GUNS/RLTD Platte County cites ‘stand your ground’ law, declines charges for man who killed 2 over firewood

Ogre

Veteran Member
PLATTE CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man will not be charged after prosecutors said he killed two men over a load of firewood near Parkville earlier this year. A grand jury declined to indict the gunman because of Missouri’s ‘stand your ground law,’ according to the Platte County Prosecutor.

“Missouri’s ‘stand your ground’ law means people do not have to retreat before using force to defend themselves if they are in a place they have a right to be. And while people can never use deadly force merely to protect property, they can use deadly force if they reasonably believe deadly force is necessary to protect themselves against death or serious physical injury,” Eric Zahnd, Platte County Prosecuting Attorney, said.

Kalob Lawson, 34, of Kimberling City, and Jonathan Lutz, 44, of Kansas City, were shot and killed on Feb. 10. Investigators said Lawson and Lutz were paid $200 to deliver a cord of firewood to a home in Platte County. They determined the homeowner paid for the firewood and then left as the men continued to unload the delivery.

Zahnd said the men stopped unloading the firewood and left the home shortly after the owner, delivering less firewood than the homeowner expected. The owner’s 22-year-old son saw what happened and chased after Lawson and Lutz in his own vehicle. He caught up with the men on the shoulder of eastbound 9 Highway.

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According to court documents witnesses told investigators that the son stepped out of his vehicle and said something like, “Are you just going to rob my dad?”

Court documents then show that when Lawson and Lutz got out of their vehicle, Lawson was armed with a handgun. The son said Lawson and Lutz were walking toward him, and Lawson raised his gun and pointed it at the son. The son said he reached into his car, removed a gun, and fired multiple times.

Lawson was shot in the chest and face, and Lutz was hit in the abdomen and shoulder. Lawson died at the scene, and Lutz was transported to a hospital, where he later died.

“This is a tragic case in which two people died in a dispute over a mere $200 of firewood, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families. Ultimately, however, after carefully considering the facts and hearing from multiple witnesses, the grand jury found no crime had been committed in the shooting,” Zahnd said.

 

BadMedicine

Would *I* Lie???
I hate when they say this was "Stand your ground." a law passed so they could REDEFINE SELF DEFENSE.

This is good old fashion, PRE-ENGLISH LAW, Common law self defense.

Life was threatened. Threat was neutralized. This has nothing to do with "not having to retreat" when you are "somewhere you're legally allowed to be."
That mealy-mouthed BS is part of the decline of the RIGHT OF SELF PRESERVATION IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.

He was not "standing his ground" He was defending his life. That is clear cut SELF DEFENSE and needs no state blessing.


FURTHER.. the perps where IN THE ACT of ARMED ROBBERY.. a crime in which the son saw them commit and was following them and asking for THEIR PAID FOR PROPERTY.. that the perp is now defending/stealing with use and threat of a firearm.. so literally in the commission of an armed robbery... and another thing... my gf pointed this out to me recently.. anyone who cuts firewood for a living is a meth head. If they don't have the land, machines and automated system... bucking wood one cord at a time.. strong evidence of 'upper' use.
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
I hate when they say this was "Stand your ground." a law passed so they could REDEFINE SELF DEFENSE.

This is good old fashion, PRE-ENGLISH LAW, Common law self defense.

Life was threatened. Threat was neutralized. This has nothing to do with "not having to retreat" when you are "somewhere you're legally allowed to be."
That mealy-mouthed BS is part of the decline of the RIGHT OF SELF PRESERVATION IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.

He was not "standing his ground" He was defending his life. That is clear cut SELF DEFENSE and needs no state blessing.


FURTHER.. the perps where IN THE ACT of ARMED ROBBERY.. a crime in which the son saw them commit and was following them and asking for THEIR PAID FOR PROPERTY.. that the perp is now defending/stealing with use and threat of a firearm.. so literally in the commission of an armed robbery... and another thing... my gf pointed this out to me recently.. anyone who cuts firewood for a living is a meth head. If they don't have the land, machines and automated system... bucking wood one cord at a time.. strong evidence of 'upper' use.
I agree with most of what you said, but have to at least partially disagree with your last comment. It may be true of some, but I know good people who buck and sell one cord of firewood at a time, as part of their off-grid, gray-man lifestyle. Usually they do other kinds of seasonal and handyman work, too.

Kathleen
 

parocan

Veteran Member
I agree with most of what you said, but have to at least partially disagree with your last comment. It may be true of some, but I know good people who buck and sell one cord of firewood at a time, as part of their off-grid, gray-man lifestyle. Usually they do other kinds of seasonal and handyman work, too.

Kathleen
yup exactly, when my hubby was a teen, his dad would get a logging truck load of wood dumped in front of the
house. My hubby would then help his dad chop it all up and sell it using his old international flat bed truck.
 

jward

passin' thru
Entirely too close to home.. Wondering if they hooked up via craigslist, and if I dare peruse it for a few more cords insurance
 

mistaken1

Veteran Member
A grand jury declined to indict the gunman because of Missouri’s ‘stand your ground law,’ according to the Platte County Prosecutor.
Should have been:
A grand jury declined to indict the man because it was ruled self-defense, according to the Platte County Prosecutor.

Also note how everyone no matter which side of the law they are on is an ominous 'gunman'.
 

Troke

On TB every waking moment
I hate when they say this was "Stand your ground." a law passed so they could REDEFINE SELF DEFENSE.

This is good old fashion, PRE-ENGLISH LAW, Common law self defense.

Life was threatened. Threat was neutralized. This has nothing to do with "not having to retreat" when you are "somewhere you're legally allowed to be."
That mealy-mouthed BS is part of the decline of the RIGHT OF SELF PRESERVATION IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.

He was not "standing his ground" He was defending his life. That is clear cut SELF DEFENSE and needs no state blessing.


FURTHER.. the perps where IN THE ACT of ARMED ROBBERY.. a crime in which the son saw them commit and was following them and asking for THEIR PAID FOR PROPERTY.. that the perp is now defending/stealing with use and threat of a firearm.. so literally in the commission of an armed robbery... and another thing... my gf pointed this out to me recently.. anyone who cuts firewood for a living is a meth head. If they don't have the land, machines and automated system... bucking wood one cord at a time.. strong evidence of 'upper' use.
In da olde days, Common Law said if you have an avenue of retreat, you retreat. I don't think this guy had such an avenue given the circumstances but don't think for one moment Common Law backs up "stand your ground". Been 70 yrs since I studied it, but I don't think CL even allows deadly force to defend your property, only your life with no avenue of retreat.
 

desert_fox

Senior Member
So the defendant had time enough to reach into a car, grab a gun, withdraw gun from said car, aim and fire all while having a shotgun aimed at him?

Methinks the dead guy was definitely not firing on all cylinders.
 

Dobbin

Faithful Steed
Been 70 yrs since I studied it, but I don't think CL even allows deadly force to defend your property, only your life with no avenue of retreat.
Faster than a speeding bullet?

No wait. That's Superman.

Dobbin
 

medic38572

TB Fanatic
“This is a tragic case in which two people died in a dispute over a mere $200 of firewood, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families. Ultimately, however, after carefully considering the facts and hearing from multiple witnesses, the grand jury found no crime had been committed in the shooting,” Zahnd said.
BS 2 people died after 1 pointed a weapon at another man after an argument over firewood.
 

Ogre

Veteran Member
The son chased them down wasn't that the first threat?
one man against two in most cases isn't a threat. If the son had gotten out with a weapon in his hand, then yes, he committed murder. On the local news, the prosecutor did not seem to be bothered by the ruling.
 

Dobbin

Faithful Steed
The son appears (there's that word again) to have pursued in person to "demand fair measure." The firewood "vendors" pulled a gun and "pointed it" at the unarmed son. (evidence of threat of bodily harm? Certainly "brandishing.") The son returned to his car and returned with fire.

Brandishing is "visual threat (doesn't have to be a gun) accompanied by a demand." In this case "get out of here or we'll shoot you."

The weakness of the son's position is that he could have withdrawn - and sought remediation through legal means.

Not said if the two vendors "initiated fire" first - and missed - which then would eliminate son's safe withdrawal and give license to return fire.

Good shoot - but could be challenged in a court of law. It is well it was not brought to that level.

Yes, the general level of community safety was increased in that action.

Dobbin
 

WalknTrot

Veteran Member
The way that story is written (poorly) there's no real way to figure out what happened well enough to judge.

Not my problem...but I'd be damned hard pressed to kill two people over a $200 load of wood.
Would prolly vote accordingly if I was on the jury, too.
 

Walrus

Veteran Member
The way that story is written (poorly) there's no real way to figure out what happened well enough to judge.

Not my problem...but I'd be damned hard pressed to kill two people over a $200 load of wood.
Would prolly vote accordingly if I was on the jury, too.
As Faroe mentioned earlier, once that handgun was pointed at the son, it was no longer about firewood. Nothing would have happened if the wood delivery had been done honestly. If the families of the two criminals want to file civil suits, it's their right but they're on shaky ground. I suspect there's several slip, trip and fall lawyers who'd take on the job for a majority share of the proceeds.
 

WalknTrot

Veteran Member
As Faroe mentioned earlier, once that handgun was pointed at the son, it was no longer about firewood. Nothing would have happened if the wood delivery had been done honestly. If the families of the two criminals want to file civil suits, it's their right but they're on shaky ground. I suspect there's several slip, trip and fall lawyers who'd take on the job for a majority share of the proceeds.
Then "stand your ground" had little/nothing to do with it. Nor did a load of firewood.
If it was self-defense, the writer went out of their way to avoid the term..and the grand jury should have found on those grounds instead of the reported "stand your ground".

The story is a garbled mess, and as with most juries/decisions, you have no idea what really went down or why a decision was made unless you sit and hear the evidence from the inside.
 

Walrus

Veteran Member
Then "stand your ground" had little/nothing to do with it. Nor did a load of firewood.
If it was self-defense, the writer went out of their way to avoid the term..and the grand jury should have found on those grounds instead of the reported "stand your ground".

The story is a garbled mess, and as with most juries/decisions, you have no idea what really went down or why a decision was made unless you sit and hear the evidence from the inside.
Fair enough, although a son lives in Platte City and grandson still attends hs there, so I pay a bit more attention to it than I would any other KC suburb. That does indeed not make me any more knowledgeable than any other interested observer. I'm not a lawyer and don't even play one on TV but the truth of it is that a couple of guys paid a heavy price for ripping off a customer.

I agree that the story is a garbled mess - as is the whole incident itself - but your argument is with the reporter, not with me. And it was the grand jury who made that decision not to indict, not me, as they would have had the information spoon-fed to them by a prosecutor. So if the prosecutor laid it out so that's the decision they made (as it's well known that's what they basically do), ce la vie.
 

Ku Commando

Veteran Member
Entirely too close to home.. Wondering if they hooked up via craigslist, and if I dare peruse it for a few more cords insurance

Call up a few tree trimming services around your area.....they may cut & stack cords ready for delivery......or know which way to point you
 

Dennis Olson

Chief Curmudgeon
_______________
In da olde days, Common Law said if you have an avenue of retreat, you retreat. I don't think this guy had such an avenue given the circumstances but don't think for one moment Common Law backs up "stand your ground". Been 70 yrs since I studied it, but I don't think CL even allows deadly force to defend your property, only your life with no avenue of retreat.
So someone pulling a gun, pointing it at you and coming toward you isn’t t threatening your life?
 

Squib

Veteran Member
The way that story is written (poorly) there's no real way to figure out what happened well enough to judge.

Not my problem...but I'd be damned hard pressed to kill two people over a $200 load of wood.
Would prolly vote accordingly if I was on the jury, too.
But I’d be willing to bet you’d kill two people who pulled a gun on you whilst you were discussing a breach of contract, no?
 

Troke

On TB every waking moment
So someone pulling a gun, pointing it at you and coming toward you isn’t t threatening your life?
Add one to this. Common Law says "three's a mob". And you can use deadly force against a mob even if they are not armed but are obviously threatening you with grave .injury.

Common Law (greatly respected by Libertarians) is 16th century stuff. Not many pistols around.

The answer to your question is yes and you can shoot.
 

Squib

Veteran Member
Add one to this. Common Law says "three's a mob". And you can use deadly force against a mob even if they are not armed but are obviously threatening you with grave .injury.

Common Law (greatly respected by Libertarians) is 16th century stuff. Not many pistols around.

The answer to your question is yes and you can shoot.
Could be mistaken, but common law goes back to England…to the Magna Carta and 11th century…castle doctrine and all that? That’s pretty old precedent.
 

20Gauge

Has No Life - Lives on TB
I agree with most of what you said, but have to at least partially disagree with your last comment. It may be true of some, but I know good people who buck and sell one cord of firewood at a time, as part of their off-grid, gray-man lifestyle. Usually they do other kinds of seasonal and handyman work, too.

Kathleen
Yes but that is changing...
 
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