Joe Hendrix Who Killed Man With Alzheimer’s Will Not Be Charged

On November 30, 2013, End Stand Your Ground blogged on the case of Ronald Westbrook.  We re-blogged it here.


Ronald Westbrook

72-year-old Ronald Westbrook suffered with advanced Alzheimer’s disease.  He wandered away from his home and was shot four times and killed after ringing the doorbell and turning a doorknob at a home in Georgia.

Think Progress now reports that Joe Hendrix, who killed Westbrook, will not be charged.  Walker County, GA District Attorney Herbert “Buzz” Franklin explained his decision saying, “In interviews immediately after the shooting, Hendrix claimed he acted in self-defense. In Georgia, the prosecution bears the burden of disproving a self-defense claim beyond a reasonable doubt. After looking at the facts from Hendrix’ perspective, it would be impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hendrix did not reasonably act in self-defense.”

D.A. Franklin later confirmed that he was referring to the protections for homeowners known as the “Castle Doctrine,” which allows deadly force without a duty to retreat to protect the home.

According to D.A. Franklin, Hendrix told him that Westbrook rung his door bell, turned the doorknob, and then walked away.  Hendrix then got his gun and left the house, going around corner of the house.  He yelled at Westbrook first to stop and then to come to him. There was no external lighting. Westbrook did not verbally respond and began to advance towards Hendrix in what Hendrix described as a fast, aggressive manner.  Hendrix retreated to the front of the house.

Giving the Scarlet O’Hara defense, Hendrix said he was afraid that if the man got by him, his girlfriend in the house would be defenseless.  Hendrix shot 4 times hitting Westbrook in the chest.

Of course, Westbrook is not alive to tell his side of the story.  In my humble opinion, a jury should decide whether a person of reasonable fear would leave out of his home and confront someone who had tried getting into their house.  A jury could ask, if not but for the fact that Hendrix had a gun, would he have acted in that same manner?

R.I.P. Ronald Westbrook.  Our condolences to your family. 


Posted on 03/03/2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Why in heaven’s name not? This was and will always be wrong!!


  2. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:


  3. My condolences to the Westbrook family as well. Thank you for sharing the update and your heart.


    • Hey Joe!
      My heart hurts. Mr. Westbrook should have been shown compassion rather than feared and killed in the name of fear.


      • I agree, my heart hurts as well for the many who’s life’s are taken in such a way. Compassion, acceptance and love are often overshadowed by fear and ignorance for some of us fear is not a reasonable excuse niether is ignorance.


  4. All I can say is HFS. This guy walks out of his house…’s not like he was already out of his house, and he had to RETREAT to become armed. If that don’t take the cake.


    • racer,
      Hendrix got his gun before he left out of his house. He got it so he could walk out armed, looking for whomever it was who had rang his doorbell — in the dark — with the loaded gun. He was under no threat.


      • That’s what I mean. He wasn’t armed when the bell rang, he had to go get a gun. Does everyone but us few answer the door armed ??

        This “perceived threat” crap is way out of control. This is a 72 year old defenseless man.


        • Racerrodig,

          That’s what I mean. He wasn’t armed when the bell rang, he had to go get a gun. Does everyone but us few answer the door armed ??

          I’m sorry for misunderstanding what you previously wrote.

          I don’t understand why Hendrix just didn’t stay inside his house. His girlfriend was on the phone with police. He left her inside while he left the house, then killed Westbrook saying that he was afraid that Westbrook would get by him and enter the house, where his defenseless girlfriend was.

          I’m sick of men like Zimmerman, Dunn, and now Hendrix, using women as their excuse to kill. It’s what I call the Scarlet O’Hara defense.


  5. Every day, I’m understanding these things less and less. how can this EVER be ok? What am I missing? Why don’t I understand?


  6. This is insane!
    The man murdered him.
    He had already left and the ass called him back.
    This is really absolutely getting to be some place I don’t know!
    What a sad, crying shame!!!
    They need to stop that law now.
    All it is, is a license to murder.


  7. In Florida, You can leave the safety of you home when some one rings your doorbell, shoot and kill them, and claim you were standing your ground.

    Listen up Don West
    Knock knock, boom your dead,
    He claimed SYG, sorry your out.


  8. Joe Hendrix should NOT have exited his house.
    GZ should NOT have exited his vehicle.
    Ted Wafer should NOT have opened his front door.

    All three should have called the police dispatcher and WAITED for the police to arrive and INVESTIGATE.


    • Yahtzee,
      You’re in my head. There may come a point where legislatures will need to amend self-defense law to require that parties who are in vehicles and homes call the police, stay inside and stay on the phone until they arrive. If anything happens before the police arrive, then at least the dispatcher will be on the phone to hear what is happening. Dispatchers are the only option of victims at least having an ear-witness.


    • Yet Marissa Alexander was told You should’ve left the room. When SYG means you have no duty to retreat.
      Yet Trevor Dooley was told You left your house armed,that made you the initial aggressor.


      • roderick2012

        Of Course Judge Nelson made sure the ‘initial aggressor’ passage in the text of the jury selection was not included.

        The rule in the state of Florida—if you fire a bullet make sure the person is dead and there are no witnesses.


  9. I wonder if Joe Hendrix was the type of man of spoke often of his willingness to shoot someone if necessary….


  10. NOT that it was necessary to shoot Mr. Westbrook


  11. This is worse than any other case I’ve read about. Where is the self defense when Joe Hendrix initiated all the negativity, including the only act of violence?


    • m1,
      I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m afraid, the “flight” kicks in before the “fight.” If I were inside my house at night with someone outside at my door and doing things to try to enter such as turning the doorknob, I would first turn off all inside lights. Then I would call 911 and while getting a flashlight and along with reporting what is happening, let the dispatcher know that I am armed.

      Common sense says that the dispatcher will instruct me to stay inside and not open the door.

      If that door opens, the flashlight comes on aimed right at the person. For all I know, it could be a friend or neighbor thinking that I’m in trouble and checking on me. All the time, I would have the dispatcher on the phone. I mean, most phones have speakerphones these days. If I had to shoot the intruder, at least the dispatcher would be an ear-witness.

      Now, those actions change if a window is broken to enter or the door kicked from the beginning and anyone doing that is no doubt a criminal with a record. Such a person would not be likely to try and continue entering once knowing the house is occupied. I don’t know what I’d do, but maybe shouting “Get the gun” would stop the intruder. It would be worth a try before being placed in a position to take the life of another.

      I cannot see anyone leaving the security of their home or vehicle to confront people who they later claim killing out of fear.


      • Years ago Mr dreamer and I were watching TV in the back room. I thought I someone said mom & I thought it was my stepson. I went into the front room and I saw a man in the kitchen in the refrigerator. I quickly headed down the hall and Mr.dreamer saw the look on my face, said to take the phone into the bathroom and call 911. While I was in the bathroom with 911, he fought with the guy and got him to his knees and had a butcher knife. 911 wanted to know if my husband had a gun, I said no but he had a knife and had the guy on his knees. Soon after the squad cars arrived, 5 of them.

        They cuffed the guy, and searched him. He was drunk, and said he thought he was in his friends apartment. Stuffed down his pants were hot pockets from my freezer. They told him hes lucky he was alive, he could have been shot to death. I told them we did not have a gun, but if we had could have used it, and they said all my husband had to say is that he was scared for my life.


        • dreamer,
          I’ve heard similar stories of drunk people entering the wrong house or apartment.

          In the days when communities knew all of their neighbors and the town drunk, no one was shot — they called the wife or the son to come get him, or they called the cops who put him in the drunk tank overnight to sleep it off.

          What the cops said to you and Mr. Dreamer is likened to what they told me when I was being stalked and threatened, only I had a gun — one that the Chief of Police called a “pea shooter.” I was warned that if I needed to use it, to make sure that at least one foot was in my doorway.


  12. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    I can not absorb this! This is insane.


  13. Two sides to a story

    At least Joe Hendrix will have to live with his actions the rest of his life. Not going to jail doesn’t mean freedom.


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