Nov 4, 2021 - News

Plea in shocking Stand Your Ground case reached

Illustration of a pattern of gavels.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A killing in a quiet suburb that shocked the Tampa Bay region has finally ended in a plea deal.

Driving the news: Trevor Dooley, 80, who shot and killed David James in front of his 8-year-old daughter after a dispute on a Valrico basketball court more than a decade ago, signed a plea agreement Tuesday that ended a legal entanglement that spans 11 years.

  • At the hearing, an elderly Dooley changed his plea to guilty, per the state attorney’s office. Judge Michael Williams then convicted him of manslaughter with a weapon and sentenced him to probation, which the James family agreed to.
  • Dooley will serve three more years of probation in addition to the two years in prison he already served on a conviction that was overturned.

Flashback: Dooley claimed he shot James in self defense on Sept. 26, 2010, when the two got into an argument. Carrying a gun in his waistband, Dooley confronted a skateboarder before James spoke up for the kid.

  • Dooley invoked Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, which allows a person to legally defend themselves from death or great bodily harm with deadly force anywhere they have a right to be.
  • A judge rejected the claim and a jury convicted Dooley, but it was overturned on appeal. He was awaiting a new trial when he changed his plea.

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