| Humor |

Florida Man Kills Neighbors During Labor Day Party Dispute; Claims "Bush Doctrine" and "Stand Your Ground" as Defense

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Is Florida devolving into a complete "murder first, ask questions later" mindset? (That's assuming you think it already hasn't.)

A Florida man who snuck up on his neighbor's yard and pumped Labor Day party attendants full of lead is claiming that his action should be declared legal not only under Florida's Stand Your Ground law but also under the Bush Doctrine.

According to WESH, the incident occurred Labor Day 2012 in Brevard County. Neighborhood residents say that the shooter, William T. Woodward, had been involved in a nasty dispute with one of the victims, another neighbor, over a roll of duct tape that apparently was never returned.

Woodward finally snapped, and during a Labor Day cookout, he snuck up on the party and shot Gary Lee Hembree, Roger Picior, and Bruce Timothy. Hembree and Picior later died. Woodward told police that the neighbors had called him names and previously promised to "get him."

"Come on, boys," Woodward claims they had yelled earlier that day. "We're going to get him. We're going to get him, all three of us."

According to Florida Today, Woodward's attorneys have now filed a motion to have the case dismissed based on Stand Your Ground.

Stand Your Ground allows Floridians to use deadly force to protect against "imminent death."

Woodward's attorneys are attempting to stretch the meaning of the word "imminent."

"I think legally that term has sort of been evolving, especially given changes of our government's definition of 'imminent,'" Woodward's attorney Robert Berry told Florida Today. "It's become more expansive than someone putting a gun right to your head. It's things that could become, you know, an immediate threat."

The motion claims that based on the victims' supposed threats, Woodward had every right to believe they were actually preparing to kill him. The motion also cites the Bush Doctrine. That's the name given to a set of policies used to justify the Iraq War. Though Iraq had not attacked America, President George W. Bush had argued that we had every reason to expect it would.

So in this analogy, Woodward, a gun-toting Southerner, is Bush, and the annoying neighbors, who had more bark than bite, are Iraq. Sounds about right.

The apparent end game of this thinking: If you ever, even jokingly or in the heat of the moment, tell someone something they could infer means you want to kill them, they have every right to kill you.

"It's probably best that you don't make threats against people -- they may take you seriously," Berry adds.

Let's just hope that, for everyone's safety, Woodward's novel defense strategy does not work. Also, just to be safe, never steal your neighbor's duct tape.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.