Heads up, South Florida criminal defense attorneys: the Sun Sentinel reports that a Broward man, Nour Badi Jarkas, has beat first degree murder charges after relying on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. According to the report, Jarkas went to trial on the charge of murder after he shot and killed the boyfriend of his estranged wife, John Concannon. At the trial, Jarkas testified that he was invited to his wife’s home in Plantation, Florida, and that she left the residence when Concannon arrived. Jarkas also testified that he shot Concannon after Concannon taunted and grabbed Jarkas, and threatened to kill him. The jury found Jarkas not guilty of armed kidnapping and aggravated assault with a firearm, but could not reach a unanimous verdict on the murder count. In support of her ruling, Judge Holmes cited the testimony of the medical examiner and Jarkas. Although Jarkas remains in custody at the Broward County Jail, awaiting a hearing on Thursday, December 15, 2011, his lawyer hopes to secure his release before such time.
The Sun Sentinel’s report also states that another Broward man relying on the Stand Your Ground law, Patrick Wonder, is facing manslaughter charges in the death of a federal agent following a road rage incident in 2008. In an Order issued May 26, 2011, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Wonder was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on the Stand Your Ground defense. Wonder’s Stand Your Ground motion is reportedly set for January, 2012. For more on the Patrick Wonder case, click here and here.