“JR'”, a pseudonym, of Randolph, Massachusetts was charged with Armed Assault With Intent To Murder, Discharging a Firearm Within 500 Feet of a Building and Improper Storage of a Firearm after a dispute with his neighbor over a fence ended up in a shooting. According to reports JR and his wife were in their yard last Friday night when the neighbor went onto JR’s property to discuss an ongoing dispute regarding a fence that separates the neighbor’s properties. The discussion turned violent when JR hit the neighbor who responded by throwing a beer can at JR. Supposedly JR then pulled out a gun and shot the neighbor in the stomach. Afterwards JR tried to stop the bleeding and tended to the man’s wound. JR’s wife told police that he had been out drinking earlier in the evening and that he becomes violent when he drinks. JR is licensed to carry firearms. His bail was set at twenty thousand dollars by a judge in the Quincy District Court.
A couple of thoughts come to mind when reading this article. Did JR act in self-defense? Even if he did the law in Massachusetts makes clear that people can use force in self defense however no one can use more force than is reasonably necessary under the circumstances of this case. In a case like this jurors will consider the relative sizes of the combatants, their actions and the location of this incident. Keep in mind that this happened on JR’s property suggesting that the neighbor could have been the aggressor. The neighbor used a dangerous weapon on Leonard prior to the shooting. Further actions by the neighbor not addressed in the article could give rise to a legitimate self-defense claim. The fact that JR immediately assisted the neighbor suggests that the shooting might have been an accident. An “accident” in Massachusetts is defined as an unexpected happening that occurs without intention or design on the defendant’s part. It means a sudden, unexpected event that takes place without the defendant’s intending it. Here, brandishing the gun does not necessarily mean that JR intended to fire it. The act of shooting might have been an accident, a valid defense to these charges.
Believe it when I tell you that many people, good people, get involved in incidents like this that result in having to answer to criminal charges. It is important to get a lawyer immediately so that you can get advice on how to proceed with your case. You can call us anytime at 617-263-6800 or online. No case is defenseless. Acting quickly to protect your rights is critical if you want to avoid a conviction.