Killing Quardious Thomas: A Castle Doctrine Case Study | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Killing Quardious Thomas: A Castle Doctrine Case Study

Quardious Thomas

Quardious Thomas

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Courtesy Tonya Greenwood/ R.L. Nave

Quardious Thomas received his GED in May 2013, just two months before his death. He planned to study business at Hinds Community College.

On July 12, just after 5:30 a.m., the police scanner crackled to life after more than four minutes of radio silence.

"I have a domestic disturbance. ...," a female emergency dispatcher said.

"Her husband ... just shot someone trying to break in. ..."

"There is a possible shooting at this location ...

"PD is en route."

Seven minutes and twenty-eight seconds after the first communication, a male law-enforcement officer radioed a fellow cop who was already on the scene, at a cul-de-sac in the northwest Jackson subdivision of Lakeover.

"I'm en route. What happened?" he asked.

"It looks like the guy that's been breaking in vehicles around here already broke into their Park Avenue and inside the man's Chevrolet Avalanche," the officer responded.

"It looks like they shot him with a .38 revolver. ..."

"Got the suspect still here slumped over in the vehicle."

Radio chatter picked up for a while as the city stirred awake. Not far away from the shooting, a dispatcher reported that the owner of a white Chrysler Town & Country wanted to make a report that his windows were broken out. Six other property owners would also report that their car windows were broken out that morning.

Nineteen minutes after the initial disturbance call, a little before 6 a.m., an officer called into the dispatcher to request a criminal background search on the suspect: "Can you run me a Quardious Thomas ... April 3, '93."

Reasonable Doubt

Nothing about that morning makes sense to Thomas' mother, Tonya Greenwood. She doesn't understand why Quardious (pronounced KWA-dare-yee-us), slipped out of the house after midnight on a Friday morning or why the 20-year-old was at the Williams' home, much less anywhere near Eric Williams' truck. If it was her son's plan to break into cars, she's baffled as to why he would target a neighborhood where so many prominent, and powerful, Jackson citizens such as Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba reside.

Between the various reports of officials who responded to the scene and local media who covered the news, Greenwood is confused by the timeline of details and seemingly conflicting details of the morning's events.

And even if Thomas was inside the car, she doesn't understand why Williams would shoot into his own vehicle if he knew that his family was safe inside. She doesn't understand why Williams needed five shots to immobilize someone as skinny as her son. She doesn't understand why it took six days to be able to view her son's corpse or why the number of bullet wounds she and members of her family observed are inconsistent with the various medical reports that detail Thomas' condition before and after he died.

Most of all, Greenwood doesn't understand why Williams will never have to tell his side of the story in a court of law.

"That's the hardest part," Greenwood told the Jackson Free Press during a recent interview at her home in Jackson.

Jackson and Hinds County law-enforcement officials have declined to charge Williams with any crime for his role in the shooting or in connection with Thomas' death.

"(Williams) protected himself, he protected his property and, of course, his home, and he has every right to do that," Jackson Police Chief Lindsey Horton explained to the Jackson Free Press during an Aug. 7 interview.

The JFP used a public-records database to reach Williams. One number listed for his wife was disconnected; when a reporter reached Williams' father, Richard, he said he would have his son call back immediately. In a follow-up telephone call to the home of Williams, a woman said not to call again and threatened to "press charges."

The morning of the shooting, Sheriff Tyrone Lewis, who lives near Williams, told WLBT-TV that he got a text message about the incident from a neighbor around 5 a.m., a half-hour before the domestic disturbance call came in from the emergency dispatcher. Lewis said that when he went outside to head over to the crime scene, he noticed the windows of his personal vehicle were also shattered.

"Anybody that takes it upon themselves to intrude and impede upon people's personal property, they're at risk of losing their life or suffering the consequences that come with it," Lewis said.

Muddy Legal Waters

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The home on Tanglewood Court in northwest Jackson, where a homeowner said he fired several shots after he discovered Quardious Thomas breaking into his truck.

The law providing immunity for Williams is Mississippi's Castle Doctrine, which spells out a range of circumstances in which homicide may be justified. The Legislature passed the law in 2006 on a wave of similar laws around the nation that started with Florida's adoption of a similar legal tool known as "Stand Your Ground," which paved the way for a Sanford, Fla., jury to acquit George Zimmerman for shooting and killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

The Castle Doctrine applies to the immediate vicinity of an occupied vehicle, a dwelling or a place of business—essentially any occupied place with a roof, mobile or immobile—that he or she plans to occupy for at least one night, even a tent. It states that a person who uses the deadly force to do so "in resisting any attempt unlawfully to kill such person or to commit any felony upon him." The law also requires that the person who uses the deadly force must have a reasonable fear that his or another person's life or health is in imminent danger.

Originally designed to clarify self-defense rights, in practice, the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws often muddy legal waters.

The doctrine often is not applied consistently, even within in the same jurisdictions. Five years ago, in 2008, a 36-year-old storeowner named Sarbrinder Pannu shot and killed another man, James Hawthorne Jr., after Hawthorne stole a case of beer valued at $15 from Pannu's store, J&S Food Mart on Medgar Evers Boulevard.

Police charged Pannu with murder, saying the Castle Doctrine did not apply because Hawthorne was fleeing, and Pannu's life was never in danger. Lumumba, then a Jackson councilman representing Ward 2, which includes Lakeover, said at the time: "We can't have people shooting people because they went into the store and got a beer. That's not an acceptable response in this society."

One of the best measures of Castle Doctrine cases is to examine records of the Mississippi State Supreme Court, which has considered only about 10 cases since 2012 where a defendant cited the Castle Doctrine.

Mississippi legal experts say most cases never make it to the courts because local cops and prosecutors make the call on the spot, as Jackson police did with the Quardious Thomas shooting.

Matt Steffey, who teaches constitutional law at Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson, isn't so sure that's the way the legal system is supposed to work. Steffey points to the Sarbrinder Pannu case, which resulted in his acquittal by a Hinds County jury.

"At the end of the day, anytime there is a homicide or a shooting, the district attorney certainly has the authority, the discretion—and the question is whether one thinks they have the duty—to present the facts of each one of these cases to a grand jury and let the grand jury decide whether there was self-defense," Steffey said.

"We don't take the word of suspects when explaining their actions. It is the job of the police and the district attorney to investigate and make sure the facts line up with the story," Steffey said. "If we took the word of the accused in all violent crimes, Parchman (state prison) would be an empty place."

A Good Family

Five months after the shooting, Tonya Greenwood is still mourning the death of her eldest child.

It took her almost three months to work up the strength to organize a vigil that about 30 of Thomas' friends and relatives attended at Lake Hico Park in October. The recent Thanksgiving holiday, the family's first without the young man everyone called "Q," was especially hard, she said. While the loss is great, Greenwood is perhaps more aggrieved over how so many people are almost giddy to paint Thomas as a street thug who got what he deserved.

Thomas was slender, handsome and giving, although Greenwood admits that her son's generosity at times agitated her.

"He would just give away brand-new school clothes that I just bought, just because his friends needed them," said Greenwood, speaking softly with one hand clenching a Kleenex and covering her face.

By some measures, Thomas comes from a good family. His grandfather, Mat Thomas, is a prominent businessman and serves on the board of the Jackson Redevelopment Authority. (He did not return calls for this story.) Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith is Quardious Thomas' cousin.

Thomas stopped going to high school. In 2012, he was arrested in Jackson for house burglary, a crime for which he was serving house arrest at the time of his death. The court never retrieved the electronic-monitoring device on his ankle; Thomas was buried wearing it.

Greenwood said Thomas believed his arrest brought shame on the whole family. After that, something in him clicked, she said: He wanted to grow up and prove that he was a changed person. In May, he completed a GED program through Jackson State University, and was accepted to Alcorn State University. Instead, he decided to get start his general courses at Hinds Community College and planned to major in business.

Less than two months after receiving his diploma, those plans were halted.

Many details of the July 12 shooting remain unclear, but documents compiled by several agencies help fill in some of the holes of the tragic story.

In an incident report Jackson Police Det. Obie Wells Jr. completed later that afternoon, the detective indicated that when he arrived to the home of Eric Williams and his wife on Tanglewood Cove, the primary officer on the scene led Wells to two vehicles, both with the driver's side windows shattered.

One of their cars, a Chevy Avalanche, had blood on the door and inside the vehicle, which appeared to have been ransacked. Wells' report states the homeowner caught an individual breaking into his vehicle, at which time "the homeowner confronted the individual and subsequently shot him."

By the time an ambulance arrived, 15 minutes after the disturbance call, at 5:46 a.m., Thomas was no longer slumped over in the SUV as initially reported. According to a report technicians from American Medical Response wrote, EMTs found Thomas combative, lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds. Thomas shouted that he couldn't breathe and fought with technicians, the report states.

Police transported the Williamses to JPD headquarters downtown for an interview, according to the incident report.

Thomas was taken to University of Mississippi Medical Center seven miles away, where he arrived in full arrest. Emergency-department staff noted six gunshot wounds on Thomas' body, in his left nipple, left forearm, right buttock, right lower back, left middle back and left upper back.

Doctors performed CPR on Thomas; despite the resuscitation efforts, he continued to flatline.

Meeting Force with Force

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Lindsey Horton, interim Jackson police chief at the time of the Lakeover shooting, affirmed the decision not to charge homeowner Eric Williams in connection with Quardious Thomas’ death.

In a twist of irony, the Lakeover shooting might have made bigger headlines had it not coincided with another national story.

One day after the Jackson shooting, on July 13, a jury found neighborhood-watch captain George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder for killing Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

Several parallels exist between the cases, but a few key differences conspired against thrusting Eric Williams and Quardious Thomas into the national spotlight.

In the Florida case of an African American teenager and a nearly 30-year-old man of white and Hispanic heritage, Thomas and Williams are both black and over the age of 18. Unlike Trayvon Martin, who was walking home from the store—a place he had a right to be—Thomas was in a neighborhood where he did not live and found inside a vehicle that did not belong to him.

A physical altercation ensued sometime after Martin asked Zimmerman why he was being followed. The JPD incident report states that the homeowner confronted the individual in his truck.

In November, Clarion-Ledger reporter Jimmie Gates wrote that a police report he obtained indicates that the homeowner told the suspect to raise his hands and shot when the suspect started to "reach and fumble around." It is unclear whether Thomas and Williams exchanged more words or had any physical interaction.

The cases are similar in that police in both cases initially determined the shootings to be acts of self-defense, protected by state law. Forty-six days later, a special prosecutor charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder, for which he stood trial and prevailed. Robert Shuler Smith, the top prosecutor in Hinds County, has not brought charges against Williams or publicly revealed his own family connection to Thomas.

Tonya Greenwood said she has spoken to representatives of Smith's office, the state attorney genera's office and a private attorney after the shooting, but that none of the meetings have prompted a closer look at the shooting. Attempts to reach Smith and one of his deputies to discuss the case for this story before press time were unsuccessful

The strongest link between the cases is the reason both Zimmerman and Williams are free today. During his trial, George Zimmerman's attorneys never explicitly mentioned Florida's Stand Your Ground law, but the jury's lengthy instructions mirror the statute.

They stated: "If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in anyplace where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

When the trial ended, an anonymous juror appeared on CNN and told anchor Anderson Cooper that jurors also discussed Stand Your Ground during its deliberations.

"The law became very confusing. It became very confusing," the juror, whom the network identified only as B37, told Cooper July 14. "We had stuff thrown at us. We had the second-degree murder charge, the manslaughter charge, then we had self-defense, Stand Your Ground." The juror said the not-guilty verdict resulted in part "because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground (law)." Steffey, the MC law professor, believes the Castle Doctrine presents similar challenges for people who prosecute crimes.

"I think the main thing the Castle Doctrine accomplished was to make more citizens confused about what their rights were," Steffey said. "I'm not sure so sure it expanded anybody's self-defense rights, but it certainly made the issue more complicated."

The Way of the Gun

Guns have been a favorite cause of many legislatures in recent years. In 2013, Mississippi lawmakers introduced a barrage of more than 30 gun bills. One failed proposal, a response to the December 2012 shooting massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that ignited debates about gun control, would exempt Mississippi from complying with any new federal regulations on gun ownership.

A handful of gun bills survived, including one that would provide some state funding for armed guards in public schools, another that sealed concealed-carry gun permits from public records requests and another, House Bill 2, that backers called a technical amendment to an existing law that permits individuals to openly carry firearms.

In recent years, state legislatures have spun out gun legislation with great frequency, driven mainly by near-acts of nature that no person with a gun could have prevented. The combination of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and Hurricane Katrina, which happened four years later, made Americans feel less safe and more interested in buying guns, a 2008 report from the National District Attorneys Association found.

After 9-11, the National Rifle Association, one of the nation's largest and best-funded lobbying groups, working with the American Legislative Exchange Council, which develops model legislation for conservative groups and corporations, started petitioning statehouses around the nation to adopt Castle Doctrine-style laws.

The campaign started with Florida, which passed Stand Your Ground in 2005, and resulted in more than 30 states adopting one of the ALEC bills. It was a success even by ALEC's own measure, detailed in minutes from a 2007 ALEC meeting the Washington Post obtained describing the proliferation of Castle Doctrines as a "continuing success" for the organization.

The spread of the laws also came with unforeseen consequences. In June 2012, the Tampa Bay Times looked at 200 Florida stand-your-ground cases and their outcomes. The analysis revealed that 70 percent of people who invoke the law walk free and that defendants claiming self-defense are more likely to prevail if the victim is African American—59 percent of defendants suspected of shooting a white victim prevailed, 73 percent of people who used Stand Your Ground as a defense when killing an African American were successful.

HB2, the open carry law, was supposed to go into effect July 1, but Jackson-area officials including Smith and the newly appointed police chief, briefly blocked its implementation, citing worries that the law would lead to legal chaos. If implemented, Smith told reporters this summer that it would be "difficult to determine who is a threat, and (who) isn't a threat." Horton of the JPD agreed about the ambiguity, telling JFP in August, "It's going to cause us to police differently."

State Attorney General Jim Hood recently issued an opinion that broadens open-carry rights even further, stating that signs that some cities have posted banning conceal-carry may not be constitutional.

Horton acknowledges ambiguities exist in many laws his officers have to enforce, and said police agencies therefore should have a larger role in crafting policy.

"The same goes for the so-called Castle Doctrine. I don't remember anybody asking us, (and) we represent the capital city of the state of Mississippi. You would think (legislators) would reach out and want to know what we felt about some of this before they moved forward with that legislation. But that did not happen.

Speaking directly to questions the Lakeover shooting raised about the extent of owners' rights to use deadly force to protect their property, Horton offered: "Yes, more education is needed. No, you cannot arbitrarily shoot someone just because they're walking across your grass.

"Every case is going to be handled on a case-by-case basis and on its own merits. That's the frightening part of this. People think differently, and what constitutes fear for one person may not be for another. ... That's why you have courts and judges. It's tough, and citizens have no idea what it's like for officers to have to make an instantaneous decision."

A Mother Left Wondering

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Almost three months after the death of Quardious Thomas, his mother, Tonya Greenwood, organized an intimate vigil at Lake Hico Park. “I miss him. I love him and all that, but that won’t bring him back,” Greenwood said then.

In the meantime, Tonya Greenwood's mind is left to wonder. She wonders about the conflicting timelines and why the funeral home would not let her see her son's body until six days after the shooting. She wonders why the number and placement of bullet holes on his body, which a relative documented on cell phone video and provided to the JFP, doesn't match up with several of the medical reports she has seen.

Greenwood wonders about the large purple bruise on his side, which the autopsy report states resulted from blunt-force trauma, and whether he had been in a fight before he died. And she wonders whether the discoloration around some wounds indicates whether some of the shots were fired at closer range than others and about the varying angles the projectiles entered and exited his body, according to the autopsy.

Taken together, Greenwood can't help but wonder if there is more to the story, if Eric Williams will ever have to provide a more complete accounting of the events that transpired that morning or if the police and prosecutors will ever do real investigation.

Greenwood doesn't know if her son was breaking the law that morning; she just doesn't think it matters. Nor did he have to die for whatever he could have been after in that truck, she said. Besides, had the police caught him, she thinks he rightfully would have been charged with a crime and appeared before a judge or jury account for his actions.

Eric Williams should, too, she said.

"They're scooting it under the Castle Doctrine," she said. "They made the law so easy—and just like that it's justified. (Quardious) never had a chance."

Comments

Turtleread 4 years, 6 months ago

The community is sorry for a mother's loss; however her son was no stranger and had a criminal past. Why he was there and what he was doing will never be answered because he is gone, but he was smashing windows, he was caught "in the act," and he was inside another man's car, which makes him guilty, guilty, guilty. The state and its citizens decided some years ago that we were not going to put up with the "usual suspects" any more doing crimes. Our police departments are overburdened and cannot protect us every second of the day and night, so the Castle Doctrine was put into place. It is a reasonable response to an out of control situation. So be warned! You want to play the criminal? You may pay a higher price than you can imagine!

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

So you smash windows, not endangering anyone's life, and you get executed, and that's justified?

Seriously??

Not to mention, without an actual investigation (examined by a grand jury), there is no way to know for sure what he was doing there. And we've seen enough documents and consistency issues to at least wonder if the whole story is told.

So you feel safe just allowing the policy and the DA to say that it was justifiable without actually having to prove it.

You clearly live in a different America than I do. Yours sounds like it has more in common with Afghanistan.

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Turtleread 4 years, 6 months ago

Dear Ms. Ladd, No, not Afghanistan. Try Vietnam. Yeah, that war. I was there. Getting back to the matter at hand. Perhaps the D.A. should explain his reasons for not convening a Grand Jury to examine this case. At least, with this in hand the mother could then apply to the State Attorney for relief with her reasoning if she still felt that the case needed to be investigated.

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robbier 4 years, 6 months ago

Donna, serious question:

In your opinion, at what point am I allowed to use deadly force on my own property when others are trespassing upon it, attempting to steal, breaking and entering, possibly committing physical violence if not worse?

We know what the law states, but you obviously disagree with it, so what's your personal stance? (aside from the fact it's an almost certainty you own zero firearms).

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

The obvious answer, robbier, is that it shouldn't be up to you or me to decide. It should be to a grand jury after a thorough investigation of what happened on both ends: with Thomas and Williams.

What is obvious is when you should not use deadly force: when someone is in your car outside your house, not trying to break into your home. You call the police and stay inside the house. If the dude then tries to come through the door, especially with a gun in his hand, it's obviously a different scenario and much clearer under state law.

You sound like you think we live in Wyatt Earp times -- when people just gunned down people when they tried to take their stuff or wronged them. What's funny about your question is how much legal (and ethical and moral) water has flowed under the bridge since the times of the wild, wild west. It's not like they're aren't standards for when someone has the right to use deadline force on a suspected criminal. And this example -- tracking him down outside inside your vehicle, then riddling him with bullets -- ain't near a gray area. It's silly to suggest it is.

I don't know why, but JPD and the DA dropped the ball on this case. We need to know why and where the influence came from. Compare it to the case of the Indian store owner who went to a grand jury, which was appropriate.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

Not to mention, but do you really want to establish a precedent that would allow someone to easily cover up a homicide by claiming that the deceased was trying to break into his car and the police say, "Fine, no need to investigate." Talk about a recipe for lazy policing (and prosecuting).

I'm SO not saying that is the case here. But the problem is that WE DON'T KNOW FOR SURE BECAUSE THERE WASN'T A REAL INVESTIGATION.

And the questions the family raises are compelling. They need to be answered, post-haste, and we will not shut up about this case until they are.

Note that the DA isn't even calling them back—and he's family. If that is the reason, then recuse, as we say in our editorial this week. But don't just let this go un-investigated.

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

Donna, your news editor kicks ass. So does your paper, and so do you. This article badly needed to be written, and I hope it will trigger the kind of public conversation our community needs to have about the value of young people's lives.

Legally executed for breaking a car window. Unbelievable.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

Thanks, Tom. I agree that the story had to be told. And cheers to the mother for not letting it die. Some will try to say she's just doing it for her baby, but you know what, the killing of anybody's baby deserves a real investigation, regardless of the challenges they faced. And I've always thought of that as the American way. I get real patriotic over the whole "innocent until proved guilty," and both parties in this case deserve that.

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notmuch 4 years, 6 months ago

Donna, I'm curious. Your statement "the killing of anybody's baby deserves a real investigation, regardless of the challenges they faced" is in total disagreement with your previous stance that as long as it is the mother who kills her baby, no crime has been committed. Have you changed your position on this?

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sarahmina 4 years, 6 months ago

I have disagreed with Ms. Ladd before, but on this one, I agree TOTALLY!!! It is actually quite frightening to see all of these laws popping up and the rising use of hand guns. There simply has to be a better way for a civilized society to exist. NO PIECE OF PROPERTY IS WORTH SOMEONE'S LIFE. THE PROPERTY CAN ALWAYS BE REPLACED, THE LIFE OF THIS YOUNG MAN AND OTHER CHILDREN'S LIVES CAN'T. It is immaterial as to whether he was or wasn't breaking into cars - IT'S a CAR THAT WAS IN DANGER OF BEING STOLEN OR DAMAGED, NOT A LIFE!!!

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libslayer 4 years, 6 months ago

This criminal is DEAD due to his own actions. He was previous offender who was wearing a court ordered monitoring bracelet at the time of his last fatal criminal activity. However, you don't blame the criminal who was committing the crime. No, you don't blame his mother for not raising him correctly. You place the blame on the DA, police department, and the citizen who was legally within his rights to protect his property. Maybe if his mother had raised him correctly and taught him to respect other people, then he might not be dead. THIS IS A NON-STORY!!!

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tsmith 4 years, 6 months ago

I'd say Mr Thomas got what he deserved, and within the law. It appears that the case of Sarbrinder Pannu being prosecuted is the one that needs investigating, not this one.

You ask the mother of any criminal and I guarantee she'll say her son would never do such a thing.

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libslayer 4 years, 6 months ago

"They're scooting it under the Castle Doctrine," she said. "They made the law so easy—and just like that it's justified. (Quardious) never had a chance."

He had a choice, so therefore he had a chance. The thug made his own choice and paid for it.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

These topics really bring the best out of some of y'all. Are you reading before you hit "post comment"? You know that people can actually see you saying that it's a good idea to execute someone who isn't threatening a life because they (might) be trying to steal property, right? And that no real investigation is needed.

Remarkable.

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

I guess the one good thing about the hateful comments under this thread is that they answer a question we've been asking ourselves for years: what were the smiling bystanders in those old lynching photographs thinking? Well, now we know. ("The thug made his own choice and paid for it." "He got what he deserved.") But the fact that this attitude is still so prevalent is heartbreaking.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

Leave it up to you to make a comparison such as this! The bystanders in those old lynching photos believed the victims got what they deserved because of the color of their skin. Those that you would deem "hateful" are defending a black man's right to defend his property.

Different attitude, different era.

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Rodramon 4 years, 6 months ago

Robbier . Ladd and company believe that we should let the criminals have their way and we should simply call 911 whenever we are victims. Thus there is never a time when we are authorized to defend ourselves. I agree with the author that there is a double standard as to how the Castle laws are applied. If Freddie Fondren shot the deceased the National Action Network, the ACLU, and Mayor Lumumba would have organized a march from McWillie to the old McRaes before demanding a 30 page report from the authorities. We must look at each case objectively and not allow our individual political, racial, philosophical, and other beliefs and/or biases to influence whether we believe a citizen acted within the law. In this case I am comfortable that no malfeasance took place the homicide was justified.

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

@Rodramon Please refrain from characterizing other people's thoughts. Focus on your own arguments and disagree agreeably. Thanks!

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

Todd, this is rather routine behavior from many at the JFP.

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

@js1976 I disagree, but thanks for stating your opinion agreeably. :)

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Donna and Tom, the reason these situations are coming about is because the community has grown frustrated and tired of the crime problem in Jackson. People have felt powerless in their ability to deal with the crime problem and with JPD's ability to solve crimes and prevent crimes. When that happens, extreme measures can result. If people had confidence in our law enforcement, then these situations would be very rare.

As for the article's insinuation that this killing was overlooked in favor of the Trayvon Martin case. This particular article doesn't mention the race of Thomas' shooter but the percentages favor that it was an African American (Jackson was 79 percent African American as of the 2010 census). If the shooter was black, then there is no race angle to tell, which makes this story much less interesting to the national media than the Trayvon Martin case (where the shooter was not African American).

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

My mistake - the article does mention the race of the shooter (black) and notates that as a primary difference between this case on the Trayvon Martin case.

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

I will say that I am conservative and tend to vote Republican (which obviously puts me at odds with most or basically all of the JFP staff and means I am more likely to support Castle Doctrine). I am not exactly sure what I would do if I was inside my home and realized that someone was breaking into my vehicle. Of course, the first thing I would do is call the police but, after that, I am not totally sure. I would be pretty determined in wanting the person(s) caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I don't own a handgun but have considered buying one. If I did have one, I would be tempted to go out and confront the perpetrator and try to force them to the ground and make them stay there until the police arrived and could make the arrest.

Of course, that would go against the advice that just about any law enforcement officer would give me, as they would all say to stay in the house and don't confront the perpetrator. However, I would be worried that the guy would be gone before the police could ever arrive (it doesn't take much time to break into a vehicle and get away with whatever stuff the intruder finds). It also opens me up to a potential violent encounter, as the perpetrator might try to fight me or might be armed (more than likely armed with at least some sort of blunt instrument to break a driver's side or passenger window) and, thus, a serious situation could escalate in a hurry. So, staying in my house and watching the guy get away while I wait on the police is the type of situation that could quickly change my feelings and make me more determined to be proactive, even if it isn't in a good way.

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tellmesomething 4 years, 6 months ago

It is easy to see that, libslayer, and tsmith are either police or dumb ass friends of the shooter, the only explanation i see why they make such dunb comments after reading the story. Three key things i see that prove that libslayer and tsmith is one or the other. 1 if the officer say he was slumped over the seat sound like he's dead cause if he's alive, why you here no mention of that, that came with, he's slump over the seat, look like he got shoot with a 38. the ambulance didn't arrive until 9 minutes after the police arrived so who gave the victum medical treetment till they came how he get out the truck onto the ground by the time the ambulance arrived. 2. if he died in the ambulance than why when it happened,, all the way up until now they had the public believe he died at the hospital. 3. if the victum suffered blood force truma to his side than that mean he was more than just shot sound like there was a fight maybe libslayer and tsmith didnt make it pass the third grade thats why they dont know what that mean. 4. what make me say this is a cover up 1. why was his mother denied to see her soon for six days, and two why the call came in as a domestic disturbance, but than say her husband just shoot someone breaking in their truck if she just told dispatch that someone was shoot than why than will dispacth say, there is a possible shooting at that location. last but not least the sherrif stay doors away from the shooter oh really with a window broken out on his window as well oh really, they texted him at 5am how so. This is no dought in my book a cover up dont take a 12 year old to figure that out. Can't wait till this story reach the president because something stinks about the whole thing. i pray for the family of the lost man, don't give up god said there is nothing hid that want be uncovered nor nothing unknown that want be reviled.

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

@tellmesomething Name-calling is against our user agreement; please refrain. You can state your opinion and disagree agreeably. Thanks!

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ryannave 4 years, 6 months ago

We're not being honest here. If we accept that Quardious was a criminal who deserved his fate, following that logic to its conclusion, what we're saying is that private citizens are entitled to be judge, jury and executioner of anyone they deem to be breaking the law. But as a society, we don't believe that. Putting aside arguments about the morality of the death penalty, the state doesn't execute people for property crimes, for not paying debts. At one point in our history, we did. Remember how the poor were treated in feudal Europe and in America's early days. Wealthy landowners often punished the peasants who stole their chickens or grain or whatever it was with death. Eventually, we matured, evolved and became more sophisticated in our thinking. The Quardious Thomas case signals that either we're going in the opposite direction or that Jackson and Mississippi just haven't yet caught up with the rest of civilized America.

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tellmesomething 4 years, 6 months ago

all i know is it smells like a cover up and libslayer, and tsmith have to be friends of the shooter or the police or why else after reading the story would they post such dumb comments im looking back at my old news papers to catch up til today and when im finished im going to point out a few key things from the news that says cover up

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

I see today that this story is getting a lot of national play. So to be clear should anyone make an assumption that it was a white homeowner or such: Every major player mentioned in R.L.'s story above is black: Thomas, the homeowner, the district attorney, JPD decision-makers (not sure if any of the officers on the scene were not), the families, and so on.

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tsmith 4 years, 6 months ago

@tellmesomething

Whew, just reading that gave me a headache!

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

Same for your comments, tsmith. Why not just stick to trying to make intelligent points instead of going personal? In other words, discuss the topic without personal attacks or move on.

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

js1976, the similarity—and I did not frame it well—is that most lynchings were advertised as being "for cause." If you look at Chesnutt's data, you'll see that 40.84% of people lynched were accused of murder; 25.29%, of rape or attempted rape; 4.89% of robbery or theft; and so on. What makes these lynchings so heinous, and distinguishes them from state-sponsored executions, is the total lack of due process and the vigilantism of the citizens. So yes, they were most likely telling each other things like "that thug got what he deserved." It was very rare for them to say "oh, he's black, that's enough"; they wrapped it up in the same kinds of rationalizations you're using now and, while it's racism that makes these rationalizations persuasive (most critically to local government authorities, who—a la Sanford Police Department—looked the other way), the killers generally used more specific excuses. That was my point. And to the extent that they're not prosecuted, the extrajudicial killing of young black men today is continuing according to the established historical pattern. This is not a new phenomenon.

When you look at lynchings in this light, the race of the perpetrator becomes less relevant; it's the race of the victim that makes these killings functionally legal, and that's something we need to confront and address. And the connection to the Castle Doctrine is obvious, if you look at Blackstone's original writings on why British law included the duty to retreat in the first place. We have effectively decriminalized lynching under certain conditions. We need to acknowledge this and correct it.

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Scott1962 4 years, 5 months ago

What does racism and lynchings have to do with this story? I see no mention of and in fact Donna pointed out the absence of anyone white in this story yet you've chosen to compare lynchings based entirely on hate with the death of a known criminal caught in the act shot by the victim of his crime who shared his skin color. Help me out with that one if you would

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Tom, are you suggesting that JPD & the Hinds County Sheriff's office decided not to investigate any further or prosecute the shooter because the person that died was African American? It seems pretty obvious that is what you are saying when you state "it's the race of the victim that makes these killing legal".

I would agree that was the case prior to the civil rights movement. I would not agree that this is exactly the same issue and that Mississippi is the same as it was prior to the 1960s.

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

SpaceMountain, that's not what I suggested at all—but it's clear that the race of the victim makes it politically possible not to prosecute someone for the killing. If Quardious Thomas had been white, would we even be having this conversation?

I don't agree with the logic that says it's OK to kill a black person extrajudicially if you're black, or if another black person gives you the go-ahead. That would imply the only problem with these killings is the shooter's relative level of racial enlightenment when the real problem with these killings is, obviously, that they actually end people's lives.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

Not to answer for Tom, Space, but it's clear that's not what he's saying. He's talking about the law that is providing cover/justification for too little investigation of a case as disturbing as this one. It is unclear, and very unsettling, why JFP and the DA's office have done so little, and these stupid laws open the door for all kinds of abuse, intentional or not.

As for the parallels with lynching-era Mississippi, it is more the commenters who sound so gleeful that an unarmed skinny 20-year-old was riddled with bullets that bring the parallels to mind. Perhaps you don't know this, but throughout our history, suspicions (or lies) about crimes have justified the execution of one young black man after another. Thus, these comments really do make it sound like Mississippi hasn't changed.

To outsiders reading this: Know that these old-school comments do not represent all of Mississippi. So many people have changed, but these kind of people, hiding behind fake names, are the ones who squawk the loudest and make us sound like we haven't changed a bit in 50 years. We have, although not enough over all. The fact that we can even have this conversation publicly proves it.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

We have effectively decriminalized lynching under certain conditions. We need to acknowledge this and correct it.

Powerful, Tom. And you're right on, although people have to know or care what lynching actually was to understand why; good explanation above.

We should all ask ourselves seriously why ALEC wants these kinds of laws on the books. Is it really to help please the gun lobby so they continue to support corporate-owned political candidates -- or is it more nefarious a la Manhattan Institute-esque scientific racism? I wonder this often.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

This is a remarkable book about scientific racism, by the way, and gives a lot of fascinating information on the role old man Simmons (the late previous owner of the Fairview Inn) played in the so-called "academic" world of scientific racism. One of the main goals of segregationists was to get white people to fear black "thugs" and believe they were more crime-prone -- and support violence against them without due process.

Remarkably, people on this thread are parroting that exactly: saying that Thomas deserved to be executed for a property crime no one has actually bothered to prove he committed.

Looks like the Citizens Council's work took hold pretty darn well in some of you.

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Scott1962 4 years, 5 months ago

It seems to me Donna that one of the main goals of you and your paper is to make sure the black citizens in Mississippi are supplied with plenty of reasons to continue to hate the white ones. It doesn't matter that the current generations played no part in committing these crimes nor did it suffer the effects of the crimes committed. That could be mistakenly seen as logical by the unenlightened masses of the state, no what's important is the past is brought up and riddled with implications. After all most people in this world do not require logic to hate another race, they just need the implications. I guess this would be scientific reverse racism. That last statement Donna is my Christmas gift to you...shred away, I deserve it. You know... because I'm white AND I live in Madison which makes me not only racist, but a well dressed color coordinated racist.

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Here is the one issue that I would have in getting rid of laws like the Castle Doctrine - a serious lack of faith in the Hinds County court system. To a large degree, the courts in Hinds (and other places such as Shelby County in TN) have had a "catch and release" system in which felony offenders serve only a minimal number of time before being released back into society where a number of them end up afoul of the law again. When that becomes public knowledge, then people correctly ask "well, why was he out of prison in the first place?"

It is sort of a different debate - how similar crimes are punished very different when viewed on county-by-county or state-by-state. For example, if I got busted for a user amount of crack cocaine in Memphis (which is in Shelby County), I would likely be looking at less than a month in prison and court fees/fines. If I got busted with the same amount of crack just 10 miles south of there (in Southhaven, which is in Desoto County, MS), then I would be looking at probably at least a 1 year in prison and likely more. Desoto County does not do "catch-and-release" where defenders get out with little time served. Shelby County does, however and repeat offenders are commonly out and about in society where plenty inevitably commit more crimes. It is a similar situation if you compare the Hinds County vs Rankin County. Everyone knows that penalties are quite a bit stiffer in Rankin and that, if you are going to be arrested, you would much rather be arrested in Hinds, as you won't serve nearly as much time in jail.

I know that was long-winded but it is just a way of showing what I believe - that these laws have grown out of public frustration in the inability to control crime & felony offenders. That leads people to want to be "proactive" (that can be interpreted in a lot of ways, I know) and to sometimes use extreme measures. The average person (IMO) just doesn't have much faith in the system anymore.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

"Looks like the Citizens Council's work took hold pretty darn well in some of you."

I'm sorry Donna, but if the work of the Citizens Council had taken hold you would have more people wanting Williams prosecuted due to the color of his skin.

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Turtleread 4 years, 6 months ago

Dear Ms. Ladd, No, not Afghanistan. Try Vietnam. Yeah, that war. I was there. Getting back to the matter at hand. Perhaps the D.A. should explain his reasons for not convening a Grand Jury to examine this case. At least, with this in hand the mother could then apply to the State Attorney for relief with her reasoning if she still felt that the case needed to be investigated.

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

SpaceMountain, I understand that (and don't you think law enforcement was even less efficient a century ago?)—but the cost of living in a civilization, rather than in the wild, is that we work through a criminal justice system rather than taking matters into our own hands. It makes sense to have a robust self-defense doctrine so that folks can act in defense of their own lives and the lives of third parties. It does not make sense to have a law on the books that lets people legally execute folks for property crimes as long as they believe they've caught them in the act. There's a huge difference between those two ideas, and the difference is predicated on the idea that our lives—all of our lives—are more valuable than property.

js1976, even in legal executions the race of the victim matters more than the race of the killer. The same principle applies to extrajudicial killings. It doesn't matter that Mr. Williams is black; it matters that Mr. Thomas was black. Mr. Thomas was the victim.

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libslayer 4 years, 6 months ago

It doesn't matter if the criminal was black, white, latino, or purple. They got what they deserved. If they were not committing a crime then they would still be alive today. Choices have consequences and the CRIMINAL made his choice. What do you expect in Jackson anyhow? Black crime and black on black crime makes up the majority of crime in this country. The majority of Jackson is black. You do the math. And if you don't believe it, go look up the statistics on crime in this country. Leave it to the bleeding hearts and JFP to make excuses for the criminals of Jackson. Jackson is bad and only getting worse, it will never recover due to these liberals!!!

By the way, I am in no way affiliated with any JPD officer or the shooter(victim) in this story. Have a great day and remember to carry your weapon when venturing into the hostile territory known as "JACKSON MS"

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

Black crime and black on black crime makes up the majority of crime in this country. The majority of Jackson is black. You do the math. And if you don't believe it, go look up the statistics on crime in this country.

Er…. OK… remember… you told me to...

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/43tabledatadecoverviewpdf

69.2 percent of people arrested in this country are white, according to the FBI. So, if I "do the math" I quickly deduce that "Black crime" and "black on black crime" cannot possible "make up the majority of crime in this country" since they are the minority of arrests in the country.

Now… what happens to the rest of your argument when the statistics you so vigorously assert are so clearly false?

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libslayer 4 years, 6 months ago

"It doesn't matter that Mr. Williams is black; it matters that Mr. Thomas was black. Mr. Thomas was the victim."

This has to be a joke or something. Mr Williams was minding his own business when Mr. Thomas committed a criminal act against him. That makes Mr. Williams the victim. Mr Thomas is a victim of his own stupidity and his mother's apparent lack of parenting skills. The fact that the law says that Mr. Williams was justified says a lot here. The fact that liberals don't like the law means absolutely nothing.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

"It doesn't matter that Mr. Williams is black; it matters that Mr. Thomas was black. Mr. Thomas was the victim."

This is why we will never reach an agreement in this discussion. Mr. Williams is the victim is this case, not Mr. Thomas. If Mr. Thomas had been gunned down walking along the sidewalk, different story. Hence the reason your elected Sheriff supported the actions of the homeowner.

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

@js1976 Actually, for some of us the point of contention is that there doesn't appear to have been a thorough investigation to determine whether the behavior of the shooter was justified under the law.

If it was justified, then the investigation would show that to, hopefully, the satisfaction of a grand jury.

Here's the law they'd be considering:

(e) When committed by any person in resisting any attempt unlawfully to kill such person or to commit any felony upon him, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person shall be;

(f) When committed in the lawful defense of one's own person or any other human being, where there shall be reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury, and there shall be imminent danger of such design being accomplished;

If it wasn't justified under the law, then it amounts to summary execution of a petty criminal by a civilian, something that any American should find troubling.

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

So, you believe that, in every use of the Castle Doctrine, that the investigation should be heard and judged by a grand jury?

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

I don't know any purple people.

And of course race matters although but shouldnt. It's established fact that many Americans treat non-white accused differently than white ones. We've seen it here from some commenters for years. The ingrained bias couldn't be more obvious.

Coincidentally, it often comes from people who like to say that they don't care if someone is purple or green. So watch that.

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Historically, yes. And, yes, sometimes there are racial comments on the JFP threads. However, how does that play a role in a case where basically every player was black? Are you suggesting that black law enforcement officers view & treat black accused differently than non-black accused?

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libslayer 4 years, 6 months ago

Well Donna, that begs the question. Do people of certain races commit more crimes than others? If the answer is yes then you logic is seriously flawed. I would point you to several crime statistics to help you with that answer. However you, like most other liberals would probably just dismiss them as being "made up" and "racist". Anyhow, if it makes you feel better. If you ever find ME on your property breaking in your car, robbing and pillaging your home, or stealing your possessions. Please, feel free to shoot me dead as the law allows. And I'm white, go figure. It's simple, if you don't want to be shot and/or killed, don't go onto someone else's property and commit a felony. What about that is difficult to grasp?

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

libslayer, js1976: If one person is shot to death by another person, the dead person is the victim of the shooting. That's not a question of politics; it's a question of basic grammar.

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Tom, technically they would both be victims. Williams would be a victim in that Thomas was attempting to burglarize his personal property and Thomas would be a victim in that he was killed in the ensuing conflict.

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tellmesomething 4 years, 6 months ago

I APOLIGIZE FOR MY CHOICE OF WORDS, AND YES LIBSLAYER MY ROW DOG IS ALWAYS AROUND IT'S MY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, BUT I STILL USE GODLY JUDGEMENT BEFORE I REACT TO A SITUTION. I MUST SAY I THANK THE MOTHER & JFP FOR FOR TELLING THE STORY ABOUT THE YOUNG MAN, BECAUSE I LOST SOME ONE AND THEIR DEATH WAS PUSHED UNDER THE RUG, tHIS MADE ME INSPECT THE FINDINGS BASED AROUND A MURDER, AND I'M HERE TO TELL YOU JFP I WAS SURE HOPEING YOU DID SOMETHING ELSE BECAUSE I NOTICED SOMETHING A WHILE BACK WITH THIS CASE AND NOW IT'S MORE CLEAR. THIS IS SOME TYPE OF COVER UP THAT INVOLVE ALOT OF CITY AND STATE WORKERS SO THERE TRYING TO KEEP THIS THING HUS HUS BUT THE MOTHER IS NOT RETRIVEING FROM THE TUNE OF CASTLE DOCTRINE. WELL CLASS STARTED JULY 12 AND WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN MATERAIL TO HELP WITH THE BOOK WE WAS JUST GIVING TO WRITE AN ESSAY ON THE CONSOLIDATED FACTS THAT PRETAIN TO THIS STORY, MY ESSAY WILL BE TITLED, FIVE SHOTS, ONE DEATH, ONE LAW, & ONE MOTHERS FIGHT FOR JUSTICE. AND OH YA WHY TODAY IN THE BARBER SHOP THERE WAS THIS MAN SAYING THAT HE HEARD THE FAMILY WAS AT THE STATE CAPITAL LAST MONTH FOR THE CRIME FORUM AND SOMEONE FROM THE FAMILY STOOD ON THE STATE FLOOR AND SAID THE SAME THING THE JFP HAS JUST WROTE AND THEY HAD SIGNS WITH PICTURES THAT SHOWED THE UP CLOSE SHOTS BUT THE NEWS NEVER SHOWED IT. WHY DO IT SEEM LIKE MAYBE THE NEWS STATIONS, MAY KNOW WHAT THE MOTHER IS SAYING IS TRUE AND SO THEY HAVE KEPT HER OUT OF THE PUBLIC EYE FAILING TO ASK HER TO TELL, OR SHOW HER PROOF THAT HER SON WAS KILLED IN ANOTHER WAY, THAN THEY HAVE PUT OUT IN THE BEGING. I MAY NOT BE NO LAW PROFESSER, MAY MISSPELL MY WORDS, BUT I CAN READ AND UNDERSTAND WHAT I JUST READ, AND WHAT I JUST READ ALONG WITH WHAT I'VE ALREADY READ PRETAINING TO THIS YOUNG MAN DEATH SAYS, THE NEWS PROTRADE HIM LIKE A CRIMINAL, HE DIED LIKE A CRIMINAL, AND THEY BURRIED HIM LIKE A CRIMINAL WITH HIS ANKLE BARCLET ON, IS THAT UNCONSTITUTIONAL, EVEN THOUGH HE'S DEAD WILL THAT BE VIOLATEING HIS FAMILY CIVIL RIGHTS. NOW IF THE YOUNG MAN WAS WHITE I WONDER IF THE POPE WOULD SAY, HOW UNMORRAL IT IS TO DEPRIVE THE DEAD OF BEING LAID TO REST TO AWAIT GOD'S JUDGEMENT. I CAN TELL YOU THIS IF THAT WAS MY SON THE STATE OF MS CAN BELIEVE I WOULD HAVE THE NAACP ALL OVER THE FACT MY SON WAS BURRIED LIKE HE'S STILL ON HOUSE ARREST, A THAT JUST MADE ME THINK I THOUGHT THE BOX ON THE ANKLE WAS TAMPER PROOF AND IT WOULD GO OFF AND THEY WOULD CALL THE HOME TO SEE WHERE AT WHAT THE DEFENDENT IS DOING, AND GO'S OFF IF THEY EXIT THE HOUSE. MAYBE THEY LEFT THE BOX ON SO NO ONE COULD ASK FOR IT TO SEE IF IT WORKED, AND IF IT DIDNT THAN BLAME THE ONES RESPONABLE FOR THE BOX ON HIS ANKLE FOR HIS DEATH. i SHALL TURN MY PAPER IN ON 12/16/2013 FIVE SHOTS, ONE DEATH, A BROKEN LAW, & A MOTHER FIGHT FOR JUSTICE.

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

@tellmesomething Please don't type in all caps in our comments. It's extremely difficult to read. Thanks!

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libslayer 4 years, 6 months ago

Tomhead, You can play liberal semantics if you want to. However, Mr Williams was a victim of a crime and Mr Thomas was the victim of his own life choices. If Mr Thomas was trying to kill Mr Williams and Mr Williams had to kill Mr Thomas in self defense to save his own life, then who is the victim? I bet you still say Mr Thomas was the victim. So whats the difference? Absolutely nothing!!!

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

The problem with that, though, is that no one bothered to prove that Thomas was trying to rob him. That's the point. It may well be true but we can't afford this no-investigation precedent. It should scare all of us.

But it's clear that Thomas was a victim. He's dead.

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

I understand your point - that Thomas had not had a trial and not been convicted by a jury of his peers. It sounds like the guy was about to have an uphill battle if he attempted to plead innocent - a convicted criminal with an ankle bracelet that is already breaking the law by violating his house arrest is out and about (seemingly on foot) in a different neighborhood at 5AM. I think it is pretty safe to say that he wasn't looking to just borrow some jumper cables from the vehicle.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

And of course all killers using Castle Doctrine as an excuse should go to grand jury! There is no other way to know for sure that they're telling the truth! And it's not like there are a ton of them. Yet. Although with this precedent, they may start to flourish among existing criminals. What great cover it would be!

And in cases where someone goes looking for someone not threatening him or his family, and who is unarmed, it is a no-brainer.

In this nation, we don't execute suspected criminals without a trial. That's third-world behavior and will hurt us all.

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Donna, to take someone before a grand jury, you first have to arrest them and charge with a crime. What crime are you going to charge everyone that uses the Castle Doctrine with? Manslaughter? Second degree murder?

I can only imagine what would happen then. Speaking outside of this particular case - You would have a decent husband or father that was legitimately protecting his family in a home invasion being charged with a felony and forced to go on trial for murder or manslaughter. He spends time in jail (at least until he gets bail, if he is offered that), almost certainly loses his job and income and watches his family suffer while he waits for months to go in front of a jury to prove his innocence. Then, when the jury hears the facts and is found innocent, he and his family are left to put the pieces of their lives back to together. He's already lost a ton - financially, personally - and all because you think he should automatically be put in front of a grand jury. Where is the justice in that idea?

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

"Y'all amaze me. You seem unable to imagine the precedent you want to set here--and how it could hurt yourselves and family members."

If you want to see the "precendent" I do not want set, see Spacemountain's comments above.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

"libslayer, js1976: If one person is shot to death by another person, the dead person is the victim of the shooting. That's not a question of politics; it's a question of basic grammar."

If one person is shot to death by another person, the victim is determined by the law, not your english professor!

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

And if that is the case, js, Mr. Williams has not been proved by law to be a victim. He should be and could be. But without a real investigation, it's impossible to know. Again, the point y'all can't seem to grasp.

It is, however, clear that a suspected petty, unarmed criminal was the victim of six gunshots and died, followed by no real investigation. That one is fact.

Y'all amaze me. You seem unable to imagine the precedent you want to set here--and how it could hurt yourselves and family members. This old-west mentality would be hilarious if not so dangerous for our nation.

Your types have always been there though, and it changes nothing about our need to ensure that laws aren't established that can easily aid future violent criminals and help cover up violent crime.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

"Your types"? Please tell me since I am one of these "types", what sort of investigation due you consider "real"? Should they have collected DNA samples, checked for fingerprints, collected drone surveillance footage? What I am fully able to grasp is, the kid was found in the shooters vehicle, tresspassing on his property, in the middle of the night. He could very easily argue that he felt his life was in imminent danger when he confronted Mr Thomas.

Do you honestly think a grand jury would convict Mr. Wiliams?

If you want to know my "type", I support honest hardworking people. That's my "type". I'm not a big fan of those that victimize others by stealing from them, damage their property, and put themselves in postitions for innocent people to get hurt.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

I actually have no idea if a grand jury would convict Mr. Williams, or if they should. That's the point, js. Is reading comprehension completely beyond your grasp?!?

And those of you who think in such a binary fashion that you think that two crimes cannot co-exist at once, or be committed on someone committing one, amaze me. Seriously? Do you know nothing about American criminal jurisprudence? Good golly.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

js, I've covered a lot of stories, some of them involving corruption, including police officers. I am SO not saying any of that came into play here, but what you want would allow a cover-up of bad things so damn easily that it amazes me that an adult would suggest it out loud.

Also, it's fun to see how many of you suddenly think JPD can do no wrong. And feel confident that every single police officer is always on the up and up. That's new.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

"Liberal semantics," libslayer? Are you serious? The idea of checks and balances on law-enforcement and their decisions has been a conservative principle for this country's entire history.

Y'all are so blinded by bloodlust for alleged "thugs" that you aren't even being consistent within your own obsessions. You simply have no clue what you're trying to reap here. It's much bigger than this case.

And "libslayer," your little obsession with slayering LIBRULs is quaint at best. You really expect to be taken seriously when you play sophomoric games like that?

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tsmith 4 years, 6 months ago

"Is reading comprehension completely beyond your grasp?!?"

"Why not just stick to trying to make intelligent points instead of going personal? In other words, discuss the topic without personal attacks or move on."

Two quotes from Ms Ladd. Her paper, her rules..

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

@spacemountain80

"I can only imagine what would happen then. Speaking outside of this particular case - You would have a decent husband or father that was legitimately protecting his family in a home invasion being charged with a felony and forced to go on trial for murder or manslaughter. He spends time in jail (at least until he gets bail, if he is offered that), almost certainly loses his job and income and watches his family suffer while he waits for months to go in front of a jury to prove his innocence. Then, when the jury hears the facts and is found innocent, he and his family are left to put the pieces of their lives back to together. He's already lost a ton - financially, personally - and all because you think he should automatically be put in front of a grand jury. Where is the justice in that idea?"

This would only happen if it got past the DA to a grand jury, and THEN only if the grand jury decided to indict.

Otherwise, the worst someone would have is an arrest on their record, which they could presumably expunge and/or explain. Clearly if the defense put forward by the shooter was the Castle Doctrine, there would be discretion for the cops and DA… but when there's a shooting death, the discretion, in my opinion, needs to happen after a crime scene investigation, not before.

Think about it this way… if a cop had killed this guy, there would be an investigation and review, yes? Why not at least that same level of prudence in cases like this? Why does that seem like such an egregious wrong to some folks?

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Todd,

I admit that I got the process wrong. "Grand jury" would be having a group of eligible jurors working privately with a prosecutor (I assume someone from the city attorney's office?) to determine whether a charge should be brought forth or not. The investigation is kept private (in an attempt to protect the rights of the person in question) and apparently doesn't even involve the person in question or a representative of the person in question (unless he or she is specifically called to testify).

This approach apparently isn't used much in the U.S. I am guessing that the reason it isn't used in the U.S. is because it seems to be almost a replacement of the police investigation into the matter (or at least in addition to the police investigation). Instead of the police & the city prosecution office making the call of whether or not to prosecute, a group of laymen would instead meet and work with the prosecutor's office to make the call. While, I realize that police do make mistakes and do screw up investigations, I don't know how much better a group of laymen (who likely don't have any real legal experience) would be at deciding the legality of a person's actions rather than a group of trained law enforcement officers. I am not sure on how unanimous the grand jury has to be in their findings to bring charges against someone (ie if there is a single holdout, are charges still filed?) I know you want another layer of review but I don't think I would do every case like this.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

"Otherwise, the worst someone would have is an arrest on their record, which they could presumably expunge and/or explain"

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to explain a murder or manslaughter arrest? Not to mention the harm it could do if the incident were covered in the media. I personally know someone that faced a simlar charge years ago, but due to the overwhelming number of witnesses that placed him somewhere else during the time of the crime, all charges were dropped. He lost is job and credibility after all of the intense media coverage.

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

@js1976 Just to follow this thought all the way out, one way to avoid a murder/manslaughter arrest (in this hypothetical situation where you could potentially be indicted on a castle doctrine shooting, at least) is to not shoot people dead. If it would help deter possible misuse of this "right" then it might be in the common good.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

Todd, I will always avoid any situation that would require me to shoot someone dead. I'm sure Mr Williams didn't wake up that morning with the intentions of killing a young man either, but it happened. We can't always control the actions of others, and if someone else chooses place themselves in a situation that could threaten the safety of my family they will get shot.

Regardless, having an arrest for a violent offense like murder or manslaughter isn't a cake walk. It can cause an extreme amount of damage to someones reputation and credibility within the community.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

tsmith, that's easy. When others say you're saying things you didn't, they clearly have a problem with reading comprehension (or they're being complete jackasses).

That's not an insult when the evidence is in black and white that they are twisting others' words.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

No one has "twisted your words". Please go back and read my comment one more time just to verify it isn't you with the reading comprehension issues. I've called you out numerous times for putting words in my mouth that I never spoke.

Since you probably won't go back, all I did was ask for clarification of "my type" and a "real" investigation.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

Space, the grand jury process is common in these parts (including by Robert Smith), and it's a smart way to do it. It makes total sense for the prosecutor to pursue Castle Doctrine deaths and take them to the grand jury. There aren't that many of them, and it's a perfect way to make sure the law is following, that the deceased was doing what was alleged, and that the Castle Doctrine isn't used to hide nefarious stuff.

And if you were the family of someone killed under it, you would want this legal system to be followed properly and not have the police make a quick decision (and you'd sure want to know it wasn't influencing about who knows or is related to whom).

That is the whole point that I was talking about with the reading-comprehension point (which I admit was overly harsh; apologies): This case is more about proper legal/investigative procedures being followed to ensure that the victim was guilty (and there are serious questions to be answered; more soon) and that the execution was justifiable. No one can seriously read the law above and above beyond a shadow of a doubt that it covers what Mr. Williams said he did in this case. That's where a grand jury comes in.

And if gun owners know that their actions will be subject to this kind of legal scrutiny, then maybe they'll fire once or twice to disable rather than six times to kill. Or stay in the house until the police come to protect everyone's lives.

That might not make the bloodthirsty people happy, but it will make our communities safer and our legal system more solid -- and allow fewer opportunities for corruption.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

Space, here's what you get when you Google "Robert Shuler Smith" and "grand jury" -- evidence that they're common in Hinds County.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

A really good point by Todd:

Think about it this way… if a cop had killed this guy, there would be an investigation and review, yes? Why not at least that same level of prudence in cases like this? Why does that seem like such an egregious wrong to some folks?

How can we seriously argue that an average citizen -- whom we know little about -- should get more discretion than a police officer to kill a "suspect" with no thorough investigation?

That. Makes. No. Sense.

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BHirsh 4 years, 6 months ago

If a cop had killed this guy, he'd be back in his radio car within a month.

Get real.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

BTW, I say above that I have no idea if a grand jury would "convict" Williams; I should have said "indict." Apologies.

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

And for the record, while we're defining things, this shooting was a homicide.

It may or may not be a justifiable homicide -- but it's worth noting that the code section I quoted about that enumerates what we popularly call the "Castle Doctrine" is labelled SEC. 97-3-15. Homicide; justifiable homicide in Mississippi code.

My contention is simply that all homicides should be thoroughly investigated and that it doesn't really matter what the sheriff thinks or what the police decide they feel like doing on the scene … it's their responsibility -- in conjunction with the D.A. -- to perform a thorough investigation.

And if there's something in the law (...I don't see it…) or something in the way the law in being interpreted that suggests this is a class of homicide that doesn't need to be investigated, then it's my opinion that the law needs to be clarified.

At the very least, perhaps this case can help make that change.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

I have yet to discuss the term "homicide" in any of my comments, yet I'm called out by Donna for my lack of reading comprehension skills.

Good luck on getting me to say that this is anything other than a homicide. So, please at least make sure I've made the statements you claim before calling me out.

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tellmesomething 4 years, 6 months ago

I'm with @tstauffer, regardless of what a person is killed for or where their at, at the time their killed should not make a difference on should there be an thorough investigation. What i believe JPD, and the D.A is doing is placeing in the mind of those that seek out to do wrong , how easy it is to kill someone and throw it up under the castle doctrine. Mississippi didn't we learn any thing from the Travon murder. I find it shooking taht the same thing that happen to this twenty year old can come knocking at any of our doors that live in this state. I believe what have blind sided people is the knowing he commited crime, was on house arrest for the crime he had commited, and they say he was out commiting a crime. The mother to me is trying to say one thing & that is, If my son was killed commiting the crime you say he was, than according to jimmy gates who wrote an artical in the clarion ledger on Oct, 5 2013 said she only waited to expose her son death because "Greenwood said she was to distraught to speak out immediately- after the incident, & she also wanted to wait until she got the medical report, & other paperwork before speaking about her son death". jfp released a story 4 days later from the mother and now two months after she first began to speak she's shown she have even more proof than what she had 2 months ago that her son was murdered, & the death of her son didn't happen the way they have shown it. What i want to know is, how could the reports & video this mother and family is suppose to have that they claim proves her son was not in the truck put placed their, was shoot more times than paper work show, along with blunt force truma to the body thats stated, and no one has denied nor disputed her claims that medical records and videos of the her son prove he was murdered. Why haven't suspicion been raised do to the fact it has taken 3 to 5 months for news reporters have gave us a insight of what happen when Jpd first arrived at the scene. Not even a mention of what side of the truck Quardious was shot on til reporters leaked it, One more thing thats puzzleing do anyone know can anyone tell us what side of the truck did the williams guy shoot from. With everything i have heard about this, not realy sure what to call it other than a cover up, but heres the thing if the case is not going to the grand jury does than mean there leaveing it up tp the family or friends that loved this young man to take matters into their own hand. i did here libslayer say how this is jackson keep your gun, tstauffer not only told us about black on black crime but gave us a % of what it is. This story i believe is going to eventully reach national observence, and thats when the truth will come out. Did quardious break in the truck, was he shot more than five times, has all agenies lied about the murder of this young man. i sure want to know the truth behind this. But 12/16/2013 Five shots, One Death, One Law, & One mother fights for her son justice.

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tsmith 4 years, 6 months ago

js1976, SpaceMountain, tsmith: I am trying to figure out what kind of hellish Orwellian Newspeak it is where someone commits an unhomicide by shooting the unvictim to death.

Not really sure why I'm getting called out here?

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

tsmith: You haven't been called out; you've been addressed. If you don't agree with your buddies' creative definitions of the words "victim" and "homicide," just say so.

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tsmith 4 years, 6 months ago

tsmith: You haven't been called out; you've been addressed. If you don't agree with your buddies' creative definitions of the words "victim" and "homicide," just say so.

I have no "buddies" here.

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Tom, since I've "been addressed", how about you tell me how my definition of "victim" is off? I am pretty certain that it was dead-on and I never defined homicide.

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Tom, I am still awaiting a response from you on this, since you decided to "address" me.

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BHirsh 4 years, 6 months ago

Just like Trayvon. A black "kid" killed doing something he shouldn't have been doing, the mother insisting that he was a good kid, and lefties whining and caterwauling instead of really doing something meaningful about it.

"Kids" like these two don't just happen. They are bred by their culture.

And that culture is their PARENTS' responsibility, and the lefties who enable it.

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

What does this even mean? This is like random snippets of right-wing talk radio strung together.

How is an entire "culture" a particular parents' responsibility? And, if it is, then what do "lefties" have to do with it? How can you have it both ways? That doesn't even make sense.

(Of course, the alternative read on this would be that you're calling out left-handed people, which forces me to wonder what we ever did to you?! :)

Meanwhile, what the hell are righties doing about the problem of petty and property crime -- passing laws that says they can shoot on sight? Codifying their fear-based approach to the universe? That'll help.

(Not to mention you people forcing their misshaped scissors and backward PC mouse buttons on the rest of us. Damn you! :)

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BHirsh 4 years, 6 months ago

Heh-heh. Soft touch, there, Southpaw!

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Todd, I think his point is pretty simple. Kids don't just grow up to be criminals - you can see these things coming a mile away and it starts at home and it starts very early. Too many parents aren't involved in their kids lives or aren't as involved in their kids lives as they need to be and that void of influence is filled by other people, often the wrong kind of people (other kids who are already in trouble, adults who influence them negatively, etc). This leads them down the path to petty crime and, eventually, to more serious & violent crime if someone in the kid's life (or society's law enforcement) doesn't intervene. I can't speak to Thomas' situation, as I don't know what his home life was like. We know he has a mother but we don't know what type of influences he had growing up.

As far as left-wing vs right-wing, I think we can just agree that their methods of law enforcement are much different. Left-wing typically prefers counseling and house arrest while the right-wing prefers stiff penalties and jail time. People have been debating for decades which is the correct way to go and what will solve the problems that we have with violent crime (the vast majority being drug-related) and repeat offenders.

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

@SpaceMountain80 I agree, that is a very simple point. :)

But note Bhirsh's focus on quote-unquote "their culture" -- that's what presumably made this young man a criminal. Putting aside the straightforward bigotry of his argument ("Just like Trayvon"… "black kid"… "their culture"… blah blah...), the problem here is pretending there's something called "culture" in this country that isn't ALL of our responsibilities.

Clearly people need good parenting, good neighborhoods, good schools, a support system, jobs in their neighborhood, a sense of the possible, etc.

That's what a "culture" is, and if there's a difference between "left" and "right" (labels I dislike, because most people are considerably more nuanced) I'd say it's not just about house arrest or jail time -- it's more broadly about a "right" that feels better blaming and punishing and a "left" that feels better believing it's trying to understand and improve circumstances. (Perhaps to a fault on both sides.)

Too often the "right's" argument seems to be "Aha… you haven't overcome the circumstances of your birth … it's YOUR FAULT!" whereas the "left's" argument is "Ah… you haven't overcome the circumstance of your birth… that's OUR PROBLEM."

Remember, something doesn't have to be your FAULT to be your PROBLEM.

It's noteworthy, BTW, that BHirsh seems to think that "doing something about it" is shooting people, while liberals are "caterwauling and whining" about improving schools, more equitable justice systems, more effective support systems, better jobs and creating wealth in the inner city.

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tellmesomething 4 years, 6 months ago

@ tomhead , your right calling Quardious a victim, the meaning of the word for all of you who disagree Thomas was avictim. Vic-tim, A person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event. guess the meaning of the word victim has not changed since it was established.@ladd let me ask you. in Nave article, he says there was a video that was giving to Jfp by a family member which suggest the medical reports are not accurate with the victim body. if that being so than one would think that, this video along with the reports should bring about a change in this case, so either every one down town know this didn't happen the way we was told, and the mother is right about her son, or either every one down town has said their not concerned about a young black man losing his life, and it's better to keep it swep under the rug, than to let it out, and put jackson ms in the world news, I can see the headline now. Breaking News......... nearly 6 months ago a 20 year old jackson ms man was murdered and his death staged by the states castle Doctrine. One thing for sure before this is all over seem like quardious Thomas death is going to make a change to the states castle Doctrine.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

The definition of victim according to Merriam Webster:

"a person who has been attacked, injured, robbed, or killed by someone else"

Mr Thomas was robbing Mr Williams.

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

js1976, how on earth can you read the Merriam-Webster definition (which includes the phrase "or killed") while claiming, in the same thread, that Mr. Thomas was not the victim of a shooting?

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

I find it hard to classify someone as a victim when they are in the process of victimizing someone else. For they sake of ending this ridiculous discussion, I'll agree with you. Mr Thomas is indeed a victim of his own actions!

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BHirsh 4 years, 6 months ago

And you're right, Stauffer.

I shouldn't have said "lefties". I should have said "insular communities and societal enablers".

I think (scratching head...)

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bill_jackson 4 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps the mayor and the Sheriff grew tired of all the cars in their neighborhood getting broken in to. Seems legit.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

js, you're clear that, without an investigation, we cannot know for sure what Quardious was doing, right? Y'all use about every logical fallacy in the book to defend this killing.

And all the "leftie" sniping is precious, considering that there is nothing partisan about the American ideal of "innocent until proved guilty." Y'all sound like you'd love some Taliban firing squads in these parts. Fire first; don't ask questions later.

Meantime, these kinds of posts are actually trampling over some pretty serious conservative ideals about trusting government and the police too much. As I've said already, it's interesting to see so much sudden love for JPD and the Hinds criminal-justice system. Or is that just when it means that the death of a young black man isn't taken as seriously as car break-ins?

Consistency, gentlemen. It would make you more credible.

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Donna, as I have stated multiple times in this thread, laws like the Castle Doctrine have become what they are because of people's lack of faith in the local law enforcement, the court system and government. If people had real faith that a criminal would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to serious jail time in a real prison then they wouldn't feel the need to take things into their own hands. I've already covered the inconsistencies of how laws & sentencing are handled from county to county and state to state elsewhere but they play a part in this and bear mentioning again. Does that make vigilante justice right? Not really but I do understand why people are frustrated. People are twisting this around into a racial issue (because it is Mississippi and because the deceased is African American) but that is only concealing the real issue at hand.

I understand your issue with the Castle Doctrine but you aren't taking into account what circumstances even brought these laws into being in the first place.

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

The goalpost keeps moving. I'm reminded of when the details of the Zimmerman shooting first started coming out, before he claimed he'd been physically assaulted, and folks—most notably Geraldo Rivera—said Martin deserved to die because he was walking around in a hoodie at night (that he was, in Rivera's words, "in uniform" to burglarize a house). Then Zimmerman claimed he was defending his own life, and the same folks for whom a hoodie was enough suddenly stopped pretending it was and moved on to saying it was self-defense. There was no point at which they actually lost the hoodie argument; they just changed tactics when a more effective line of argument emerged. The actual details of the shooting didn't affect their position on it in any way. They were locked in from the word go.

The only consistent part of all this is that if a black kid is killed and there's a live question as to whether the shooter should be investigated or prosecuted, these folks will say no. We're not going to find any consistent, race-neutral standards from them (not even on the issue of what the words "victim" and "homicide" mean), because the sole basis for their position—the only part of this that matters to them at all—is the identity of the victim. If we were to suddenly discover that Quardious Thomas was white, I guess that could be a game-changer. Anything else, and we're wasting our breath.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

Tom, if you want to continually attempt to make this a racial debate, be my guest. This is an apples and oranges comparision to the Zimmerman case. Wearing a hoodie and being in someone elses vehicle, on their property is a completly different scenario.

If you want to see consistency, notify me when a white kid gets shot in a burglary situation similar to this. I'll side with the homeowner again regardless of color.

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

js1976, odds are you'll never see a white kid shot in a burglary situation "similar to this." A homeowner would be less likely to shoot a white kid; if the white kid is shot, the powers that be would be less likely to get away with writing it off as a Stand Your Ground shooting; and so forth. Ignoring the racial element in all of this, when race is clearly a factor, would be dishonest.

And how on earth would I demand consistency from you anyway? You're anonymous. You could delete your js1976 account, log in five minutes later under a new username, and I'd be none the wiser. That's the benefit of not signing your name to what you write. Heck, for all anybody reading this knows, you could be me.

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

"When race is clearly a factor" - I don't think that has been proven to be a real factor here. You are suggesting that the fact that Thomas is black played a role in his death.

I recognize the racial issues of the past and that some of them still linger today. I understand the potential racial issues involved in the Zimmerman-Martin case but race shouldn't be an issue in a case like this where everyone is the same race. Yet, you still want to go down that road with this.

I think it is a given that, at some point, we will see a white kid shot in a Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground case. It wouldn't shock me if a white kid got shot in Rankin County at some point.. White suburban homeowners are as likely as anyone to be (legally) armed and wanting to defend their property. Would the kid be likely to get killed in the process? I really don't know. Would it get more attention? Yes, basically because shootings are a lot less common in Flowood or Brandon than they are in Jackson. That wouldn't necessarily be about race but moreso about frequency.

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

Nothing has been proven to be a factor here, since there has been no formal investigation into the shooting. I think there would be a formal investigation if the victim were white. Obviously I can't prove that to you, and it's not my business to—our disagreement is of a deeper hermeneutic nature, so argument alone won't resolve it—but it would be nice if you would go on record, to whatever extent one can do so anonymously, as asking for a grand jury investigation to answer the kinds of questions that a mysterious homicide would naturally raise.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

Don't flatter yourself Tom, I wouldn't use that much effort to prove you wrong. You are fully capable of doing it on your own.

James Smith

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tsmith 4 years, 6 months ago

One thing I find ironic is the same police force y'all don't trust to investigate a crime scene is the same police force y'all expect me to trust to protect my life and property.

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

tsmith, this isn't about trusting JPD. This is about not trusting summary execution by vigilantes as a viable system of law enforcement.

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Pilgrim3 4 years, 6 months ago

Sad. Both the death, the lack of action by law enforcement and the DA. And watching folks in the comments, its also an argument for stronger moderation and perhaps bringing the ban-hammer for violation of terms of service.

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

Pilgrim, we understand what you're saying. I know many of these comments are painful to read, and I apologize. But in this case, Todd and I believe that people need to see the kinds of attitudes that still exist in the community. These comments function, probably better than most anything we could report, as a warning of the kind of fire we're lighting with these liberal gun laws that encourage vigilante violence. Some people are clearly salivating to shoot a "thug," and the public needs to know this.

Feel free to flag specific comments for positive removal, however. We are busy over here and may miss some that should go, regardless. This story is definitely bringing out the ugly.

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Pilgrim3 4 years, 6 months ago

Can you bring the ban hammer without removing the comments? Suspend accounts for a day or three to allow cooling off? Another option might be disemvowelling - it pretty much flags someone as too toxic for the community, but if someone wants to take the time, they can figure out what was being said. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Disemvoweling&oldid=550088568

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donnaladd 4 years, 6 months ago

Personally, I find the suggestion that any car (or other inanimate object) is worth more than any life revulsive. And this in such a Christian state. SMH.

"Thou shalt not kill unless someone tries to take your sweet SUV."

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SpaceMountain80 4 years, 6 months ago

Donna, this isn't anywhere near as ugly as other stories have gotten, so I wouldn't say that. Again, I can only say that these situations are being brought about due to the lack of faith in law enforcement and the judicial system and that has people wanting to be aggressive in dealing with crime, even if it means going beyond what they legally could/should do.

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js1976 4 years, 6 months ago

"Personally, I find the suggestion that any car (or other inanimate object) is worth more than any life revulsive."

It's not so much the protection of the inanimate object at stake here Donna. People are killed by would be burglars all the time. Usually because they surprise them in the act, and they are either hurt or killed for the actions of the thief. If someone is willing to invade your premise with intent to steal, how likely is it that that person could harm you or your family? Even if that was never their initial intentions.

"Thou shalt not steal"

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tomhead1978 4 years, 6 months ago

Once again: an unoccupied car in the driveway is not "your premise." If you'd blow somebody away for breaking the window of your unoccupied car, duly noted. Maybe you'd even get away with it. But supporting a coverup, so that we'll never know the details of what happened, is sleazy.

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js1976 4 years, 5 months ago

My unoccupied vehicle, in my driveway, on my property is most certainly "my premise".

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Turtleread 4 years, 5 months ago

The Castle Doctrine does address the unoccupied vehicle sitting on your property. It is NOT covered under the Castle Doctrine. If you are occupying the vehicle and attacked, then you are covered under the Castle Doctrine. However, if your vehicle is on your property and someone has committed "criminal trespass," you are protected under older law and common law.

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tellmesomething 4 years, 6 months ago

Been working but now i'm back , Who can say they Bleed, a different Color of Blood. WHo can prove that their Birth had nothing to do with the Birth of a Woman. Who can tell what size shoe the virgin Mary would have worn. Who knows what the Heart fills, when it Fills like it never Felt that filling Before. I think it matters much to some that regardless of what Quardious did, his mom still deserve to know the facts and have the facts looked at by a higher power that be. How many times have people tryed to use the Stand your ground , the Castle Doctrine, some type of self defense, and once investigated now there doing time. how can uou call yourself american, how can you tell some one, i'm american but i don't care for justice, you can have mine i don't need it.

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JLucas 4 years, 6 months ago

"Anybody that takes it upon themselves to intrude and impede upon people's personal property, they're at risk of losing their life or suffering the consequences that come with it," Lewis said.

That's my position. My house and by extension my car are personal property and I have a right to defend either against unlawful invasion, responding with deadly force if needed. Although I do not relish the idea of maiming or killing another human being, I am prepared to use my gun if needed.

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tstauffer 4 years, 6 months ago

@JLucas And if you do end up taking a life with that gun, I assume you'd be open to the idea that a thorough investigation should be undertaken to determine whether the homicide you committed was truly justified under the law.

If you opt to "defend" your automobile with deadly force, you need to be held accountable for your actions, even if that accountability means you're ultimately not indicted because you were within your legal rights.

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JLucas 4 years, 6 months ago

Tstauffer, in such a situation I would most certainly expect and cooperate with an investigation into my actions. That's the law.

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tellmesomething 4 years, 6 months ago

For all those who say this shooting was justifiable, knowing one key things will change your thought. Yes we have the right to shot someone on our property, but not neccessarily so in our vechile, but even on our property there is a but. We all agree that their have to be bodily harm felt that says, i belive i might be killed. But if a person is retreating than their is dought that your still in immediate danger.

Now Eric Williams say he told Quardious Thomas to put his hands up, and thats when he began to fumble and reach. No one know but Eric Williams if that is the truth or not, but Quardious Thomas bullets wounds tell a different story. All though their haven't been any detail of the exact location of where the bullet holes are in Thomas back, but just knowing their are four in his back and he was in a vechile says alot.

Today while washing my dodge ram, my son sat inside. It wasn't until i was on the passenger side of the truck and my son was looking out the driver window with his back to me did i notice this. I than had my older son sit in the driver seat and i told him to turn slowy as if he was going to exit the truck. The only way that i could hit him in his back, is trying to exit, and if you try doing what i did, you will notice as well, that it looks like Quardious Thomas was trying to exit the vechile, trying to flee. Pray everyone has a safe xmas, and happy new year, and watch for the criminals because they are coming.

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bubbat 4 years, 6 months ago

One problem with your scenario it does not hold up as proof. Even with bullets wounds in the back it does not prove Thomas was trying to exit to run away. Go back to the drivers side put you son in the drivers seat and tell him turn as he were trying to get a weapon off the passenger seat, his back will partially be toward you. Hmmm??

Williams could very well been on the driver side of the truck when he fired and Thomas not trying to exit.

So if Thomas was in the drivers seat he could have and most likely turned his back to Williams when he was fumbling in the console, between the seats or passenger seat for what Williams thought was a weapon and this action was why Williams fired, his back would have been toward him.

Even if Williams was on the passenger side and Thomas was in the drivers seat he would have to exit the truck to attack Williams, which after him fumbling in the truck and then exiting could have be perceived as an act of aggression and why Williams fired before Thomas exited the truck, if he was on the passenger side like you think he was. Just something else to consider.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas too.

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Turtleread 4 years, 5 months ago

Ms. Ladd would argue that every killing be submitted to a Grand Jury if I understand her reasoning, which would eliminate the decision of the police to do an extra-thorough investigation or a prosecutor to decide to bring charges or even to take it to a Grand Jury. Her reasoning does have some merit; however the Legislature chose not to insert a mechanism to sort out the facts nor rule on the merits of cases under the Castle Doctrine. The question is was this their intent with the law or an oversight? Did they intend a prosecutor's power to extend this far? And what about "officers of the court?" Under MS judicial ethics, the D.A. should have revealed that he was a relative of Thomas and asked the State Attorney-General's Office to handle the case.

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donnaladd 4 years, 5 months ago

This defense of the Castle Doctrine and the killing of Quardious Thomas is running as a letter to the editor this week:

I have just read R.L. Nave’s article, “Killing Quardious Thomas: A Castle Doctrine Case Study” (jfp.ms/quardious) in the Dec. 11-17, 2013, issue. I do sympathize for Tonya Greenwood in the loss of her son. I do not agree with her remark, “They made the law so easy—and just like that it’s justified. (Quardious) never had

a chance.” Yes, Ms. Greenwood’s son had a chance. He had the chance to stay at home that morning and not go out breaking into vehicles that did not belong to him. He had the chance to wake up and decide to do something constructive with his life. Instead, he saw the chance to vandalize automobiles for the reason, I am assuming, of stealing valuables to sell or exchange for drugs. As a recent victim of a home burglary, I cannot explain to you what was taken from me that evening, in addition to the possessions that I worked so hard for. No locks on the door can take away the feeling of insecurity or the violation I feel knowing someone was in the house and went through my personal belongings. After being out and returning home, I still experience apprehension and fear before opening the door to enter, afraid that someone has illegally entered my home again. Had I been at home when the low-life broke in, I would have used deadly force to protect myself and my belongings. Before anyone asks, “Is it worth taking a human life over possessions?” let me respond by saying, I am not going to sit or stand there waiting to see if the intruder just leaves or if they are going to physically harm me. Criminals should be asking the question, “Is it worth my life to break in and steal what is not mine?”  To Ms. Greenwood I say, I don’t see the Castle Doctrine as a law that makes it easy for anyone. Had I been at home and used deadly force to protect myself and my possessions, I cannot conceive of how I would be feeling now at the taking of someone’s life. To me the “easy” part would have been for Ms. Greenwood’s son to live according to God’s commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Steal.”  Honest, hard-working people are getting fed up with people taking from them. Ms. Greenwood’s son broke into vehicles, but it is my understanding that a vehicle is considered an extension of your home. How long would it be before her son graduated to breaking into homes? What if he broke into a vehicle and/or home and stole a legally owned and registered firearm and then used it himself to kill someone. Don’t say it couldn’t happen. I bet Ms. Greenwood would have never thought her son would be vandalizing and entering other people’s vehicles. I, myself, am thankful for the Castle Doctrine law. I feel confident in saying that all law-abiding citizens do. Criminals, however, do take issue with it, I’m sure.

Patty Saliba Brandon, Miss.

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dgmcdowell 4 years, 5 months ago

I am not here to debate the merits of the "Castle Doctrine" law, as I see it has been well documented here and R.L. has already done enough to spur the discussion. However, when I found Ms. Saliba's response in this week's JFP, I was amazed by the logic jump taken in the name of God's commandments.

In a single paragraph, Saliba admits willingness to kill: "Had I been at home when the low-life broke in, I would have used deadly force to protect myself and my belongings." and immediately transitions to 'To me the “easy' part would have been for Ms. Greenwood’s son to live according to God’s commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Steal.' "

There are plenty of ways to argue for a castle doctrine, but there is no asterisk next to "Thou shalt not kill" in God's commandments.

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kbelt1 4 years, 4 months ago

I'm coming in a little late to discussion, but it's very obvious that Mississippi's castle doctrine cannot be applied to justify this killing.

Under § 97-3-15, "The killing of a human being by the act, procurement or omission of another shall be justifiable in the following cases: .... (e) When committed by any person in resisting any attempt unlawfully to kill such person or to commit any felony upon him, or upon or in any dwelling, in any occupied vehicle, in any place of business, in any place of employment or in the immediate premises thereof in which such person shall be; "

Quardious Thomas was not attacking Eric Williams. He was not attempting to break into Eric Williams' dwelling. Quardious Thomas had broken into an UNOCCUPIED vehicle, while Eric Williams was safely inside his home. Eric Williams then took it upon himself to leave the safety of home, go outside and kill Quardious Thomas, presumably in defense of .... his truck.

That is murder, and Eric Williams should have been charged. It is unfortunate that corruption is still rampant in the rural south.

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