Several states, including South Carolina, have passed the “Stand Your Ground Law” which states that a person does not have to retreat from a situation before using deadly force. The law is not limited to only a person’s home, such as the case of George Zimmerman and the killing of Trayvon Martin. The law was enacted to allow those who feel threatened in a way that will cause serious bodily harm or death to protect them, using deadly force if necessary. The law is broad and often hard to interpret, so it often becomes a defense for the perpetrator, rather than protection for the victim.
James Edward Loftis is trying to use the law to get away with murder. Loftis, 39, from South Carolina hailed a cab to take him home during the early morning hours. Perhaps he spent all of his money at the strip club he came from, but for whatever reason he refused to pay the driver, Guma Oz Dubar for the fare.
Instead, he jumped out of the cab and ran. Dubar and a friend, James Cody Newland, decided to chase Loftis, instead of letting him skip out on the bill. The two men followed Loftis all the way to his home, where Loftis retreated inside, but before finally agreeing to pay the money he owed.
The men waited, expecting Loftis to return with the cash. Instead he came out of the house with a .45 pistol and proceeded to shoot both men eight times until they were dead.
The story doesn’t end there. It is not clear if Loftis was trying to cover up the murder or just went on a rampage when he dragged the men to his backyard where he slowly burned the bodies and then buried them.
Soon after his wife came home to discover the blood and bullet holes throughout the home and wisely called the police. He was arrested, but here is where the story takes a frightening turn.
Due to the “Stand Your Ground Act” Loftis may be able to claim self-defense if he can prove the men forcibly tried to enter his home and he felt threatened. This has not been established by the police, and the matter is still under investigation. If Loftis and his attorney can prove this, it will be the determining factor between Loftis murdering the men in cold blood and killing them in self defense.
Now let’s consider the fact that Loftis didn’t just kill the men but went on to burn the bodies. His attorney is quite forthright is his opinion that had the bodies not been burned, Loftis would have a clear defense and be a free man. Loftis should be charged with not only murder but with desecrating human remains, which he has not been as of yet.
What he has been given, for killing two men in cold blood and trying to hide the aftermath, is bail set at $250,000. He is expected to post bail shortly. Now we need to ask ourselves if “Stand Your Ground” laws are really protecting the victim or the victimizer.