Sunday, December 14, 2003

South Bend, Indiana

Okay, this shooting happened in May 2000--but the shooter was charged, and has now been found innocent. From the December 12, 2003 South Bend Tribune:
A St. Joseph Superior Court jury decided Thursday that a former strip club bouncer acted in self-defense in May 2000 when he fired his gun at a man he had just fought with.

The jury of six men and six women began deliberating about 1:15 p.m. and reached a verdict about six hours later.

Robert Wigginton, 38, of South Bend, was acquitted of charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated battery and two counts of attempted battery.

The former Kitty Kat Lounge bouncer is accused of shooting 24-year-old Shawn Beesley of Taylor, Mich., in the back, after a fight. Beesley was then run over by a truck driven by one of his companions that night.

The incident occurred early May 16, 2000, after Wigginton had been in a fight with the three men in a parking lot behind the bar at 1315 S. Michigan St.

Wigginton and his lawyer, Thomas Keller, maintained he fired his gun in self-defense after the three men had beaten him

Wigginton was also accused of attempting to harm Beesley's friends when he fired shots at their truck. The men were not wounded.
This is not going to win any awards for cleanest use of a gun in self-defense. It is a reminder that incidents that may be initially reported to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports program as a murder or non-negligent manslaughter turn into self-defense at trial.

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