a possition to take flight on his feet. Just for kicks go home tonight and get your wife, friend whomever to sit in your car with it running and try to get into the car and get at them. By the way, tell them before this, to take any and all necessary action to stop you, including backing over your, driving away, ramming into some other vehicle, whatever. It should become clear in short order a person alone is not a threat to someone in their vehicle.
You're preaching to the converted. I've used some of those alternatives, including driving on past my house when I thought I might be being followed, just so I didn't lead an aggressor right to my driveway and get forced to have it out with him. I also allowed a black guy to call me "cracker" etc. in a McDonald's parking lot without reacting, when I could have pepper sprayed him, batoned him, or shot him when he started getting in my face for not giving him money.
Just because your in a stand your ground state, doesn't mean you don't have other alternatives.
Don't go getting the idea that because I defend Gumm here that I am some hothead who's itching to shoot someone. I just don't like the way some of you are downplaying the threat that Gumm might have been facing, or at the very least might have "reasonably feared" he was facing.
September 30th, 2007 05:36 AM
I am just not getting through to a couple people in this thread, so I'm just dropping out of this one. Maddening that some people are just flat-out refusing to "get it," and moreover, won't respond to citations of specific instances of where they are creating strawmen, or leaping to unfounded suppositions.
Have fun, guys.
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