Tapanese - "Neighbor guilty of manslaughter in '06 shooting"

This is a discussion on Tapanese - "Neighbor guilty of manslaughter in '06 shooting" within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; This is pretty funny to me. Everyone is always saying don't rely on 911, but everyone is saying "he should have called 911"....

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Thread: Tapanese - "Neighbor guilty of manslaughter in '06 shooting"

  1. #16
    Member Array Dolvio's Avatar
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    This is pretty funny to me. Everyone is always saying don't rely on 911, but everyone is saying "he should have called 911".

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  3. #17
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Agreed with others and I called it as such in the other and prior thread, this verdict is what was expected and is correct.
    Tapanes did not have to open his door nor his metal gate/security door to engage Cotes. What he should have done is dialed 911 to start from when he had an interaction with Cotes in the first round prior to his return minutes later for a a round two.
    As noted by others his being poor or 'kooky' means nothing in so far as law and lawfulness is concerned.
    Definitely a lesson in what NOT to do and how not to react.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

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  4. #18
    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    In my opinion you can thank that second shot for the conviction.
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  5. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    Agreed with others and I called it as such in the other and prior thread, this verdict is what was expected and is correct.
    Tapanes did not have to open his door nor his metal gate/security door to engage Cotes. What he should have done is dialed 911 to start from when he had an interaction with Cotes in the first round prior to his return minutes later for a a round two.
    As noted by others his being poor or 'kooky' means nothing in so far as law and lawfulness is concerned.
    Definitely a lesson in what NOT to do and how not to react.

    - Janq

    +1 Janq

    I would have armed myself and called 911. Then if the idiot starts to break in...BANG! THERE WAS NO REASON TO OPEN THE DOOR! The guy wasn't a threat, he was just some moron outside being a jerk. In response to a comment above: I wouldn't have counted on 911 for my safety, I would be prepared to defend my self if need be. I would hope that the police arrived in time so I didn't have to shoot someone.

    On the other hand it sounds like the punk got what he deserved.
    Mark Twain:
    The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a
    patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.

  6. #20
    Member Array Glock30SF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    There's a big difference between knocking on a door and being a violent threat to someone.

    Questions:
    • How did the homeowner know who it was?
    • If he felt threatened, then why did he open the door at 3am to an unknown person?
    • What was the gist of the argument that justified lethal force?


    A.O.J. Doesn't appear that mere knocking on a door constitutes Ability. Being on the other side of a locked door, it's hard to claim that a supposed attacker has the Opportunity to attack. And, without manifest intent or the other two factors (Ability, Opportunity), it's hard to claim true Jeopardy from the "attacker's" actions. Boldly opening the door and firing two shots at a person known to you has no solid pillars holding it up, other than one's word. Frankly, in the anti-gun environment we're faced with, that's a hand of cards I would prefer not to play.

    Trading gumption for brains is usually a very bad choice. That appears to be the case in this instance.

    Now, had he hunkered down in a room down the hallway in his home, awaited a violent break-in, then taken out whomever came down that hallway, then it would by an iron-clad case by comparison. Had he truly been worried about the prior argument (altercation?), he'd be on much firmer ground had he called 911 and lodged a call warning of the neighbor's disposition. Had he been truly worried about outcomes, he should not have opened that door. Sure, sure ... it's his home, his door, his porch, his right to open that door. But look where it got him. He's right. He's effectively dead right. Good for him. He wins, right?

    A good lesson in what not to do.
    You just saved me a lot of typing. Well said!!
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  7. #21
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcb188 View Post
    In my opinion you can thank that second shot for the conviction.
    Yep, that's the action that sealed his fate.
    Had it been one shot though his deal still would have been questionable t the same degree. But most likely he'd have walked if even been charged.

    People have got to know to be moderate in their actions even as they are the 'victim' who has been wronged.
    Like the old saying goes; 'Two wrongs do not make [one] right'.

    - Janq
    "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

  8. #22
    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    It comes down to the same old thing. You can use sufficient force to repel the attacker but when you exceed that, you exceed the bounds of self defense and YOU become the aggressor. This is the way it is in most states. The right to self defense is not a limitless right.
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  9. #23
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    + 1! ^^

    - Judge Roy Bean
    "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

  10. #24
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    He was on the other side of the door and not an immediate threat.

    You're not allowed to shoot someone 50 yards away because they have a knife. They need to be close enough to be a threat.
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  11. #25
    Senior Member Array Phillep Harding's Avatar
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    Dolvio, #16: Calling 911 just in case the police could get there in time to deal with the disturbance is not "relying on 911". It's "saving ammo".

    Had this been out where it takes hours or days for the police to show up, I'd be all for Tapanese going outside to deal with the problem. There's just too many ways for someone to kill the occupant of an isolated home, starting with burning the place down. (I generally had at least 10 gallons of gas on hand for the outboards and the chainsaws, and the walls of my shack would not stop a BB gun.)

    But, no this sounds like it happened "in town", and what's sensible in one place can be idiotic in the other. In this case, being sensible means "Dial 911, back away from the door, keep the door covered, and try to keep track of the BG. Shoot him if he comes in." Even though that could be treated as "Laying in ambush" by an zealous DA.

    Hmmm, I notice no one mentioned Tapanese's phone working, or if he had a phone. "No phone" would change things a bit. Anyone know?

  12. #26
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    "Tapanes' manslaughter conviction thrown into doubt"

    The plot thickens. This should get interesting;

    By LARRY KELLER

    Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

    Friday, May 23, 2008

    WEST PALM BEACH — The conviction of Jose Tapanes for manslaughter was thrown into doubt this week after a juror contacted his lawyer to report possible juror misconduct.

    Tapanes, 63, was charged with first-degree murder and convicted May 16 of manslaughter with a firearm in the shotgun September 2006 slaying of his new neighbor in The Acreage, Christopher Cote, 19. He faces up to 30 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for June 9.

    Tapanes' attorney, Public Defender Carey Haughwout, asked Circuit Judge Charles Burton to allow jurors to be interviewed, and she also asked for a new trial, saying the verdict was not consistent with the evidence presented at trial.

    Burton didn't rule on the motions in order that the state attorney's office can do some research and respond. Another hearing was set for Thursday.

    "This is potentially a long drawn-out thing," Burton said, who asked if attorneys could reach a plea agreement rather than have a possible retrial. "It's not first-degree murder any more and there is only so much that can happen," he said.

    Haughwout says she was contacted by juror Adele Favorito of Boca Raton after the trial ended. Favorito told her the jury favored acquitting Tapanes by an 8-4 margin, but unanimously voted for a compromise verdict of manslaughter after jury foreperson Todd Underwood - who is related to a judge in another state - said the defendant would face only two years of confinement, or time served if convicted of manslaughter.

    If true, Haughwout argued in a motion, "it constitutes an agreement to disregard the law that requires jurors not to consider sentencing as part of their deliberations. An agreement to disregard the jury instructions constitutes misconduct for which a new trial may be granted."

    Reached by telephone Friday, Underwood denied Favorito's assertion about him. "I had nothing to say about any punishment," he said.

    Favorito also told Haughwout that jurors debated the meaning of the word "prudence" during deliberations and that Underwood used his i-phone during a recess to look up an Internet dictionary definition which the panel then relied upon.

    If true, that would violate a prohibition of unauthorized materials being taken into the jury room, Haughwout said.


    Assistant State Attorney Andy Slater said in closing arguments that Tapanes did not act as a "reasonable, prudent person" would have when he failed to call 911, and when he opened his door after an angry Cote started knocking on it after a 3 a.m. argument between the two men.

    Underwood confirmed that jurors discussed the meaning of prudent or prudence, but declined to say if he provided an online dictionary definition.

    "A lot of (Favorito's) information is incorrect, or partial truth in a way," he said. "This is crazy. She was a very interesting person."

    Judge Burton said the compromise verdict issue raised by Favorito merely sounds like "juror remorse. I think if you polled juries, maybe 70 percent of them are talking about what's going to happen to the guy."

    The judge said the dictionary allegation, however, is of greater concern.

    In addition to possible juror misconduct, Haughwout also is seeking a new trial on grounds that the evidence presented at trial didn't support a manslaughter verdict. Among the reasons she cited was the testimony of the medical examiner who said it was impossible for Tapanes to have shot Cote in the abdomen in the way that a key state witness described.

    "The prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Tapanes did not act in self-defense," Haughwout wrote in her motion for a new trial.

  13. #27
    Member Array braap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolvio View Post
    This is pretty funny to me. Everyone is always saying don't rely on 911, but everyone is saying "he should have called 911".
    I don't feel that anyone should rely on 911 to protect themselves, but in a case like this it could help the jury come your way if they heard a panicked and terrified call to a 911 operator just before you "defended" yourself.

  14. #28
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    Man gets 15 years in jail for for fatally shooting neighbor on his front doorstep

    He'll probably die in jail over a bad shoot

    By Sally Apgar | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
    4:08 PM EDT, July 11, 2008

    A 64-year-old man who believed he was protecting his home, was sentenced this afternoon to 15 years for fatally shooting his neighbor on his front doorstep with a 12-gauge shotgun at 3 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2006.

    Jose Tapanes, a slight man with a history of medical problems, including three strokes, was convicted of manslaughter with a firearm by a jury in May.

    In court this afternoon, Tapane's public defender Carey Haughwout told Circuit Judge Charles Burton that she plans to appeal the verdict and his sentence in part based on jury misconduct and self -defense under the Florida "Stand Your Ground Law," that allows the use of deadly force when a person feels they are preventing death or bodily harm.

    "We're going to appeal the whole thing, we want a new trial," said Haughwout minutes after the hearing.

    On Sept. 17, 2006, an intoxicated Christopher Cote, 19, who had just moved into The Acreage neighborhood, took his dog for a walk when he encountered Tapanes. An argument erupted between the two because Cote questioned why Tapanes was carrying a gun with him as he took out his trash. At trial, the defense said Cote shoved Tapanes and threw a beer bottle at him. Cote then returned home and argued with family members about calling the police.

    Minutes later, he drove his Jeep into the driveway of Tapanes' house and began honking the horn, according to testimony. Then he got out, walked up to the house and started banging on the door.

    The defense argued that Tapanes believed Cote was going to hurt him. The prosecution said Tapanes had plenty of time to call 911.

    Tapanes picked up a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun and fired into Cote's chest. Once Cote fell, Tapanes fired again.

    Sally Apgar can be reached at sapgar@sun-sentinel.com or 561-228-5506.


    Jose Tapanes, left, was sentenced to 15 years for fatally shooting his neighbor on his doorstep. (Sun-Sentinel.com/Jim Rassol / July 11, 2008)

  15. #29
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    ^^ It would be interesting to read the transcripts and see the evidence, in the Tapanes trial.
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  16. #30
    Senior Member Array Shadowsbane's Avatar
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    You know hearing him over a recording argue that he wasn't pointing a weapon at the victim really didn't help his case either.

    Doesn't make him guilty, but at the same time doesn't paint him in the best possible light considering what happened so shortly after.

    Also doesn't paint the victim in a great light considering he knew the guy was armed and thought the weapon was pointed at him just moments earlier.
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