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.
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.