Working on Appeal Man Says He Acted in Self Defense of Him and Son

On December 6, 2005, a businessman answered a cellphone call from his 19-year-old son. The son said that there was someone suspicious creeping around their property and he was worried. As any father would, he called the police and sped home to make sure that his son was not alone. When the father arrived, a disgruntled contractor who had worked on their property had his son under his control by holding a knife towards him.

The incident escalated when the father repeatedly asked the contractor to leave and the man refused. The father brandished a weapon of his own at some point and fired a warning shot. Shortly thereafter, the man charged the father and the father shot him. When the police arrived, they took eyewitness statements, collected evidence and determined that the father had acted in self-defense. The police chose not to charge the father — that is, until 274 days had passed.

The father was later charged with homicide, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. During the trial, other clients of the contractor testified that the father wasn’t the only one with a gun in their home. In fact, others had made sure that a gun was handy because the contractor was unusually aggressive in their home, making them feel unsafe. The man appealed to the highest court in the state, but the appeal was dismissed.

Now, civil rights groups are calling for a review of his case and immediate release. Marcus Coleman, a leader of the National Action Network in the father’s state said that “we are victims at both ends of the gun.”

Source: Think Progress, “How A Black Businessman Was Sentenced To Life In Prison For A Likely Self-Defense Killing,” Nicole Flatow, Sept. 24, 2012

Our firm helps individuals who have not received a fair trial whether it is through a court’s error, prejudice from the prosecution or inadequate counsel appeal a judgment of conviction in New Jersey.

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