We just got the verdict in the murder trial of Jarrett Jones in Aberdeen, South Dakota: not guilty on all counts.
A Google search will get you there if you want details but basically, Jarrett’s daughter’s whacked out boyfriend came to Jarrett’s place demanding to see her after he had been arrested for drunk driving, with an AR15, a Benelli 12 gauge, and a 9mm Glock. Though the 19-year-old daughter had told him they were through, the boyfriend angrily demanded to see her, threatening to kill her, Jarrett, and others. The 28-year-old man towered over Jarrett, who drew his pistol when the man refused to leave. When he was five feet away, the man started to lunge for Jarrett’s gun, and there was no choice but to fire.
The man fell at the shot, but then while on the ground reached for the pocket where Jarrett believed he carried a gun. One more shot, and it was over. It turned out that the pocket contained a double edged switch-blade in a police evidence bag that had been given back to him when he was released by the officers after his DUI arrest.
It was clear cut self-defense for the first shot (disparity of force and obviously about to reach for the gun defensively displayed by the homeowner in the workshop where the shooting took place), and the furtive movement by a man known to carry a gun in his pocket justifying the second shot.
Local authorities didn’t see it that way. The result was a 26-month legal nightmare that ended with the verdict. Kudos to defense attorneys Marshall Lovrien and Bill Gerdes for some masterful lawyering. Another tip of the hat to Justin Hoffman, the firearms instructor who had certified the defendant for his Enhanced Concealed Carry permit. Unable to attend the trial due to other pressing matters, Justin provided us with an affidavit and copies of his curriculum. This allowed me on the witness stand to testify that the defendant’s actions had checked all the boxes of the state’s own requirements for justifying deadly force.
Another example of why the law-abiding armed individual is wise to document his or her training and knowledge.