Florida Law protects SUV owner who shot, killed woman

Posted on April 28, 2009. Filed under: Florida, self defense |

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) — Authorities do not plan to file charges against a Florida orange grove owner who fatally shot a 21-year-old woman, saying he is protected under the state’s controversial “no retreat” law.

But the woman’s boyfriend faces second-degree murder charges in her death, because the woman was shot to death during an alleged felony — the theft of an SUV.

Tony Curtis Phillips, 29, didn’t fire a single shot. He didn’t even know his girlfriend, Nikki McCormick, was dead until police showed him an online news story.

Police said McCormick accompanied Phillips as he attempted to steal the SUV from a barn in an orange grove near Wahneta, Florida, before daylight Tuesday.

Grove owner Ladon “Jamie” Jones opened fire as the SUV approached him, according to an affidavit released by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Phillips fled; McCormick was shot in the head and later died. More on CNN.com

Authorities said Jones is protected by Florida’s “no retreat” law, which gives him the right to use lethal force if he reasonably believes his life is in danger. Phillips, however, faces charges because police allege he was committing felony grand theft auto at the time of McCormick’s death. More on CNN.com

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