Project #63045 - CRM-321

Mark is a rabid Washington Redskins fan.  He lives next door to Larry who is a rabid Dallas Cowboys fan.  As fate would have it, Dallas and Washington play each other in the NFC Championship game.  Washington shuts Dallas out 40 to 0.  Mark and his adult son John were on the front porch of Mark's home celebrating wildly.  Larry, unable to stand it anymore, grabbed his 9mm pistol and went over to Mark's house.  He knocked John unconscious and began pistol whipping Mark all the while screaming that he was going to kill him.  All of the sudden Larry realized what he was doing and stopped. He said that he was sorry, put the 9mm in his pants, left Mark's property and went into his own home.  Mark, having recovered from the beating, went into his home, grabbed a butcher's knife, and went over to Larry's house.  He walked inside and found Larry in the front room, standing 10 feet from an open back door.  He told Larry that he was going to cut his heart out.  As Mark began approaching Larry, Larry pulled the 9mm from his pants and shot Mark dead.   John, who had awoken by this time, ran over to Larry's house.  He walked into the house and found his dad dead on the floor with Larry standing over him.  He looked at Larry and said "I am going over to my dad's house, going into his attic, getting his shotgun and coming back here to kill you."  Larry then raised the pistol and shot John dead as well.  

Larry is charged with two counts of murder.  At trial he claims self-defense with regard to both shootings.  He argues that Mark had a knife, which is a deadly weapon, and that given the choice between being stabbed or shooting Mark, shooting Mark was the appropriate choice.  He also argues that upon hearing John's threat to kill him; he had a legal right to defend himself against that pending attack as well.  

The prosecutor states that with regard to Mark's death, Larry was the initial aggressor.  Therefore, this was not an unprovoked attack and Larry may not avail himself to the defense of self-defense.  Additionally, the prosecutor points out that when Mark showed up in Larry's house Larry was standing 10 feet from an open back door.  The prosecutor argues that Larry had a duty to retreat before resorting to force.  With regard to John's death, the prosecutor argues that John's threat did not justify Larry's actions.

You are the judge.  How do you rule with regard to each case?  Explain your decision fully addressing all arguments and give the legal analysis that brought you to your conclusion.  

 

Subject Law
Due By (Pacific Time) 03/19/2015 11:50 pm
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