Man shot while swinging bat convicted of aggravated assault

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Last week, I wrote about a Georgia man who claims he shot a 17-year-old girl in self-defense, though there are questions as to whether he did or not. It raises questions as to just when a shooting is self-defense and when it isn’t. It’s an interesting case study for discussion on matters of defending yourself.

Today, we’ve got a different case of self-defense.

You see, it was the person who was shot that was on trial.

A Bulloch County jury found a Brooklet man guilty of Aggravated Assault this week in a case that garnered attention after two parties were charged as the primary aggressor.

Case Background

The case stems from an incident in May 2020 involving Robert James Littleton, Lloyd Fortier, and JF. BCSO deputies had served Littleton with Criminal Trespass warnings in January 2020 because of an incident with Littleton and JF’s father. As a result, Littleton was barred from entering onto the Fortier property.

On the date in question, Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies responded to an incident at the Fortier home after Littleton reportedly showed up, unannounced, in hopes of picking up a daughter he shared with his ex-wife, JF.

Lloyd Fortier, his wife JF, and JF’s mother, Tabitha Hanks, told law enforcement on May 20, 2020 that Littleton parked his car on the shoulder of the road in front of the home. JF exited the house and approached the vehicle to knock on the window in hopes of talking with Littleton about the children and some reportedly inappropriate messages sent by Littleton to JF.

After tapping on the window, JF reported to police that Littleton opened the vehicle door, which struck her, and began swinging a metal baseball bat. Lloyd Fortier, who was near the home’s door, quickly retreated inside to retrieve a 9mm handgun. The parties told police that Littleton was cussing, shouting that he would ‘kill all you mother *******s,” and refused to get back in his vehicle. Fortier reportedly fired one shot at Littleton’s feet ‘to scare him’ away from JF, prompting Littelton to get back in his vehicle. JF told police that Littleton swerved toward her with his vehicle twice before departing down the road, still yelling out the window.

Littleton was apparently struck in the leg by the round.

However, since he was swinging a club–one of mankind’s oldest lethal weapons–Fortier was in the clear with regard to it being a self-defense shooting.

A lot of people apparently don’t think of a bat as a lethal weapon. After all, we buy them for children to play games with–possibly one reason aliens don’t want to talk with us–so we often don’t think of them in quite that way.

Yet, as I mentioned, they’re clubs. They’re wooden or aluminum implements that can bludgeon a person to death. More than that, they’re a force multiplier, a tool that allows someone to cause significantly more damage than they might have without it.

Even with that, Fortier still faced criminal charges before the DA’s office simply declined to continue prosecuting him.

Under Georgia law, that shouldn’t have happened.

However, Littleton is fortunate. Fortier would have been just as justified in using lethal force to kill him. In fact, most of us would have advised him beforehand not to fire any kind of warning shot, that if he was justified to use lethal force, use it to stop the threat in the way most likely to stop the threat–a shot to center mass.

Fortier didn’t, which is good for Littleton.

Though now he’s going to prison for aggravated assault for swinging that club at people and getting himself shot in the process. Sucks to be him.