In most cases of self-defense, the shooter never goes to trial. It’s clear it was self-defense and so they’re never prosecuted in the first place.
While there have been high-profile exceptions, a lot of times when a self-defense shooter does make it inside the courtroom, it doesn’t work out well for them. This is especially true in anti-gun states.
Yet sometimes, the armed citizen does come out on top.
An Anne Arundel County jury on Monday acquitted a Pasadena man of murder, manslaughter and felony firearms charges, agreeing that he acted in self-defense when he fatally shot an acquaintance who drove to his home despite warnings and then charged him.
The verdict came hours after prosecutors and defense attorneys finished their closing arguments to the panel. Prosecutors said the homeowner was too quick to open fire on Jeffrey Dickinson. Gregory Korwek’s defense attorneys said the 44-year-old left him no choice.
When the jury issued its verdict, Korwek began crying and hugged his attorneys. Then, he embraced his wife. Simultaneously, Dickinson’s family members huddled together with their heads bowed.
“It’s an incredible feeling of relief that he was found not guilty of these charges,” defense attorney Peter O’Neill told The Capital after court. “We still recognize that it’s a tragedy that Mr. Dickinson died … we pray for [him] and his family.”
O’Neill maintained throughout trial that Korwek was justified in shooting and killing Dickinson, who arrived at Korwek’s house in Pasadena drunk, disgruntled and after making threats.
“If it’s not justified under these facts… then there is no right to use self-defense,” O’Neill told the jury.
Prosecutors suggested Korwek was eager to unleash a blast from his shotgun, rather than hunker down and wait for the police to de-escalate the dispute.
The problem with the prosecutors’ argument, though, is that it’s impossible to know if that would have actually worked. Korwek might well have died if he’d tried that approach.
The standard for self-defense isn’t whether you can hide until police arrive, it’s whether you fear for your life. Korwek not only did, he had ample reason to believe Dickinson intended to kill him.
Now, that said, it’s important to remember that Maryland isn’t a Stand-Your-Ground state. They do have a duty to retreat. However, the prosecutors arguing that Korwek should have “hunkered down” suggests they knew damn good and well that retreat wasn’t really an option. They knew Korwek couldn’t get away.
Yet they still believed he should have waited, potentially risking his life, on the slim chance law enforcement would arrive in time to save the day.
Nope. Sorry. I ain’t buying it.
Neither did the jury, though. As a result, Korwek is cleared of all charges and can go about his life. That’s not something you really expect to see happen in an anti-gun state like Maryland, yet here it is. That’s a big win for the good guys, but it really shouldn’t have happened at all. Korwek should never have had to go through all of this.
Unfortunately, Maryland prefers to keep its citizens terrified of defending their own life.