Tuesday, May 6, 2014

WOMAN CONVICTED FOLLOWING FAILED ‘STAND YOUR GROUND’ DEFENSE

State vs. Shakeithia Wheeler

Atlanta– Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. announces a conviction by jury trial in the murder case against an Atlanta woman who argued ‘Stand Your Ground’ as a defense for her actions.  Jurors convicted 32-year-old Shakeithia Wheeler Friday on charges of Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and weapons offenses in connection with the shooting death of 28-year-old Charles Roberson.

On May 3, 2009, Wheeler shot and killed Roberson in the parking lot of her Verdant Drive apartment complex in Southwest Atlanta. Prior to the shooting, Defendant Wheeler overheard an argument between her brother and another man outside, exited her apartment with a gun and opened fire, grazing a woman who was standing nearby. Defendant Wheeler then began to argue with the same man who was arguing with her brother earlier. As the argument escalated, Wheeler fired again, this time fatally striking the victim in the head.   

Wheeler claimed she had a right under Georgia’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law to fire both rounds because she had “no duty to retreat” in the face of imminent danger as the law allows. Wheeler says she first feared her brother was in danger when she heard arguing outside. She then claimed she was in danger when she fired the second round because she thought the victim had a weapon and was going to harm her. The evidence showed that no one involved in this case was armed except for Wheeler.   According to witnesses, the defendant was the aggressor in each instance.

Jurors rejected Defendant Wheeler’s defense and returned guilty verdicts on felony murder and related charges. She was immediately sentenced to life plus eight years in prison by presiding Fulton County Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford.

The case was prosecuted by Chief Senior Assistant District Attorney Pat Dutcher with assistance from ADA Channell Singh and DA Investigator Vance Williams. Sergeant A. Gentile of the Atlanta Police Department led the initial investigation.

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