Upstate lawmaker wants to repeal stand your ground law - WNEM TV 5

Upstate lawmaker wants to repeal stand your ground law

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SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Shots rang out at the Lee's Crossing Apartment Complex in Spartanburg County back on April 7, 2012.

Investigators said the shooter, Douglas Williams, grabbed a gun from his car when he and his girlfriend pulled up and saw two men trying to break into his girlfriend's apartment.

Williams shot and killed Michael Hill-Gentry and Darren Hill. The two were cousins, but Gentry's mother, Arlene Smith, said Williams didn't have to kill her son.

"There's no proof that Michael or Darren committed a crime or that they posed any harm to his girlfriend," Smith said.

Investigators cleared Williams of wrongdoing under the state's stand your ground law.

"I think it is the right of everyone to arm and protect themselves," Rep. Harold Mitchell said.

Mitchell said there are some cases in which criminals have more protection than victims. However, those who support stand your ground say it's a good law of protection.

"We're not saying not to protect yourself. What we're trying to do is to protect the people who need that protection," Mitchell said.

He introduced a bill to repeal part of the stand your ground law that states that if a person is presumed to have a reasonable fear, that person doesn't have to retreat, and can use deadly force.

"I can come in, shoot you and then claim I'm standing my ground," Mitchell said.

He said the bill, which is also called the Reasonable Protection of Persons and Property Act, would eliminate legal defenses used by those who attack innocent bystanders in public places, their homes, their businesses and their cars.

"Why should anybody in government try to tell someone not to retreat?" Mitchell said.

He said the original law was amended to include stand your ground back in 2006. He said he wants the law back in its original state, which is a law designed to protect real victims.

Mitchell also used the  Martha Childress case as an example. She's the Upstate native and University of South Carolina student who was shot and paralyzed in Columbia last year. Lawmakers say the man accused of shooting her is expected to use stand your ground as a defense in the case, even though Childress wasn't the intended target of the shooting.

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