Judge denies Stand Your Ground defense

By Elizabeth Berry, Evening assignment manager, beth@wjxt.com
Published On: Jul 03 2014 11:47:30 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 03 2014 11:59:43 PM EDT

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Christopher Charles

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A local judge denied a Stand Your Ground defense Thursday in a case that stems from an East Arlington shooting in February 2013.

Christopher Charles said he was in an argument with longtime friend Ferneze Jones, when he shot and killed him last year. Charles claimed that Jones threatened violence and came to his home armed with a gun.

Charles told police that Jones threatened to come to his home and shoot him, so Charles armed himself with an assault rifle in anticipation of his return.

According to police, when Jones arrived at Charles' home, he got out of his car and walked toward him. Charles told Jones to leave but Jones kept walking toward him, so Charles fired multiple times, killing Jones.

Duval County Judge Suzanne Bass ruled Thursday that the case couldn't be ruled with a Stand Your Ground defense because Jones did not actually have a weapon, as Charles thought he did, and that he shot at Jones multiple times.

News4Jax spoke with local attorney Rhonda Peoples Waters about the case Thursday night.

"She even noted that the victim was on the ground or falling to the ground. That made it excessive and he would not be immune to prosecution," said Peoples Waters. "Judge bass determined that maybe when the defendant shot the first time, after the victim had made the initial threats and come on his property that may have been reasonable but certainly when he went through and fired eight to nine additional shots, and she even noted that the victim was on the ground or falling to the ground that made it excessive and he would not be immune to prosecution."

Charles is charged with murder. He pleaded not guilty to the charge against him. Jury selection in his trial is set to begin July 28.

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