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Witness says off-duty “Road Rage” cop not aggressor in Maryland shooting

Witness says off-duty “Road Rage” cop not aggressor in Maryland shooting

A witness of the deadly road-rage confrontation consistently identifies the deceased, Joseph Harvey, Jr., as the aggressor looking to fight

The upcoming trial of Joseph Walker involves an off-duty New Jersey police officer traveling through Maryland with his wife and small children in a Kia minivan, and Joseph Dean Harvey, Jr., traveling the same roads with his friend, Adam Pidel in a Honda Accord. A road rage incident ensues, a confrontation occurs, and Walker shoots Harvey dead on the side of the road.

Walker, charged with first degree murder and several firearms enhancements, claims that he shot and killed Harvey in necessary self-defense, and defense of his wife and children.

The key difficulty with the defense narrative is that Maryland is a duty-to-retreat state, under the law, and Harvey was unarmed and on foot and Walker had immediate access to a motor vehicle, under the facts.

In such jurisdictions under such scenarios the courts almost always require that the defender make use of his operable vehicle to safely retreat from the confrontation before that defender is permitted to lawfully resort to deadly force in self-defense.

An odd wrinkle of Maryland self-defense law appears to be that although a duty to retreat is imposed upon a defender acting in defense of himself, the duty to retreat does not apply if the defender is acting in defense of others. It has yet to be seen how this will play out in court.

Nevertheless, a number of witness statements to police are being released and shedding light and providing context to the sharp and fatal confrontation between Harvey and Walker.

In this post we share the testimony to police of a redacted (as to identity) witness who was the passenger in a vehicle who observed a portion of the conflict, beginning after whatever event initiated the conflict and ending before the actual shots were fired. Nevertheless, this witnesses’ testimony would appear to be of a nature that would be both compelling to the jury and favorable to Walker.

Because the witness statement is attached as Exhibit B to the defense’s recent motion to dismiss the charges against Walker, for purposes of this post we will refer to the witness as “Mr. B.” (The official transcript of his statement is located at the bottom of this post.)

Mr. B tells Trooper First Class Mario Farfan (henceforth, “Trooper”) that when he began observing the vehicles of Harvey and Walker it was clear that a road rage confrontation was already taking place. Mr. B was in the right front passenger seat of the vehicle being driven by his friend, and so was in an ideal situation to observe events without distraction.

He consistently describes Harvey and Pidel as the provokers and aggressors at every stage of the conflict, to the extent he observed it.

The gentleman in the Honda [Harvey’s vehicle] kept going up and . . . giving them the finger and all this other crap and telling them to pull over.

The white guy [Harvey or Pidel] kept telling [Walker], “Come on. Come on. Come on. Pull over. Pull over. Pull over.”

The Honda was way up here [when pulled over]. He had a chance to go, to leave, to get away from the premises, to go.

The Honda pulls over first. So [Harvey and Pidel] in the Honda jump out of the car.

[Harvey and Pidel] approach [Walker] in an aggressive way and going towards him. And I been in situations like that. And they look like they wanted some type of trouble.

[Harvey and Pidel], as soon as they stopped, they popped the doors. [Trooper: Right away.] Yeah. [Trooper: In one second.] Yeah. [Trooper: They were out.] They popped the doors.

The gray Honda was in front of me. [Harvey and Pidel] were just, throwing the bird up, the finger out the window, telling them to pull over, pull over.

[Harvey] keeps going back and forth trying to cut [Walker] off and everything. So he’s giving them the bird, showing him, pull over, pull over. So eventually they get in the slow lane. And that’s when the Honda pulls up and pulls over and stops, jumps out of the car. And [Walker] stopped 40, 50 feet back.

[Harvey and Pidel] looked like they was on a mission. Ready to fight.

This was road rage.

[Harvey and Pidel’s] faces was tight. They were gritting like their teeth. And they looked like they was getting ready to start a fight, man.

[Harvey and Pidel] were moving in a fast manner.

[Harvey and Pidel] were like trying to get there, real fast mode, like really trying to proceed.

So [Harvey and Pidel] started aggressively coming towards [Walker’s minivan].

Mr. B also consistently describes Walker’s conduct as non-confrontational:

And like [Walker] pulled over. And he just stayed there. And then [Harvey and Pidel] both jumped out of the car. And he [Walker] just stood by his car.

The Honda pulls over first. And then [Walker] pulls over. And [Walker] just stands by his van.

[Walker] just stood by his car like this, in a calm gesture, and just stood right by his driver’s door.

[Waker] was like this [his arms crossed, like] saying “I just want peace.”

[Walker] was just like this, wondering what was going to happen or wonder what they was going to say.

As soon as [Walker] seen they was coming, that’s when he got next to his door and just stood there like this [arms crossed].

When asked by the Trooper if Mr. B had seen Walker doing anything back to Harvey:

No. He was just driving. Like I said, the black gentleman was just driving.

[Walker] wanted to get away from [Harvey]. [Harvey] was slowing up, slowing up, slowing up, slowing up. And then [Harvey] finally stopped. And then [Walker] stopped, a good 30 or 50 feet.

Mr. B also described a considerable disparity of force situation (but for Walker’s use of his sidearm), testifying that both Harvey and Pidel appeared considerably larger than Walker.

Asked to describe Harvey, Mr. B stated:

Blondish-like hair, real stocky. 250 [lbs], stocky build, 5’10” or 5’11”.

Asked to describe pidel, Mr. B simply stated:

The same, same build. [Trooper: Big guys. Both of them were pretty big guys.] Yeah.

In contrast, asked to describe Walker, Mr. B stated:

5’9” or 5’10”. [Trooper: Was he a big guy? Small guy?] No. Thin. [Skinny?] Yeah.

Walker’s legal counsel tells me that they believe the troubling issue of his failure to adhere to Maryland’s duty-to-retreat can be legally avoided on the basis that he was also defending others—his wife and small children, and that the duty to retreat does not apply in that context.

A quick review of Maryland’s jury instructions confirms that duty-to-retreat is not included in that context.

And a rational argument could be made why it might not be—a person defending themselves has the decision-making power over whether they retreat or not, but they do not have that power over a third-person they are defending.

Yet, it seems a specious argument in this case, where Walker’s own retreat would necessarily have also effected the retreat of his wife and children, as they were in the same vehicle.

In any case, we’ll continue to analyze witness statements to police and other evidence as it emerges, right here at Legal Insurrection.

And here’s the official transcript of the actual police interview of “Mr. B.”:

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.


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just thinking out loud here.

wonder if the officer stopped that far back hoping that by doing that he would defuse situation.
then when they hopped out and started coming back he may not have had any real options, attempt to flee and they may block access making him hit them or traffic may have prevented re-entry. and in that same context they could have gotten back to their car before he could enter and just redo the whole thing over.
seems to me he may (and I mean MAY) have been left with little choice.
and I bet he wishes they had a SYG law now.
but like I think I said before, nothing good will come from this case.
his job almost ensures that, no matter what happens the verdict will be blamed (most likely incorrectly) on his job.

    The vibe I’m getting is that he sought to maintain distance, they kept slowing in front of him, when they pulled over, he pulled over, afraid to pass them for fear they could attack him from the flank.

    Harvey’s and Pidel’s aggressive intentions were already clear, based on this witness’ testimony, and only more clear when they “popped their doors” the moment their Honda came to a stop and began aggressively advancing on Walker and his family.

    I can begin to see a compelling narrative here in which he reasonably believed that either the “fight” had to be quelched here or they would simply continue to follow, swerve, and threaten him until they achieved their satisfaction.

    Walker may have believed that if he showed them his badge, and if necessary displayed his firearm, that it would dissuade them from life-threatening conduct.

    Of course, all self-defense cases are exquisitely fact-sensitive, but certainly this particular witness’ testimony paints an image of Walker as the non-confrontational actor attempting to de-escalate the situation, however bad a driver he may have been, and Harvey and Pidel as two larger men intent on seeking a physical battle.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      does seem like he tried to be non-confrontational based on this witness.
      of course as more info comes out that may change but this witness statement seems to fit what we knew.

      but I still bet he wishes there was a SYG law there 🙂

        “but I still bet he wishes there was a SYG law there :)”

        No kidding. Were it SYG, prosecution wouldn’t have a chance, at least based on the evidence we’ve seen so far.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Rational in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm

          Andrew, I think you just illustrated why some of us don’t like SYG. A person should always try to avoid killing if they can; even if they need to retreat. SYG allows someone to justify shooting when the shooting might have been avoided.

          But before everyone jumps on me, let me say that I suspect this is SD. My reasoning is based on the car Walker was driving and the fact that he had passengers. I drive a high powered sports coupe. Once Harvey got out of his car, I would have stomped on the gas and gotten the hell out of there. Nobody is going to catch me before I get to a cop or a populated place with lots of witnesses. But Williams was driving a sluggish, poor handling vehicle. So he didn’t have that option.

          BTW, I speak from the experience of a foolish youth. I had a couple of incidents when I was young. In one case I took an exit, ran a couple of red lights and only stopped when I got to a busy service station. The pursuer kept on going.

          One thing I don’t understand is why a warning shot didn’t stop Harvey. Assuming Walker did fire a clear warning shot, maybe Harvey’s state of intoxication made him fearless or oblivious? The other possibility is that there was no warning shot.

      rantbot in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 8, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      the “fight” had to be quelched here or they would simply continue to follow, swerve, and threaten him until they achieved their satisfaction.

      It might.

      On the other hand if he continues to drive, the situation may improve – the others may decide to call it a loss and go off to their party; the adrenaline left over from dodging Walker’s originally bungled turn may wear off (it certainly will eventually) and the duel will fizzle out of its own accord; they both may run into a speed trap, affording an opportunity to get LEO assistance; Walker can call for LEO help (nowadays when telephones in cars aren’t exotic, that’s a good option, but it requires some time to realize).

      So it’s not at all clear that Walker made a good decision to stop (and fight) when he did.

      Of course the trial isn’t going to be about that poor decision, but about his poor decision to shoot Harvey.

        bildung in reply to rantbot. | March 8, 2014 at 11:20 pm

        No, the trial is going to be about a hulking goon’s poor decision to force a physical confrontation on a man protecting his life and his family.

        Whereby he got his own self dead.


          Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 9, 2014 at 6:31 pm

          Ahhh, once again the blinding light of objectivity. You and mouse must exchange e-mails.

          /sarc off

    rantbot in reply to dmacleo. | March 9, 2014 at 12:57 am

    that far back hoping that by doing that he would defuse situation.

    We’ve seen no statement so far which implies that Walker was trying to defuse anything. So, why did he stop?

    – Both statements make it clear that the cars weren’t particularly close, so Walker’s van wasn’t physically blocked by Harvey’s car.

    – Walker could have been trying to “defuse” the situation, but if so, there’s no testimony indicating that, and no theories – so far – from us in the peanut gallery as to what form this mollification of Harvey et al might have taken.

    – Pidel’s account is not seriously contradicted by the mysterious Mr B’s. Both statements agree that nobody was running to make an attack. Whether Harvey was walking at normal speed or quickly is in dispute, although Mr. B’s testimony doesn’t touch on what was happening just prior to the fatal shots. That’s the moment when we have to see some reason to believe that a deadly attack was imminent. What happened ten seconds earlier doesn’t much matter. Pidel’s statement includes the decisive moment, B’s does not.

    – I don’t like to think this of anybody, but the statements so far are consistent with Walker being confident that he was the one with the decisive weaponry, and he was just waiting until his unsuspecting prey got nearer before making his move.

    So I think defense is going to need a lot more than B’s statement to salvage its case.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to rantbot. | March 9, 2014 at 4:51 am

      There seems to be a geometry and/or physics and/or timing problem with this witness’s statement. He (?) claims that he saw Harvey gesturing and telling Walker to pull over, giving Walker the finger over and over. The witness claims he was a passenger in a vehicle behind Harvey; he doesn’t say how far behind Harvey they were. But if he really was close enough to understand Harvey’s words, and Harvey kept slowing and then pulled over, then the vehicle the witness was in would have passed the scene on the side of the road before he could see what Walker did in response to Harvey exiting his vehicle after Walker also pulled over. He also ascribes thought processes to Walker that he has no way at all of knowing. He claims Walker exited his vehicle and crossed his arms. The witness then gives his rendition of a body language reading of that and applies speculative thought process in Walker’s mind as facts that would benefit Walker.

      The vehicle he was in would have been too far past Walker, who stopped well back of Harvey, to specify what Walker’s actions were if he’d already really been close enough to see Harvey’s gestures and hear what Harvey was supposedly saying to Walker, unless the vehicle he was in came to a stop or almost. The witness doesn’t say what he and the driver of the vehicle he was in did in response to any of their observations. Did they call 911?

        Gremlin1974 in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | March 9, 2014 at 2:28 pm

        Also, as someone who has actual training in Kinesics, i.e. the study of body language, and a long history working in psych. Generally speaking having your arms crossed across your chest isn’t considered or read as a gesture indicative of “Just wanting peace.”

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 9, 2014 at 8:28 pm

          Correct. It’s an indication of defiance and desire to confront/press one’s position.

          The body language for gesturing for “peace” would be more like standing with arms extended and apart, palms almost completely up, fingers spread a bit, and head slightly cocked, usually to the right, as though to say, “Hey, c’mon, man, I meant no harm. Let’s chill.”

        amatuerwrangler in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | March 11, 2014 at 2:58 am

        I tend to agree that this witness saw an awful lot, and in very great detail, in what can only be described as a short window of opportunity. There is nothing said about this witness (“Mr. B”) actually stopping at the scene to observe.

        How he heard what was being said between the occupants of two cars, neither of which he was in, really pushes the envelope of credibility. Had I been taking that statement I might have pushed more to clear that up.

        I note that Mr. B says that Harvey stopped first, followed at a distance of 50 ft by Walker. This is contrary to Pidel’s version (in his statement to the investigators) which has Walker stopping and Harvey, who is ahead in traffic at that time, then pulling over some 200 ft ahead of Walker. The sequence is important in determining who initiated contact and/or had the last best chance to avoid contact.

        I don’t know why, but it seems like Mr. B had come to the conclusion that Walker was the good guy in this mess and has shaded his version of things to fit.

        I am having trouble drumming up a lot of sympathy for Harvey. He knew Walker was armed and he knew he was not. Still he elected to dismount his vehicle (regardless of who stopped first) and in his unarmed state aggressively advance on the armed man with the intent to fight, if his passenger is to be believed. I recall hearing of a Texas point of law (yes, I know it does not apply in MD) that it is a defense to show that the person “needed killin'”; Harvey just might have been that man, that day. And I am not so sure that Pidel’s hands are a clean as he thinks them to be.

I dislike when they’re describing some guy who’s committing some questionable act(s) as a “gentleman”.

Do they even hear what they’re saying? A gentleman is a GENTLE MAN. cultured, suave, polite, law abiding, NICE and GENTLE.

They don’t call a crazy women doing crazy stuff GENTLE LADY do they?

So why do they feel the need to say “Gentleman” instead of just this person or this man?

I know, in the scheme of things this is a very tiny bump but it just gets on my nerves because the actions they usually describe are so far from being considered “GENTLE” yet they see no problem with describing the person doing those ungentle actions as a “gentleman”.

News readers are totally unaware when they’re on screen.

    nomadic100 in reply to jakee308. | March 8, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Umm, people are referred to all the time in Congress as “Gentle” this or that when the “Gentleperson is doing all manner of “crazy” things. So, yes, there is a precedent.

      And ‘The gentle person from the great state of ‘Shithole, USA’ 🙂

      And of course ‘My good friend from (see above), and ‘I do mean my good friend’ … (who I’d like to see arrested and thrown in prison)

      Worse yet – we PAY THEM $ 170,000 a year for that shit !!!

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to jakee308. | March 8, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    I think I need to clarify something about Modern English.
    In the old days of my youth when you used the word gentleman, you were describing a person. Now when you use the word gentleman (about someone else), you are describing yourself.

    Just the way things change. You don’t have to stop the world.

    rantbot in reply to jakee308. | March 9, 2014 at 12:04 am

    describing some guy who’s committing some questionable act(s) as a “gentleman”.

    Jarring it is, but the convention is necessary, because if witnesses refer to a person as “that hammerhead” or some such, one lawyer or another will claim that it indicates malice toward his client.

    ReallyVeryObnoxious in reply to jakee308. | March 9, 2014 at 1:20 am

    I would quibble.

    I have heard that the original theory behind the gentleman is that he is strong enough, including at skill of arms, that he can afford everyone the same treatment. Protecting the weak, comforting the afflicted, countering the sort that can only see restraint as weakness, that sort of thing.

    These days some see that sort of thing as oppressive; it goes against their faith to cultivate it.

    Referring to people by default as ladies and gentlemen is a courtesy that dates back to when this was more widely held in esteem.

    The Science Fiction Writers of America recently sacked a newsletter editor for, among other things, describing respected adult human females as ladies. The term ‘Lady’ was considered misogynistic.

    If one must be accurate, man, woman, and adult also have connotations that do not correctly describe all persons over the legal age of majority.

    I can see three reasons for using a less accurate more polite term.

    There are times when pointing out how worthless a person is does not do anything to correct their behavior. There are times when using anything but the most formal and polite term can be a major legal liability. There are times when using a word in less appropriate situations helps preserve usage in general.

    Finally, someone with worse judgment than I, who masters themself less fully, might well qualify as weaker. Even if I hold them to account for their actions, can’t I at least use some care in how I describe them?

    Mac45 in reply to jakee308. | March 9, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Actually, the term “gentleman” does not refer to a man’s nature, but rather to his station. The first three definitions for Gentle in Merriam -Webster are the following:

    ” a : belonging to a family of high social station
    b archaic : chivalrous
    c : honorable, distinguished; specifically : of or relating to a gentleman “.

    Phillep Harding in reply to jakee308. | March 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    That usage dates from an era when you better suck up to those in charge or they can legally lop your head off for being uppity.

    It’s sort of why elves and the fey were called “the good folk” when they were nothing of the sort.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to jakee308. | March 9, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Frankly, I think the use of the word “Gentleman/Gentlemen” in this case is to try to avoid using the words that the speaker would normally use to describe the individuals involved, since those words could indicate bias, whether real or imagined. So therefore, it is white gentlemen and black gentlemen, which from his speech patters isn’t how we normally refers to people.

    But your statement isn’t going to be taken seriously if you refer to the victim as a “redneck” or to Walker as the “brother”. This isn’t an uncommon phenomenon when people are making “official” statements, people try, and are sometimes even coached, to reduce their use of “slang” terms when giving statements.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 9, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      Again, I agree. The witness wants to be taken seriously, thus he’s doing his best to avoid the vernacular. It’s important to him to be believed.

I also see a jump in the description of the incident. One minute Walker’s just sitting there while Harvey and the other guy get out of their car and then Walker’s standing by his car.

When did Walker get out? Did he get out first and then Harvey pulled over and got out or did Harvey pull over, Walker pulls over and then Harvey gets out and then Walker gets out?

Why did Walker get out of his car in the first place?

I also note the witness states that Harvey was 40-50 feet in front and not the 100 some feet that was eventually measured. Did Walker move the car after he shot Harvey?

There’s some questions here for me about what really happened at the moment when Harvey pulled over. Why didn’t Walker just take off then? He obviously stopped either before or just after Harvey did. Why? Seems to me that maybe he was looking for a confrontation too then after he shot Harvey, he moved his car back so it looked like Harvey was really intent on doing damage. If Harvey parked closer, then it would’ve happened too fast for anyone to be certain exactly what Harvey had in mind and it could be that Walker said some things too.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to jakee308. | March 8, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    If I witnessed something like this, in a moving vehicle and I estimated 40-50 feet and someone told me they measured 100 feet, my reaction. would be “oh I got it pretty close”.

    Estragon in reply to jakee308. | March 9, 2014 at 1:32 am

    Walker probably realized, based on his police experience, that having an aggressive driver behind or flanking you is much more dangerous than keeping him in front of you.

    “Duty to retreat” is not absolute, there is never (that I am aware of) any requirement to retreat if doing so entails greater risk than standing ground, irrespective of SYG laws. There may be states which require the defender to retreat even at risk to himself, but there aren’t many of them. The duty is not to fail to retreat if it can be done safely.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Estragon. | March 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Honestly I don’t get the point of your statement. Most people here, I believe by now should understand what a duty to retreat means. I am not trying to “pounce” on you, I just want to understand what point you were trying to make.

From that info, it sounds like the victim of an assault (Walker) is going to prison for defending himself, due to no ‘SYG’ relief in the law.

As to ‘Walker was defending others’ – worth a shot, I guess, but the obvious come-back is ‘If Walker had abided by his duty to retreat (in his vehicle), he would have also similarly protected the others by default’.

The reposte to this is ‘Walker already knew that **IF** he got in the car and drove away, the asshole Harvey and friend would simply follow him as they had demonstrated they wanted to do.

Therefore, no ‘retreat’ was possible, and any attempts at evasive driving manuevers would be inherently life-threatening to Walker and his passengers both.

Thus, ‘driving away’ was not an actual means of retreat.

Thus, Walker walks.

    “Thus, ‘driving away’ was not an actual means of retreat.”

    I imagine this has to be part of the narrative to the jury. Maybe THE part. Harvey was intent on a fight, wasn’t going to let it go, wouldn’t allow the situation to be defused (even after being shown a badge and a gun, perhaps), and thus Walker was left with no choice.

    Personally, I suspect I would have found a way to drive away, even if just backwards at 10mph.

    But is that narrative enough to raise the reasonable doubt necessary to sustain a legal defense of self-defense?

    It’s not bad.

    And if they can only get one juror to buy that and hang, is the state of Maryland going to continue to pursue such an apparently weak case?

    In the Old World, the odds of a retrial would deliberately “have a finger placed on the scales” by New Jersey arresting a MD police officer for some reason.

    Then an “exchange of prisoners,” so to speak.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      “Personally, I suspect I would have found a way to drive away, even if just backwards at 10mph.”

      Reposte – Driving backwards in the wrong direction on the street is an invitation to disaster, endangering all in the vehicle, and any other vehicles, pedestrians, etc. And no assurance that the aggressor wouldn’t follow anyway.

        rantbot in reply to pjm. | March 8, 2014 at 10:39 pm

        So, on one hand, there’s an invitation to disaster, and on the other, an actual disaster.

        The choice should be clear.

      janitor in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Wondering about what kind of road. I thought it was some kind of multi-lane freeway. If so, there would be no going backwards. If the aggressors were using their vehicle in a dangerous manner, the defendant’s pulling over would make sense, rather than passing them, to avoid having having them then come from behind and start the shenanigans over again in traffic, and also to avoid having to maneuver the his vehicle in a way that risked the lives of his passengers. Passing them also would have exposed the passenger side.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to janitor. | March 8, 2014 at 11:40 pm

        From what I can tell from google maps and looking at the news footage from that night, it appears it actually happened on a ramp where rte 3 and Hwy 32 both merge with 97 just outside Gambrills, Maryland.

        From the news footage it happened closer to 97 than to rte 3 or 32, but before the merge is complete.

        Baker in reply to janitor. | March 9, 2014 at 12:36 am

        It appears to me that the incident (the shooting itself) happened about ½ way down the entrance ramp from Highway 3N to I-97N. Rather than a ramp it is actually more like a merger of the two highways. The ramp appears to have a slight downward grade of perhaps around 1% (2% at the most). The ramp has two lanes both of which merge with the 2-lane I-97 with the right hand lane having to merge left well down the road as I-97 reduces to 3 lanes.

        Prior to the transition Highway 3N is a 3-lane road running roughly parallel to 97. Before the ‘ramp’ the road separates into a two lanes on the left for the merger onto I-97 and a single right lane to continue North on 3. (The southbound lanes for Highway 3 are actually on the other side of I-97 so there is no unusual transition from 3N to I-97 N.) Overall the transition ramp to I-97N is wide and relatively level and it would seem to allow for a very easy transition of traffic at a normal speed of 50MPH-60MPH.

        The transition ramp consists of 2 full lanes with a small paved shoulder on the left plus perhaps a minimum of about 10 ft level grass shoulder (basically enough for an emergency pull over on the left side).

        The right hand side consists of a paved emergency lane which appears to be wider than a vehicle plus a very slightly sloped grassy shoulder mostly the same width or more.
        From where the van was likely stopped the path behind appears to be virtually straight, level, and relatively wide with adequate drainage.

        Of course on that particular day there may have been an obstacle but on Google street view there are no obvious obstructions (signposts, etc.) except for a large light pole maybe 100 yds away. By that point one could go around either side of the pole or potentially even shift into drive and cross over a short area of grass and to go back to Highway 3N.

        I’m not from the area but I presume there was adequate daylight to see well as it was around 8:00pm and being June 8th it was one of the longest days of the year. I don’t know if was possibly overcast or rainy but I haven’t seen any mention of inclement weather. Visibility should have been very good.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 9, 2014 at 12:15 am

      Yea, but we also have to remember that this is only the 2nd witness statement that we have seen. (Except for Andrew who I think has all of them) And this statement could be just completely blown out of the water if the other statements disagree with this one, not that I think they will be any more flattering towards Harvey’s actions.

      I have to keep reminding myself of the Zimmerman trial and the lady who I believe was the first prosecution witness. You know the one who testified that Zimmerman was standing over Martin, while Martin was faced down, and Zimmerman shot Martin in the back, all of which is contradicted by every other witness and pretty much all of the evidence. So jumping to conclusions based on one statement, as I have seen happen down post, is kind of useless.

    rantbot in reply to pjm. | March 8, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Shooting someone because he might be a threat in the future, even if that future is only five minutes away, isn’t defense against an immediate deadly threat; it’s defense against a speculative and non-immediate threat which has still not been shown to have been deadly.

    Not so good for a forcible self-defense argument.

      bildung in reply to rantbot. | March 8, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      But plenty good enough for a jury, especially when the purported ‘victim’ is an unsympathetic, bull necked, beer bellied goon like Harvey.

      This is not an academic exercise. The jury is simply going to ignore and/or nullify all this legal mummery surrounding the finer points of what and when.

      Anybody with any sense knows what happened and the jury will not send Walker to prison for it, especially on an absurd, preposterous first degree charge.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 8, 2014 at 11:42 pm

        One would hope that the Jury would do its job look at the evidence, testimony, and jury instructions and do their job. Frankly, I think the duty to retreat is going to be less of an issue than the argument of whether it was reasonable to shoot Harvey.

TrooperJohnSmith | March 8, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Having been around enraged people in a motor vehicle, the last thing I’d want to do is keep up this road-rage ballet until traffic thinned out and the perpetrators could pull their own gun or run me off the road. Maybe he reasoned that it’s better to pull over in a well-traveled place and try to defuse the situation.

As an old fella once told me, “They dealt them cards, now they gonna have to play ’em.” Hoisted upon their own petard, it would seem.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | March 8, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Or it’s even possible that with the bumping Walker could have been scared of damage to the vehicle.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 8, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      A better way to phrase it is “some damage had been done to the vehicle, making it unsafe to drive.”

      Better yet – ‘What might happen if this asshole tries to ram me AGAIN at speed ?’

        Gremlin1974 in reply to pjm. | March 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm

        I haven’t seen any evidence as of yet that the vehicles ever actually made contact. There was a report in one article of a possible bottle being thrown by Harvey and hitting Walkers van, but I haven’t seen anything about that since that one article.

In most places a motor vehicle is considered a deadly weapon and it sure looks like Harvey and Pidel were working on an assault with a deadly weapon, blocking and attempting to run Walker and family off of road.

    rantbot in reply to OldNuc. | March 8, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    and it sure looks like Harvey and Pidel were working on an assault with a deadly weapon

    If Walker had been on foot and Harvey had been driving his car directly, and apparently deliberately, at him, you might have a case. But when Walker shot Harvey to death, Harvey wasn’t threatening him or anybody else with his car. Or, perhaps, with anything else.

      OldNuc in reply to rantbot. | March 9, 2014 at 12:06 am

      Go back and carefully read Mr. B’s statement, you have missed a few critical points.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to OldNuc. | March 9, 2014 at 12:18 am

        No, actually what he said is correct. Harvey wasn’t threatening anyone with his car when he was shot, as evidenced by the fact that he wasn’t in the car. So his statement was factual.

          Estragon in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 9, 2014 at 1:38 am

          If two large men who have been giving you the finger, bumping you in traffic, and screaming at you getting out of there car and coming towards you is not a threat, perhaps this is relevant. But any rational person in Walker’s position would regard those actions as threatening, the prior acts with the vehicle in traffic show reckless disregard at the least.

          rantbot in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 9, 2014 at 3:03 am

          Harvey was peeved at being cut off in traffic and having to leave the road to avoid a collision. This is not in dispute.

          One witness said that Harvey was yelling and gesticulating. Well, duh, he was angry about being etc.

          I’m waiting for the imminent deadly threat to a man who knew perfectly well that he himself was holding a deadly weapon and so was not in much danger at all. Without that imminent deadly threat, everything else is theater.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm


          Actually in my opinion no rational person would have stopped in the first place. I certainly wouldn’t have stood there an let 2 guys advance on me for over 100 feet if I thought that they meant to harm me or my family.

          Granted this guy is a LEO, an off duty LEO outside his jurisdiction which to me when you come right down to it puts him in the same category as someone with a permit. So my favorite quote by Andrew applies; “Carrying a gun doesn’t mean that you don’t have to take crap from anybody, it actually means you have to take crap from almost everybody.” or something close to that.

MouseTheLuckyDog | March 8, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Andrew congradulations on your attempt to join the MSM.
I can see it from such statements like “Harvey was unarmed and on foot and Walker had immediate access to a motor vehicle”. I love the way you describe Harvey as on foot, implying that there was no way Harvey could catch Walker should he choose to drive away. It’s not like Harvey has “immediate access to a motor vehicle”. Such a dispassionate balanced description.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 8, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Mouse, have you been drinking and posting again?

    You do of course realize that all of those statements are factually correct? Harvey was unarmed, Walker could have driven off, at the time he was shot and for at least 160 feet before Harvey was on foot. Frankly, I don’t see your problem.

[Harvey and Pidel] were moving in a fast manner.

WTF? Who actually talks like that?

Were I on a jury for this case (and thank gawd I won’t be), I’d think right off I was listening to a coaching job. A really bad one, too.

MouseTheLuckyDog | March 8, 2014 at 11:04 pm

“were moving in a fast manner.”

“were like trying to get there, real fast mode,”

Well there goes Pidel’s slowly walking statement.

Also in the statement sounds like Pidel was an equal aggressor, not like his statement where he was just trying to stay with Harvey.

Like I said before sounds like Pidel is a “good old boy”. The kind who if he put a guy in the hospital would say “we roughed him up a little”. Or who seeing their freind down 20 beers, say “he only had a few, like 3 or 4”.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 8, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Whoa, don’t you watch “Cops”? THE standard answer is, “…just a couple ‘a beers.” Even if they’ll blow .30, that is always the recollection of first and last resort. 😆

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | March 8, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      I really liked the one where the cop pulls the guy over, and when he gets out the cop asks ‘Have you been smoking marijuanna tonight.”, and the guy says “what gives you that idea?”. The cop then reaches over and pulls out the joint the guys got tucked in his ear ( like a pencil). Then the guys says “How’d that get there.”

    Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 8, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Yep, of course since some things in this guys statement don’t match up with Harvey’s friends that means the friends entire statement is crap. /sarc off

    You just have zero objectivity. I could say that due to Mr. B’s speech patterns we can likely infer that his race matches that of Walkers and that he is basing his conclusions on Walkers race not what he actually saw and it would have just a much objectivity as your statement.

    However, since I am trying to look for similarities in the two statements that we have seen so far I am not drawing my conclusions based on whether I think someone is a “good ole boy” or what race they happen to be. I suggest you do the same.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 9, 2014 at 4:19 am

      Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 9, 2014 at 7:30 am

      Well the very first thing that I look for is the physical evidence. Evidence which by it’s nature will have no biases.

      Things like the toxicology, which shows Harvey was drunk.
      Then I look at the testimony of those who have the least reason to lie, like passers-by.
      Then I look at people who do have a reason to lie, like family and friends. But if they show some reason that they are willing to risk perjury then I drop them even lower. Things like, I don’t know, a felony conviction.

      Guess where that puts Pidel, a friend who has already lied about Harvey’s drunkness, who is a convicted felon.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 9, 2014 at 3:10 pm

        “Well the very first thing that I look for is the physical evidence. Evidence which by it’s nature will have no biases.

        Things like the toxicology, which shows Harvey was drunk.”

        Actually the term you are looking for is “legally intoxicated”. “Drunk” implies a specific set of behaviors and conjures an certain image which is meant to give an impression. I do find it amazing that you can glean Harvey’s level of alcohol tolerance and behavior from a postmortem blood alcohol level much less tell how that alcohol level impacted his behavior. Amaze us further oh Wizard! From all evidence Harvey pretty much fits the profile of a functional alcoholic, which means that while his blood alcohol levels may indicate legal intoxication, most likely those levels have less impact on his behavior that someone who doesn’t drink regularly.

        “Then I look at the testimony of those who have the least reason to lie, like passers-by.
        Then I look at people who do have a reason to lie, like family and friends. But if they show some reason that they are willing to risk perjury then I drop them even lower. Things like, I don’t know, a felony conviction.”

        Once again you amaze with your psychic abilities. Just that you can glean the intentions of us mere mortals by simple written word simply astounds.

        Just because someone is a friend or a family doesn’t mean they are automatically going to lie to protect someone. Also, just because someone has “no reason to lie” doesn’t mean that they won’t like for reasons that no one else on earth may understand.

        “Guess where that puts Pidel, a friend who has already lied about Harvey’s drunkness, who is a convicted felon.”

        Where is the evidence that Pidel “lied about Harvey’s drunkness,”? (by the way the proper term would be “drunkenness”) There is nothing in Mr. B’s statement to contradict Pidel’s statement of how much Mr. Harvey drank and just because the 2 statements don’t match up doesn’t automatically make Pidel the untruthful one. Actually, looking at it objectively they could both be telling the truth from their own perspective, there are no glaring differences in the 2 statements that can’t be explained easily. Also your apparent bigotry against someone who has been convicted of a felony in the past is clouding your objectivity. He has apparently paid his debt to society and has moved on with his life, also he is in ZERO danger of being charged with a crime, so while his past conviction may mean that he puts his own behavior in the best light possible it doesn’t mean he will lie on Harvey’s behalf. Actually, as far as Harvey’s behavior the statements are fairly consistent.

        As I said before you have already made up your mind as to what events actually happened and you have zero objectivity.

        God Bless and Good Day

You can’t just “flee” onto an interstate highway.

    rantbot in reply to RokShox. | March 8, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    I’ve found them to be ideal.

    Everybody, no matter how annoying or how enraged, gives up before the end of the highway is reached.

    Hence, no confrontation, no gunfights.

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to rantbot. | March 8, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      You must not drive on a lot of big-city Interstates! That’s where all the road rage plays out, especially when traffic is heavy or there is one of those 14-mile long construction lane closures for fixing three feet of guard rail. Drive I-10 between the Nawlins cut-off and Houston, sometime or between Houston and Big D. Or anywhere on I-40!

      People do things to other motorists while driving 80 mph they’d never dream of doing to fellow pedestrians while walking on a sidewalk.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | March 8, 2014 at 11:41 pm

        Some people do things to pedestrians too. The one I’ve noticed happening a lot in Chicago, is a pedestrian at a cross walk. The light changes he crosses, the guy wanting to turn right is cool about it. The guy behind him him starts honking, like “hey will you run over the pedestrian for me.”

        It’s getting terrible.

        Only about 30,000 miles a year since the 1970s, so what do I know? But I’ve never yet known a jerk who persisted for the sort of distances I routinely travel. Multilane highways are particularly good, since even if somebody’s in front, he can’t block you.

        Doesn’t mean the contrary can’t happen, of course. But I’d say if you want the odds to work in your favor, don’t stop. A fight you don’t have is much more likely to work out well than a fight you stop for.

          Estragon in reply to rantbot. | March 9, 2014 at 1:41 am

          How many of the ragers you’ve encountered actively tried to bump your vehicle, repeatedly cut you off, and continually challenged you?

          rantbot in reply to rantbot. | March 9, 2014 at 3:04 am

          I wouldn’t call it rage if they doing none of those things.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | March 9, 2014 at 9:06 pm

        How many of those resulted in killings that could have been avoided had one or both of the drivers not stopped to huff and puff?
        1? 5? 9?

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to RokShox. | March 9, 2014 at 4:21 am

    Armed robbers do it all the time.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | March 9, 2014 at 6:08 am

      Because armed robbers are generally not model citizens. More specifically armed robbers tend not to eschew actions that put others at risk, and are even willing to take actions that put themselves at risk if said action helps them escape.

While Mr. B’s statement does reflect more favorably on Walker, I just don’t see that it actually helps his claim of Self Defense that much. I think even Harvey’s friends statement makes it clear he was the aggressor, which this statement seems to back up. I also think that putting to much emphasis on the “swerving at each other” or Harvey swerving at Walker is kind of a mistake. While it obviously has some bearing, mainly just more proof that Harvey was the one who was pissed, frankly it happened before the deadly encounter and since both parties pulled over is probably considered a separate confrontation. I also think that the most interesting piece of information in this statement is that Harvey actually stopped first, which to me begs the question why did Walker stop at all?

I am going to go ahead and take for granted that the “Duty to retreat is satisfied by him having his family in the car, seems perfectly reasonable to me.

I still don’t see it as reasonable to wait on an unarmed guy to walk over 100 feet and then pull out a gun shoot him. Especially now that we have one witness saying that Harvey stopped first, so Walker could have kept driving.

    rantbot in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 9, 2014 at 12:35 am

    I am going to go ahead and take for granted that the “Duty to retreat is satisfied by him having his family in the car, seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    I don’t see that as very strong.

    Consider a hypothetical:

    Person A poses a deadly threat to person B. Person C, who has some sort of weapon or physical ability which gives him the upper hand in a conflict, exerts deadly force on A, not to protect himself – he’s not the one exposed to the threat – but to protect C. This can’t be done if Person C has a legal duty to retreat; C’s retreat would leave B still subject to the deadly threat of A.

    But in a situation in which any retreat by C would also entail the retreat of B – if C was operating a vehicle with B as a passenger, say – then both B and C can retreat from the menace of A.

    I strongly suspect that the idea that “the duty to retreat does not apply if the defender is acting in defense of others” could only sensibly apply to the first part of my hypothetical, the one in which retreat would make defense of the threatened person impossible.

    And it’s a serious stretch – I’d say, a hopeless one – to apply that to the Walker case.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to rantbot. | March 9, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      No, no, no, my fault. I should have made it clear that I was taking for granted that the duty to retreat was satisfied related to the comment I was going to make. I still think it is a major hurtle in the self defense claim.

    bildung in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 9, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I don’t think Walker’s stopping will be much of a problem.

    Given the purple drunk’s behavior, Walker would have ample reason to fear a gun or vehicular assault as he drove by.

    Having driven by, Walker would then have surrendered the checkmate position to the aggressor–he would have ceded the six o’clock position whereby he could keep Harvey under observation and ensure his family’s safety.

    No way Walker gives up the six o’clock to Harvey–and no harm to his defense.

    Harvey asked for it and he got it. Simple, really.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 9, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      “Given the purple drunk’s behavior,”

      Seriously, you are gonna make a statement like that and still claim objectivity?

      “Walker would have ample reason to fear a gun”

      What? How? Why would Walker have reason to fear a gun? With the kind of behavior that has been reported for Harvey, I don’t think it is a stretch to say that if he had had a gun he would have been waving it around. As far as I have seen in evidence and testimony the only person who displayed a gun is Walker. But you seem to imply that he should fear being shot at as he drove by Harvey’s vehicle? I don’t think I have heard a more absurd assertion yet in this thread.

      “or vehicular assault as he drove by.”

      Once again, how if Harvey and Pidel both exited their vehicle pretty much the moment it stopped? Which is supported by both Mr. Pidel and Mr. B’s statements. They can’t commit “Vehicular Assault” if they aren’t even in the flaming vehicle.

      “Having driven by, Walker would then have surrendered the checkmate position to the aggressor–he would have ceded the six o’clock position whereby he could keep Harvey under observation and ensure his family’s safety.

      No way Walker gives up the six o’clock to Harvey–and no harm to his defense.”

      Absolute and complete bunk. Harvey and Pidel are out of their vehicle advancing across 160 feet, drive right by them and floor it, by the time they get back to their car you can be anywhere.

      “Harvey asked for it and he got it. Simple, really.”

      Once again you objectivity astounds.

the statement sounds like Pidel was an equal aggressor

This is meaningless in the context of this case.

Would a “reasonable man” believe that Pidel was offering an immediate deadly threat to Walker when he was shot?

That’s it. Everything else is obfuscation.

    rantbot in reply to rantbot. | March 9, 2014 at 12:43 am

    How did this end up here? . . . Just another LI mystery.

    That’s Harvey we’re talking about, of course, not Pidel.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to rantbot. | March 9, 2014 at 1:09 am

    This is meaningless in the context of this case.

    Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus
    Pidel lied about not being an equal agressor, what else is Pidel lying about?

      What does “equal aggressor” mean here?

      It means that neither presented an imminent deadly threat to Walker.

      Unless you’re claiming that they both ganged up on Walker to do . . . whatever it is they didn’t do.

      None of which helps the defense much.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 9, 2014 at 4:27 am

      If Pidel was an equal aggressor, why didn’t Walker also shoot him?

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | March 9, 2014 at 5:58 am

        Of what we know about the shots, Walker fired one shot — presumably a warning shot — then fired two more shots. Pidel says he stopped when he saw the gun. No need to fire the gun at Pidel.

          Bruce Hayden in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 9, 2014 at 5:54 pm

          Notice the difference with the Dunn case, where he was convicted of attempted 2nd Degree Murder, when he continued to shoot after the car of guys ceased being a threat.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 9, 2014 at 6:26 pm

          “Pidel says he stopped when he saw the gun. No need to fire the gun at Pidel.”

          Which means he was not an “equal aggressor” at the time the shots were fired. It also hurts Walkers case for reasonableness to use deadly force. Since Pidel stopped there were no longer “multiple aggressors” which can be a justification for use of deadly force. Since Pidel stopped it means that Walker is not facing only a single unarmed person. Because by your own admission; “No need to fire the gun at Pidel.” Pidel had stopped being a threat when he stopped. Or at least that is a pretty good narrative for the prosecution.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 9, 2014 at 8:44 pm

          So Walker shot Harvey to make him stop advancing toward him?

          Is that what you’re claiming?

      Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 9, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      Once again you assert something of which you have no proof. There is zero proof that Pidel lied, just because one other persons statement was somewhat different than his. In reality looking at the statements objectively they aren’t that different, there is a noted difference of perspective.

      Also, I keep wondering why you constantly want to put Pidel on trail here. He is not even accused of a crime. Are you that bias against people with a criminal past?

Richard Aubrey | March 9, 2014 at 9:30 am

I think this, paradoxically, helps the prosecution. The prosecutor needs to make the case that the threat was apparent as early as possible, giving Walker the longest time in which to retreat.
Then, we have this slavering maniacal nutcase who is obviously capable of getting back into his car and continuing the vehicular assault. It would seem reasonable for Walker to think of this, but many of us would not be thinking that far ahead. So the defense is going to have to show that, not only could Fat Guy have gotten back into his car and continued, it would be reasonable for Walker to take this into account and not move. The prosecutor is going to have to show the jury–because the defense will surely think of it–that Fat Guy couldn’t and wouldn’t have done such a reprehensible thing and Walker was evil to even think of such a thing.
Luck with that.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Richard Aubrey. | March 9, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Why didn’t Walker or his wife call 9-1-1 at any point before they stopped? Why did Walker, an armed, seasoned peace officer, choose the path he took instead of calling for assistance if he felt so threatened for himself and his family? If the witness statement at hand is accurate in the claim that Harvey was doing all this swerving into Walker before anybody stopped, and Harvey was clearly the aggressor, Walker (again, a seasoned peace officer who knows how to talk to dispatchers in their own nomenclature) would have been frightened for his family and himself and should have requested help immediately instead of insisting on handling matters himself. WHY didn’t he do this? Why didn’t this witness call 9-1-1 if he was so convinced that Harvey was a serious, aggressive threat “swerving” into Walker’s car?

I have a slightly different take on this than most here seem to have. Personally, I see the prosecution as having the uphill battle, here.

In the first place, the statement of Pindal, a participant in the incident, clearly shows that he and Harvey were the aggressors. It clearly shows that Walker made no aggressive moves either during the actions on the roadway or after the stop. It clearly shows that even after Pindal and Harvey knew that Walker was armed with a handgun, they continued to advance upon him in an aggressive manner. And, when confronted with Walker’s identification as a law enforcement officer and his second display of the firearm, Harvey still continued to close with Walker in an aggressive, threatening manner. Walker did not shoot, in defense of himself and his family, until Harvey was close enough to be an immediate threat [Harvey was found lying 6-8 feet in front of Walker’s vehicle].

The statement of Witness B corroborates this nicely.

The prosecution will attempt to show that Walker should have continued to attempt to escape from the aggressive attacks of Harvey and Pindal. But, Walker did, in fact, attempt to do just that for several miles. He simply drove on, in a non-aggressive manner. During this time, Harvey continually put Walker and his family at risk by cutting them off and by rapidly changing speeds while in front of them, possibly in an attempt to cause Walker to crash into his vehicle. So, the question is, how long must someone attempt to escape from aggressive thugs, before it becomes apparent that escape is impossible? If Walker had driven past Harvey’s vehicle, would he have been able to escape? Or would the vehicle chase continue, placing his family at continued risk of serious bodily harm? Even if the prosecution succeeds in getting the self defense instruction removed from the jury instructions, through a technicality, this does not mean that a sympathetic juror, or jurors, will not consider it anyway.

What is most indicative of just how weak a case the prosecution has is the need to introduce misinformation to the Grand Jury in order to gain an indictment.

This case is the defense team’s to win or lose; not the prosecution’s.

    amatuerwrangler in reply to Mac45. | March 12, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Mr. B’s statement gives me some problems. It may not be that much good for the defense. This came up in another of Andrew’s postson the topic prompting another, more thorough, reading of the xcrpt..

    First, this witness sees a lot of detail in a relatively short span of time, and recalls it well. He did not stop at the scene. He was enroute to a local hospital to join family members with another family member who was injured in a vehicle collision. That injured party was a police officer with a neighboring jurisdiction. Mr. B said he learned there had been a shooting from news accounts the next day, or so. This statement is taken approximately 2 weeks following the incident.

    The unusually “accurate” recollection of detail in what would be a somewhat brief encounter, his apparent connection with LE (albeit possibly at some distance), his hearing what was said between the vehicles of Harvey and Walker while riding in yet a third vehicle, and his ability to analyze body language — all this will make him ripe for being damaged on cross examination should he testify.

    If he holds up under cross, his testimony does verify that both occupants got out of Harvey’s car and advanced on Walker in a direct, purposeful manner, not a stroll, while Walker stood still. Mr. B also supports the concept that Walker was at a physical disadvantage both by size and number of adversaries. Walker knew he was armed but had no idea whether Harvey and/or Pidel were. They knew Walker was armed and that they were not, but they still pressed the confrontation. Sometimes alcohol can cloud one’s judgement; that’s why the BA is significant.

    Mr. B is a double-edged sword, not a guaranteed Get-out-of-Jail card.

Noticed a comment in the article about possible firearms violations. Full time and retired police officers who meet the requirements can carry a firearm in all states in the US under federal law passed after 911.

    The reference is to firearms enhancement on top of the underlying charge (here, first degree murder), not firearms violations per se.

    The firearms enhancements are relevant only if the underlying charge is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If Walker is acquitted on the underlying charge, there is no sentence to be enhanced.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Self defense? Defense from what? What was Harvey doing, at the time Walker decided to shoot him, that justified a deadly force response?

    That one doesn’t seem like the tough question to me. Two substantially larger men manifesting an intent to engage in a violent attack upon him and his family is a pretty good disparity of force argument.

    The real issue here would seem to be on the issue of avoidance.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 9, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      If this witness is telling the truth about Harvey’s and Pidel’s behavior BEFORE anybody stopped, then Walker, a seasoned peace officer, would have perceived the threat BEFORE stopping. Had Walker been truly afraid, called for help and kept driving, Harvey would be alive.

      Walker is not the average citizen in this case. He’s an investigator with a police background. He knew the steps that should have been taken, but he chose not to follow those steps.

      I think Walker was angry, not frightened.

Bruce Hayden | March 9, 2014 at 6:08 pm

This seeming trend to turn self-defense cases into 1st Degree Murder is a bit bothersome. Where was the premeditation? My understanding is that Walker was probably armed, because he has to be armed at all times (except when he goes into NYC, and there is a NJSP barracks apparently right by the border with NYC where they are supposed to store their firearms). The warning shot, followed by the two deadly shots, seems to be the opposite of premeditations – that he only shot when he believed that he had to, and that he had not premeditated shooting Harvey.

Question to Andrew, et al. – does MD have the same sort of lesser included charges law as FL, where prosecutors can overcharge (1st degree in Dunn’s case, 2nd degree in Zimmerman’s), and then get the additional jury instructions for the lesser, more realistic, charge at trial?