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Friday, November 16, 2007

The Price Of Provocation

Robbery Suspect Charged With Murder After Alleged Accomplices Killed By Homeowner
In a case that has brought cries of racism from civil rights groups, Renato Hughes Jr., 22, was charged by prosecutors in this overwhelmingly white county under a rarely invoked legal doctrine that could make him responsible for the bloodshed.

"It was pandemonium" inside the house that night, District Attorney Jon Hopkins said. Hughes was responsible for "setting the whole thing in motion by his actions and the actions of his accomplices."

Prosecutors said homeowner Shannon Edmonds opened fire Dec. 7 after three young men rampaged through the Clearlake house demanding marijuana and brutally beat his stepson. Rashad Williams, 21, and Christian Foster, 22, were shot in the back. Hughes fled.

Hughes was charged with first-degree murder under California's Provocative Act doctrine, versions of which have been on the books in many states for generations but are rarely used. [...]

The district attorney said that race played no part in the charges against Hughes and that the homeowner was spared prosecution because of evidence he was defending himself and his family, who were asleep when the assailants barged in at 4 a.m.

Edmonds' stepson, Dale Lafferty, suffered brain damage from the baseball bat beating he took during the melee. The 19-year-old lives in a rehabilitation center and can no longer feed himself.
This sounds like a reasonable legal recourse to me. The killings, which were self-defense and defense of his home and family on the part of the homeowner, would not have happened without the provocation of the home invasion. Mr. Hughes should be tried for murder.

The Rev. Amos Brown, the head of San Francisco's NAACP and also pastor of Mr. Hughes' church which I'm sure he attends regularly in between marijuana runs, is of course in full "it's all racism" mode. A change of venue has been granted, which is probably a good thing to help mitigate the charges of so-called "racism" - the most overused defense mantra of our time.

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