Justice is a long time coming, but it was finally served in a Philadelphia courtroom this week as a jury returned a “not guilty” verdict for a man accused by prosecutors of murder, when he was acting in self-defense.
While on the stand, Eucal O’Connor admitted he shot William Rodriguez nearly two years ago outside a car shop the pair worked in, but claimed it was in self-defense because the victim was repeatedly punching him, upset that O’Connor had just peed on his tools outside the shop.
Prosecutors say O’Connor shot the unarmed man through the heart, when instead he had a duty to flee. They also argued to tack on a voluntary manslaughter charge, but the judge denied the request.
I think this was a weak case from the start, and clearly the jury agreed. How exactly is one supposed to run away when you’re physically being beaten? Eucal O’Conner also cooperated with officers after firing the shot that killed William Rodriguez, but his cooperation only led to handcuffs and a jail cell.
His attorney, Paul Lang, embraced the man he has been fighting for.
“Eucal never understood why he was charged in the first place. He put his faith in the system by coming over here legally. By getting a concealed carry permit and a gun permit legally, and by going to the police station immediately after,” Lang said. “His faith is not restored in the prosecutor’s office because of their horrible decisions (by supervisors), however, he does still have his faith in the jury system.”
Philadelphia’s District Attorney has been shunting many individuals arrested for illegally carrying a firearm off to diversion programs instead of taking those cases to court, but that doesn’t mean he’s some sort of Second Amendment advocate, as this prosecution clearly shows. A man who was being beaten is told by prosecutors that he didn’t have a right to defend himself, and instead needed to try to run away to safety. Thankfully the jury disagreed, and now Eucal O’Conner is a free man.
Philadelphia has a violent crime problem, for sure. Shootings are up in the city, and just the other night there were five people shot in the span of about twenty minutes across Philadelphia.
Around 8 p.m. on 17th Street near Wingohocking, police say a triple shooting left a 24-year-old man dead after being shot in the chest. Two additional 24-year-old men are in stable condition at the hospital.
In Southwest Philadelphia, police say a 30-year-old man was shot on the 5500 block of Regent Street around 8 p.m. He was transported to an area hospital where he’s listed in stable condition.
Two more shootings left two others injured Tuesday evening, and so far police have no suspects. I’ll go out on a limb and predict that when suspects are taken into custody in these cases, police won’t be arresting any concealed carry holders. Philadelphia’s surge in violent crime isn’t happening because of legal gun owners like Eucal O’Conner. Instead, it’s the same scourge of drugs and gangs that’s driving the increased number of shootings in the city. Unfortunately, with a District Attorney hostile to the Second Amendment and self-defense, cases like O’Conner’s may end up in court, even when it’s pretty clearly an act of self-defense.