Murder Charges Dismissed for Man under “Stand Your Ground” Law

September 2011 – Palm Beach County, Fla. – On September 6th Michael Monahan was given his life back when a judge ruled he was justified in the shooting death of 2 men.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that Judge Richard Offedal ofPalm BeachCounty found that Monahan was legally within his right to fire his gun on April 3, when Raymond Mohlman and Matthew Vittum confronted him about a money dispute. Monahan’s claim stated that the 2 men boarded his boat – which had been purchased from Mohlman 6 months prior – and accused him of racking up tickets in Mohlman’s name due to failure to register the boat.

Monahan claimed he felt cornered by Molhman and Vittum, and witnesses reported to police that the men were planning to either evict Monahan or kill him. Toxicology reports taken on Mohlman post-mortem revealed a .23 blood-alcohol level and .11 for Vittum, far beyond the legal limit of intoxication. Vittum also tested positive for cocaine, oxycodone and marijuana.

Florida’s 2005 “Stand Your Ground” law, which justifies use of a firearm in self-defense situations when the gun owner is in fear for his or her life defended Monahan’s actions. The prosecution argued that the 2 victims weren’t armed at the time and never made physical contact with Monahan during the argument. The law, however, doesn’t require a party to be armed or engage in physical conflict to be considered a threat.

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