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    “Road Rage” Murder Trial: Walker Appeared to Goad Harvey: “Come on.”

    “Road Rage” Murder Trial: Walker Appeared to Goad Harvey: “Come on.”

    “[Walker] was standing like he was kind of daring [Harvey] to come, like, come on.” “[Walker] made head nod, like come on.”

    Our next piece of evidence from the Joseph Walker trial is the transcribed interview of a pair of witnesses, a married couple traveling together, who drove by the shooting scene. Their names have been redacted from this transcript, so because this transcript was attached as Exhibit G to the defense’s recent motion to dismiss the charges against Walker, I will refer to them as Mr. and Ms. G.

    The interview is conducted by the Maryland State Police’s Lead Investigator on this case, Trooper First Class (TFC) Myles Roy, on June 13, 2013, five days after the incident on June 8.

    Ms. G was driving their vehicle, which contained just herself and her husband. They were driving on Route 3 northbound to I-97, the same stretch of road on which Walker would shoot Harvey. TFC Myles asked them to describe what they saw as they approached the scene.

    Walker Already Standing by Minivan When Harvey and Pidel Exit Honda

    Ms. G: We saw two vehicles pulled to the side. We saw a gentleman in a minivan get out, cross his arms, and do like a head nod kid of thing. And then we saw two gentlemen in the car in front get out and start approaching the man at the minivan.

    TFC Roy: Then you said there were two people in that Honda.

    Ms. G: I actually saw them outside the car. I saw one approaching from the passenger’s side, and I saw one approaching from the driver’s side. And they are both walking towards the minivan, the gentleman and the minivan.

    And near the end of the transcript:

    Mr. G: The little car [Harvey’s Honda], they were like – he was shutting the door and started making his way towards the minivan.

    That, then, was the start of their observation of the conflict. They passed when Harvey and Pidel were not yet halfway to the minivan, and Mr. G observed a few moments longer through his rearview mirror.

    TFC Roy: Where were they in reference to the actual vehicle? Like how far away from the vehicle did you see them get?

    Ms. G: I saw them get – they were not halfway distance between their car and the minivan when I passed them.

    Walker “Very Large,” Harvey “Stocky,” Pidel Smaller

    TFC Roy: Okay. Can you describe that man that was next to the van?

    Ms. G: Very large African American man, looked like he was bald. Very large, 6’ 5”, 6’ 6”, somewhere around there probably.

    Ms. G: The gentleman, the driver, looked to be heavyset to me. And I believe he was wearing shorts. And so – I remember him. And I remember the passenger gentleman to look smaller in statute than the gentleman that was driving.

    No Weapons Were Observed

    TFC Roy: Did you happen to see if they had anything in their hands, any kind of weapons or anything like that?

    Ms. G: I saw their hands, kind of that stocky, blown-up chest walk from the driver, but I didn’t see anything in his hands.

    TFC Roy: Okay. How about the driver of the van?

    Ms. G: I did not see anything in his hands. I

    TFC Roy: Sir, did you see anything in either of their hands?

    Mr. G: No. I didn’t see anybody having any weapons.

    Mr. G: Walker Appeared to Goad Harvey, and Harvey Eager to Confront

    They did, however, described Walker as presenting a demeanor they perceived as goading Harvey and Pidel to approach. This is vastly different than Walker’s recounting at the scene that he was inspecting his tires and did not observe Harvey and Pidel until they were within 10 feet of him at his minivan.

    Mr. G: Like she said, he was standing like, kind of like to me, in my point of view, he was like kind of daring him to come, you know, like you say, you know, come on, you know.

    TFC Roy: And who are you talking about?

    Mr. G: I’m talking about the guy in the minivan. He was standing there asking them to come on. They were both like the same distance apart, maybe not even 10, 15 feet away from the trunk of their car heading towards him. The driver [Harvey], a stocky, big guy, it looked like his hands were clenched and like in a pissed-off manner, was heading towards him, like he wanted to confront them.

    Mr. G: And, you know, after we passed him up, I looked in my rearview mirror. And it looked like the black guy leaned over, opened his door, and reached in for something. And I don’t know what it was or anything. He didn’t pull out anything by the time we passed.

    Ms. G: Walker Made “Head Nod, Like Come On”

    TFC Roy: Did you hear anything?

    Mr. G: Not at all.

    Ms. G: And I didn’t see any lips moving, like somebody – like they were exchanging anything.

    TFC Roy: No hand gestures?

    Ms. G: I just saw the head nod, like come on.

    TFC Roy: And that was from the guy with the van?

    Ms. G: Yes, sir. And, of course, I’m inferring what he was thinking. You know, he may have been – maybe that’s a nervous tic that he has. I’m just inferring that’s what it looked like to me. That he was like come on.

    Witnesses Describe Walker as “Aggressive” and Harvey as “Ready to Rumble”

    Mr. G: I didn’t think it would have been somebody dying, or, you know, or him pulling out a gun.

    TFC Roy: But did you think it may escalate to a fight or something like that?

    Mr. G: Yeah, because he came – he came with an aggressive attitude. And, you know, the guy who was walking towards the minivan, he was like ready to rumble. And – and obviously, the other guy was nudging him on, you know. He was like come on. So I – I thought they were just – if it was a fist fight, that happens all the time, you know.

    Harvey Closed on Walker at a Fast Walk, Not a Run

    TFC Roy: Did you get a sense of haw fast they were traveling towards the van?

    Ms. G: I didn’t feel like they were traveling that fast. They surely weren’t running.

    Mr. G: I though it was like he wanted to get there, you know, kind of. He looked like he was, you know, ready to go over there and see what’s going on.

    TFC Roy: But he wasn’t like running or sprinting.

    Mr. G: No.

    TFC Roy: Would you describe like a faster paced walk or –

    Mr. G: Yeah.

    TFC Roy: And then was that both of them?

    Mr. G: In the beginning? Yeah.

    TFC Roy: Looking in the rearview mirror, did you ever seem them break apart or one person slow down or –

    Mr. G: No.

    Walker Not Seen to Display Any Indicia of LEO Status

    TFC Roy: You saw the gentleman standing next to the van – obviously it’s now known that he was a police officer – did you see any kind of identification—

    MS. G: No, sir.

    Mr. G: No.

    TFC Roy: — that would have led for you to believe that he was a police officer, whether he was holding a badge or wearing a badge? Or did you see a gun holster –

    Ms. G: No, sir.

    TFC Roy: — any kind of police gear or –

    Mrs. G: No, sir.

    Mr. G: Not at all.

    And that’s it for the substantive part of the transcript. Here’s the whole thing, for your viewing pleasure:

    –-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


    Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.

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    to the full extent allowed by law.

    Comments



     
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    Aridog | March 14, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Good thing for the prosecution that I am not on this jury. I’ve read and re-read these posts a couple of times. Here is what I have distilled from all the blather:

    1. Harvey’s car was 150+ in front of Walker’s mini-van. Why did Harvey stop?

    2. Walker remained by his vehicle, period. Harvey and Pidel made a conscious effort to walk b-a-c-k to Walker’s position (150 or so feet….half a foot ball field). They did not just drive on their way. Why?

    3. To me it goes to intent, and whose intent was malevolent. That would be Harvey’s…he made the extra effort to stop and then to go b-a-c-k a considerable distance to do what?

    4. A guy driving a mini-van with his wife and child aboard is supposed to think what? He already had given way to Harvey’s car, who intentionally stopped ahead of him. He had a few options, but what was he to think of Harvey’s approach? Perhaps he was under the apprehension that his life and/or that of his wife and child were in danger?

    5. Even if his apprehension of the situation was flawed, he could very easily have held it. What does the law say there?

    For me, the malevolent intent was Harvey’s as demonstrated by his actions to stop and walk back to Walker’s parked van.

    Walker would get my vote for reasonable doubt at a minimum…I would not vote to convict on any charge.

    I’m seldom selected for jury duty, quite possibly because I express my firm belief that “beyond a shadow of doubt” means just that, as well when appropriate to affirm I do not believe anyone is required to stand there and take a whipping by another person, especially two people.

    In short…to my view, nothing would have happened to Harvey had he just gone on his way. What did he think he was going to do, what did he want Walker to think, when he stopped and strode back to Walker’s van?

    Sorry.


       
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      Ragspierre in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      “I’m seldom selected for jury duty, quite possibly because I express my firm belief that “beyond a shadow of doubt” means just that…”

      And that would do it.

      You don’t listen.


         
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        Aridog in reply to Ragspierre. | March 14, 2014 at 8:06 pm

        Rags…I listen just fine. The man is charged with murder. I take that very seriously when it is first degree murder.

        I expect proof not speculation from the prosecution. One guy is standing still, the other guy(s) stopped ahead of him by over 100 feet and then strides back to the standing man. Who can demonstrate proof of what the standing man would be thinking?

        I admit I am pig headed many times. If I’d been Walker I’d have gotten back in my vehicle and run Harvey down or nearly so to get him to step aside…then drive off while Harvey strode back to his car, and while I called 911.

        Yes, I have a CPL and I do understand Walker’s problem with his use of force. I just do not believe it rises to first degree murder with the intent required, at least in my state.


           
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          Aridog in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 8:11 pm

          And before you respond with snark…no, I would not have shot Harvey, or even pulled my pistol. That’s just me.


             
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            Ragspierre in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 8:33 pm

            I agree. I was just dinging you for the “beyond a shadow…” thingy.

            Like I’ve said, given that everybody was in a fighting mood, nobody had to die that day.

            Not at all. There were ample opportunities to have made this a big, fat nutin’.


           
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          Karen Sacandy in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 8:15 pm

          He meant- you don’t listen, as in the standard is beyond a “reasonable doubt,” not beyond a “shadow of a doubt.”

          BIG difference.


             
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            Aridog in reply to Karen Sacandy. | March 14, 2014 at 8:32 pm

            Okay, I understand that “difference”…and I should have used those words. However, in my mind, it is the same as a “shadow of doubt”…which is why I said it. The semantic of it all may or may not make a difference outside a courtroom.

            PS: I agree with Ragspierre most of the time, and when I am total agreement I seldom say anything because he has made the case for me anyway. In short, Rags only sees me when I have a different view. Rags is the lawyer. I am just a citizen with a contrary attitude at times.


           
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          Semper Why in reply to Aridog. | March 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm

          Yes, I have a CPL and I do understand Walker’s problem with his use of force. I just do not believe it rises to first degree murder with the intent required, at least in my state.

          No? From where I sit, I can easily imagine Walker pulling over to defuse the situation and let Harvey continue on his way. Harvey & Pidel pull over, leave their vehicle and come back to Walker looking to kick his ass.

          Now, in the middle of an adrenalin dump and quite possibly with his wife freaking out in the passenger seat, I can easily see Walker deciding that he is going to fuck them up. Walker is a cop and they’re not exactly known for lack of confidence nor timidness in the face of danger. These are the people we hire to solve problems, yes? And these two aggressive road raging idiots who Will. Not. Let. It. Go. sure look like a problem to be solved.

          So yeah, I can see Walker deciding in two seconds of adrenaline-filled cunning to surprise Harvey with flying lead. Let ’em get close and put a stop to the threat. It is, to my mind, very understandable.

          It is also, if I understand properly, murder one in Maryland.


       
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      tom swift in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      Forget the prosecution – it’s a good thing for the American justice system that you’re not going to be on the jury.


         
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        Aridog in reply to tom swift. | March 14, 2014 at 8:19 pm

        I suppose it is…if your idea of American justice is one where two men are allowed to stop and walk back to a single man…intending to do what? How often do you stop in front of someone you have a traffic issue with and walk 150 or so feet back to their car?

        No matter. Doing that here (Detroit) would likely end up with you just like Harvey. DOA.

        I am usually armed myself and I dang sure would not do what Harvey did. As I’ve said, I’d not do what Walker did either. I just would very hard to convince of Walker’s malevolent intent, especially if in a state of fear.

        Trouble you don’t start, or at least do not perpetuate (back going back, etc.), will not harm you.

        Just tell me what you think Harvey had in mind as the reason to walk back to Walker’s position.

        I might change my mind.


           
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          tom swift in reply to Aridog. | March 15, 2014 at 5:38 am

          How often do you stop in front of someone you have a traffic issue with and walk 150 or so feet back to their car?

          The only time I chat with strangers by the side of the road is after minor collisions (whether or not there’s actual damage). And in those cases, I stop a lot closer than 150 feet.

          Would you then reason that a shorter distance means that I must be even more “aggressive” than the egregious Harvey, and therefore an even more certain deadly threat to the other driver?


             
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            Aridog in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 6:40 am

            You are missing my point, which is simply that the distance in front of Walker’s van and the motivation to walk back to it from 50 yards away implies malevolent intent on Harvey’s part.

            Why couldn’t Harvey have just driven on down the road?

            What could the fact he didn’t and was approaching from the front, with another man as well, have impacted what Walker was thinking…especially since his wife and child were present?

            Is there a “reasonable” chance that Walker was afraid for himself and his family?

            In Walker’s case, given he was being approached from the front, by two men, some here seem to think he had until arms length to determine the intent of Harvey et al. and whether Harvey had any concealed weapon. Is it possible he anticipated Harvey had the means to harm him? As for distance, please check out the reason for the Tueler 21-feet drill.

            I repeat that I have difficulty with the fact that Harvey and Pidel stopped 50 yards down the road from Walker, were walking back to Walker, etc. The could have just driven on away if they didn’t intend harm. I doubt they intended to shake hands and swap phone numbers. Now would you, if in Walker’s place, have thought that? Why not?

            For the record, (again I think) I do not believe anyone has a duty to just take a whipping by fists just because someone else is hacked off. I understand my view misses some fine points of the law. I assert that it does however reflect reality. I am weary of the anyone has the right to be anywhere doing anything until they break a technicality of law. To tell the truth, if you punch some one hard in the head you can kill them…it has happened. It is not impossible. And here comes two larger men who have already displayed anger. What do you do?


             
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            tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm

            to walk back to it from 50 yards away implies malevolent intent on Harvey’s part.

            And there’s the crux of the problem which you can’t seem to grasp. “Malevolent intent” is not what triggers justified forcible self defense. Reasonable belief in imminent serious bodily harm has to be in there too or it just ain’t gonna pass muster in court.


             
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            Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | March 16, 2014 at 4:35 am

            “the motivation to walk back to it from 50 yards away implies malevolent intent on Harvey’s part.”

            Think about how what you are writing sounds. So just because someone walks 50 yards back to a car means they have malevolent intent? Come on.


             
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            Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | March 16, 2014 at 4:39 am

            @Aridog

            Ok, here is the opposite view point. I think that allowing someone to approach you across 50 yards, especially without trying to deescalate the situation, and waiting until they are within 10 feet of you then shooting them, just isn’t reasonable, especially since they were apparently unarmed.


           
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          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Aridog. | March 15, 2014 at 7:43 pm

          You need to read BOTH of Walker’s statements.


           
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          Gremlin1974 in reply to Aridog. | March 16, 2014 at 4:33 am

          “Trouble you don’t start, or at least do not perpetuate (back going back, etc.), will not harm you.”

          This is the same argument as saying that since Zimmerman got out of his truck and went the same direction as Martin, Zimmerman is guilty.

          Just because Harvey stopped and approached Walker doesn’t automatically give Walker the right to use deadly force. what if Harvey had just wanted to get in his face and scream? I have had people bless me with their chronic halitosis a number of times. Especially, during my first few weeks at Ft. Lost in the Wood, Misery.

          You can’t use stuff like that to heap all blame on one party.


       
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      Shane in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      150 feet, that is a a bit of a walk and Harvey doesn’t look like he could run very far very fast without a serious chance at heart palpitations, so with Harvey at 100 feet from his car and 50 feet to the Walker, Walker gets back in his van and leaves. How long until Harvey gets back to his car and gives chase? I think that this would be plenty of time for Walker to escape. In Maryland they expect this. This is for Walker to explain why he didn’t do this.


       
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      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Aridog. | March 15, 2014 at 3:29 am

      Let’s ask why Walker stopped. He was supposedly the one in fear for his life. Why did Walker stop?

        First, he stopped because Harvey threw a plastic bottle at his car and he needed to pull over and check for damages.

        Then he stopped because the familiar-to-anyone-who-drives-more-than-200-miles-a-year sound of the rumble strip led him to to believe he had one or more flat tires, and instead of using his in-car tire pressure display to check it out, he decided to pull over, get out of the van, and laboriously check each tire manually.

        Then he stopped because, as he told 911, a police officer (him) was run off the road, had bad words yelled at him, and was forced to the side of the road by his “attacker”.

        I hope someone takes his shovel off him before his NEXT version of events. The man needs to stop digging.


     
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    Karen Sacandy | March 14, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I agree with Aridog’s analysis, though not with his standard of proof. I am glad I won’t be on that jury.

    I can’t imagine the two men pull over and walk back there, thinking something good was going to come out of it.

    I mean, the man’s with his wife and kid, or kids… Jeeze…

    At this point, I’d definitely acquit.


       
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      tom swift in reply to Karen Sacandy. | March 14, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      I can’t imagine the two men pull over and walk back there, thinking something good was going to come out of it.

      And I can’t imagine anybody thinking that this is equivalent to an imminent deadly attack.


         
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        Aridog in reply to tom swift. | March 14, 2014 at 8:39 pm

        Okay Tom…can you tell us what you would think under the same circumstances?

        I’ll listen.

        If you are convincing, I’ll change my mind.


           
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          Ragspierre in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 8:56 pm

          Forgive me intruding here, but you asked the same question above, and I think it deserves a direct answer.

          I have no doubt in my military (former, briefly) mind that Harvey had in mind to punch out Mr. LEO. There is no evidence…and never will be…he intended anything beyond that. Unless, of course, you are the clairvoyant Buldung, who knows all and sees all.

          In Mr. LEO’s place, I would have planted my fanny in the driver’s seat of my car, and driven (forward or reverse) away OR stood pat.

          If standing pat, I would utter a few words of civil accord/humor through a partially rolled down window. They cost me absolutely nothing, and might very well mean that everyone goes home intact.

          I am, in that place, in a totally defensible (legally and tactically) position.

          The LAST thing I would do is let someone approach me, knowing I had a firearm, as did Walker.


           
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          tom swift in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 10:09 pm

          It’s all about what I don’t see here.

          I don’t see a guy with a knife or a club running at his victim.

          I don’t see a guy looking for debris at the side of the road which he can pick up and throw at his victim.

          I don’t see a guy at arm’s length from his victim, within range to smash his face with a fist.

          That means that whatever Harvey plans to do, it isn’t imminent to the degree I’d demand if he’s going to be shot to death. A few seconds later? That might be another story. But I don’t see it in this case.

          In fact, I don’t see a deadly situation at all. Roadside spats are not the sort of thing which routinely leads to dead bodies. The ones which do – with which I have no experience, I just read the same carelessly written news reports as everyone else – invariably involve auto collisions, or gunfire at some distance. I’ve never heard of a roadside altercation in which one party stops, exits his vehicle, walks a fair distance (ten car lengths?) toward his victim, pulls out a concealed firearm, and then shoots. Assuming Walker had read the same sorts of news stories as I did (though in police work he may have come across far more), he would have no serious reason to believe that he was about to be subjected to a deadly attack. Therefore, a deadly response is not justified.

          Now obviously Walker had no obligation to stand still while some guy kicks or punches him, and is entitled to defend himself from even non-lethal attacks (and for immediate purposes I am ignoring the Maryland duty-to-retreat complication, and just considering the actual self defense aspects). But the defense against non-lethal attacks can’t itself be lethal, at least not if we expect to consider it “defense”. That means, no shooting with lethal ammo. If Walker had threatened Harvey with his gun, making it apparent to Harvey that pummeling Walker might not be such a satisfying experience after all, that might be illegal brandishing in Maryland, but were I a juror I think I’d be happy to overlook that little transgression.

          Is that, in fact, what happened here? Did Walker brandish his gun before shooting? And then, despite becoming aware of Walker’s gun, did Harvey then press on with his intended assault? Pidel’s statement says “no”, Harvey stopped walking toward Walker after seeing the gun. We have nothing terribly specific so far which says “yes”, Harvey did indeed launch into attack mode after seeing the gun. Wild speculation that Harvey was a depraved individual who would have thought nothing of charging a man with a gun is not a useful “yes”. But a “yes” would be required if we are to conclude that the shooting might well have been justified.

          So in sum: Force, up to and including deadly force, can justifiably be used to defend against an imminent attack which threatens death or major bodily harm. From what I can see, what’s been presented so far in this case doesn’t come very close to meeting that standard.

          And that’s the short form of what I think at the moment – of course, pending developments.


             
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            janitor in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 12:34 am

            Bullying someone with a moving vehicle while target’s wife and little kids are in the car should suffice as life-threatening.

            It’s sick, irrational behavior. Why should there be an assumption that after the target stops his car and the irrational goons stop ahead on the road, then approach on foot, apparently wanting more, the threat to life and limb somehow has ceased?

            Would you perceive this differently if the target weren’t a LEO and his family but a 16-year-old girl, or a 70-year-old woman?


             
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            tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 5:04 am

            Bullying someone with a moving vehicle while target’s wife and little kids are in the car should suffice as life-threatening.

            That’s all very nice, but it has nothing to do with this case. Walker shooting Harvey after both vehicles were stopped and both men were on foot can’t conceivably be cast as the use of deadly force in defense against a vehicular attack which wasn’t happening. If Walker’s defense tries that argument, the jury will see a case of revenge, not defense, and Walker will be off to prison.


             
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            janitor in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 5:48 am

            Walker shooting Harvey after both vehicles were stopped and both men were on foot can’t conceivably be cast as the use of deadly force in defense against a vehicular attack which wasn’t happening.

            Disagree. It was reasonably a continuation of the same attack but merely changed MO. What conceivable possible other reason could there have been for Harvey to have stopped his vehicle too and be approaching Walker. In fact, that makes it even more threatening. If it were merely temporary “road rage”, why didn’t Harvey just move on.


             
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            tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 6:17 am

            Harvey isn’t on trial. His actions need no explanation or defense. Walker is on trial. He’s the one who needs a compelling story involving reasonable fear of imminent deadly attack. Fanciful “what-ifs” about things which his victim didn’t actually do won’t go very far to provide the jury with a compelling story.


             
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            Aridog in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 6:49 am

            There is nothing “fanciful” about the simple fact that Walker had stopped 50+ yards behind Harvey & Pidel. That is a form of retreat. Yet, still Harvey and Pidel continued the confrontation instead of driving on away.


             
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            Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 9:19 am

            It could just as readily be an invitation to the ball…to come out and fight.

            “Curbing” following a road-rage bout is usually just exactly that. (BTDT)


             
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            tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 11:51 am

            That is a form of retreat.

            That’s nice. So what? It didn’t do the job. Maryland requires retreat, not a half-hearted and ineffective pretense.


           
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          Gremlin1974 in reply to Aridog. | March 16, 2014 at 4:51 am

          No, you won’t, you haven’t so far even when given an explanation. You pretty much said you would never change your mind in your opening comments, but I encourage tom to try if he has the will.

          From my point of view you need to realize that the testimony you are seeing comes from a Motion to Dismiss the charges against Walker, therefore it is slanted in Walkers favor, as it should be or his lawyer sucks. This isn’t all the evidence or most likely not even a 1/10 of the evidence.

          Also, these discussion haven’t turned to the guilty/not guilty stage as of yet. This is about whether Walkers actions amount to reasonable self defense.

          So far from what I have read, I am no where near 1st degree murder or even 2nd degree. However, I believe that the force Walker used was unreasonable, though I can believe that he was in fear of his and his families safety. So I am thinking this was a case of “imperfect self defense”, which would probably mean a manslaughter conviction for Walker, with fairly shot sentence.

          If Harvey had displayed anything resembling a weapon I would feel differently. While I can get that Walker felt he needed to defend himself, I don’t think he had reason to fear death or great bodily harm, so shooting was to much force, making is defense claim, “imperfect”


         
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        amatuerwrangler in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 1:01 am

        It does not require “eminent deadly threat”. The general standard is “great bodily injury or death”, and its the rational fear of that happening, not the actual happening that is the decision point. The jury has to decide if that fear was rationally held. The person defending himself (herself) does not have to actually receive injury, only to fear it will happen.

        Harvey showed himself to be not only aggressive, but irrationally so. By Pidel’s statement we hear that Walker showed (brandished?) his pistol earlier in the encounter, so Harvey knows Walker is armed. Harvey should have known that he was not armed… and still he presses the attack as if he thinks it will never go beyond fisticuffs. His last thoughts before the lights went out for the last time might have something like, “now that wasn’t very smart…”

        And Walker did not know if Harvey was armed or not, but could, should, have considered the possibility.


           
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          tom swift in reply to amatuerwrangler. | March 15, 2014 at 4:58 am

          “eminent deadly threat”

          “Eminent”?

          You’re a funny guy.

          And now, a little exercise for students – define the English words eminent, imminent, and immanent. As you will see, class, they are quite different.

          The person defending himself (herself) does not have to actually receive injury, only to fear it will happen.

          And that’s why that word imminent is a factor. The fear of deadly attack can’t be fear that the attack will happen next year, or in ten minutes, or in two minutes. The attack has to be on the way, like, now; but it doesn’t have to have happened yet. “Imminent” doesn’t mean that the attack has started, it means it’s in the immediate future. Nothing short of imminent (or current) attack justifies lethal force.

          Harvey showed himself to be not only aggressive, but irrationally so.

          This is meaningless.

          Harvey was angry, but he was angry for a tolerably good reason; he thought some jerk had just run him off Rt. 3. That doesn’t make him irrational.

          By Pidel’s statement we hear that Walker showed (brandished?) his pistol earlier in the encounter, so Harvey knows Walker is armed.

          Pidel told the police that he thought he saw a pistol through the windows of Walker’s van. He never said that he mentioned it to Harvey, but he was fairly clear that when he (Pidel) thought he saw the pistol, it was aft of Harvey’s probable line of sight. In other words, we’ve seen no statement to the effect that Harvey may have seen a gun, whether or not Pidel saw one, and no statement that Harvey was warned, by Pidel or anyone else, that Walker had a gun. So far as we’ve heard from the police statements, the first time Harvey learned that a gun was involved was when Walker pointed his gun at him.


             
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            Aridog in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 6:56 am

            You are a funny guy too with the nit picking a word definition. Did you have any doubt in your mind that he meant “imminent?”

            Now here’s an exercise for you, place yourself in Walker’s position. Would you have thought Harvey was about to beat you silly? Would that be a reasonable fear of “imminent” danger.

            Better question, have you ever been in fist fight and lost badly? Against two men no less?

            I am not proposing that Walker was right, only that from what is evident so far, he appears justified. He had stopped. Harvey and Pidel had not…they were approaching from the front..e.g., back tracking to continue something. What?


             
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            Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 9:30 am

            Colorably, Harvey was stopped and walking for exactly the same reason that Walker was stopped and had gotten out of his car, and stood waiting for Harvey.

            Harvey could have read Walker’s body language the same way that the Gs did.

            There was going to be a dust-up, with two men apparently volunteering for the bout.

            That is as plausible (more IMNHO) than concluding the opposite…that Walker had “retreated” to the side of the road, but then “advanced” to stand beside his van with his arms across his chest.

            In any case…developing…


             
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            tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 11:36 am

            Did you have any doubt in your mind that he meant “imminent?”

            It’s hardly picking on nits. As the statement indicates, the guy hasn’t the slightest f’ing clue about what the laws of self defense are about, nor on what concepts they’re based. I’m being charitable and assuming it’s because he can’t grasp the importance of the concept of imminence. But maybe he’s just terminally clueless. It’s of little consequence.

            Now here’s an exercise for you, place yourself in Walker’s position.

            I can’t possibly place myself in Walker’s position. I’m not sufficiently stupid, I’m not sufficiently duplicitous, and I’m not sufficiently homicidal to ever be in that position.


             
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            Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | March 16, 2014 at 5:10 am

            “Now here’s an exercise for you, place yourself in Walker’s position.”

            Ok, the problem there is I would have never let these 2 meat heads get that close to me. First of all I would have never gotten out of my car until I was certain that the car that had caused me enough concern to make me pull over was well and truly gone. I would know that they had stopped because I would have kept my eyes on the ass end of that Honda until it was well out of sight. So when the 2 meat heads did decide to get out and come towards my vehicle, I would have been ready to move when big boy got to the 100 foot mark. Then I would have blown past him and his buddy and giggled about them having to make it back to their car. As I was driving away I would be on the phone with local police describing what had happened and giving them the plate numbers that I had told my wife to write down. The if I saw that little Honda in my rear view, I would handle matters from there depending on what they did. So there is what I would have done in Walkers shoes. I refuse to believe that a Trained LEO let someone cause him enough concern that he had to pull over, then magically forgot about them so he could go check his freaking tires. Sorry, I call BS on that one and the only thing that will convince me otherwise is uninterrupted video of the incident.

            “Would you have thought Harvey was about to beat you silly? Would that be a reasonable fear of “imminent” danger.”

            Imminent danger, yes, absolutely, imminent fear of death or great bodily harm….ehhhhhhh? Like I said Harvey could have just wanted to get in his face and scream, maybe even to try to provoke Walker to swing first, I can see someone who would stop on the side of the road to fight being the type of person who would try to goad someone into swinging first that way they would be justified when they beat the other person up. I have been in fist fights many times, even lost a couple, always got hurt even when I won. But even when I got beat up I never suffered death or great bodily harm.


     
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    gasper | March 14, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other on this case but am enjoying the posts and the comments. I do keep coming back to one thing and that is this: at what point was Pidel planning on telling his friend Harvey that Walker had a gun? And why was Pidel walking toward someone he knew had a gun?


       
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      bildung in reply to gasper. | March 14, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      I focused on these points in yesterday’s thread.

      The gun issue will completely destroy Pidel’s credibility.

      If he sticks with the ‘didn’t tell Harvey’ line the jury will obviously think him a liar. Its simply preposterous.

      If he recants of seeing a gun, in order to avoid the trap of looking precisely like the sort of depraved fool who (like Harvey) would angrily confront an armed man, then he defines himself as a liar.

      If he can’t be believed about the gun brandishing, he cant be believed about anything else.

      And this is the only witness the state can produce to refute Walker’s contention that Harvey bull rushed him, necessitating the shooting.

      So its game over. Pidel is the defense counsel’s dream.


         
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        Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm

           
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          bildung in reply to Ragspierre. | March 14, 2014 at 9:14 pm

          Do you think silliness distracts anyone from the fact that you’ve been gullible enough to think that your key witness, Pidel, is credible?

          Pidel is the Rachel Jeantelle of the Walker trial.


             
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            Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 9:27 pm

            Really? You’ve seen his testimony, IF any is given?

            More clairvoyance.


             
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            bildung in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 9:39 pm

            IF is might right, Rags.

            He’s already made the statement, so defense counsel will totally discredit him IF he testifies to some cock and bull about not telling Harvey about the gun.

            Retracting the statement makes him look even worse.

            Looks to me like the state would be better off not calling Pidel at all and just hoping for a circumstantial case.


             
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            Baker in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 11:42 pm

            I take it you did not find Ms. Jeantelle credible.


             
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            Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 11:20 am

            Let’s try a lil’ vignette, shall we…???

            Prosecutor’s direct, Pidel: What did you say about seeing a gun in your police statement made under oath immediately after your friend was shot and killed by Mr. Walker?

            Pidel: I said that I’d seen a gun pointed at us during one of the times we swapped positions with the van, as we were beside the van on the passenger side.

            Prosecutor: What makes you think that Mr. Harvey saw a gun at that time?

            Pidel: I don’t think he did see it. I don’t think he ever saw a gun until just before Walker killed him.

            Defense cross: You told the police you saw a gun, right?

            Pidel: Yes.

            Defense: But you want the jury to believe that you never mentioned that to your friend as you were both walking back to the Walkers’ car, is that right?

            Pidel: Yes,sir, that is true. I never told Joe about seeing the gun.

            Defense: That was a pretty important piece of information, don’t you think?

            Pidel: Yes, it was.

            Defense: But you never even mentioned it to your friend, right?

            Pidel: Right.

            Prosecutor redirect: Looking back on your failure to mention your sighting of a gun waved by the Defendant during the road-rage part of this incident, what are your thoughts on why you never mentioned the gun to Mr. Harvey?

            Pidel: I don’t know. I don’t know why I never mentioned it. I know I wish I had. I know that Joe might be alive right now. I guess I never thought anybody would just shoot Joe over this…just gun him down like that.

            Defense re-cross: The truth is you never saw a gun as you reported to the police, isn’t it?

            Pidel: No, sir. I did see a gun.

            Defense: But you want the jury to believe you never mentioned that essential fact to your friend, right?

            Pidel: That’s the truth. I can’t remember ever mentioning it to Joe.

            Defense: And you were walking up to a man with a gun, right?

            Pidel: Yes, sir. I was walking with Joe.

            Defense: What, you are not afraid of people with guns?

            Pidel: Depends. I know a lot of people with guns. They don’t kill people over nothing. I wasn’t thinking about a gunfight.

            Defense: But, again, you never mentioned the gun, knowing that might have changed what happened that day, if it was true, isn’t that correct?

            Pidel: Yes.

            Defense: And you can’t offer any reason for your failure, can you?

            Pidel: No, sir.

            Defense: I suggest you didn’t fail to tell your friend about any gun because you never saw a gun, isn’t that the real truth?

            Pidel: No, sir. I saw a gun, and I wish to God I’d warned Joe. But I just didn’t. I don’t know why not. I don’t think I’ll ever know. And now Joe is dead.

            Prosector: I have no further questions, Your Honor.
            ________________________________________

            Now, anybody can play along…

            Go for it, as Rocky Balboa said.


             
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            JackRussellTerrierist in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 7:52 pm

            It’s like watching a cartoon, bildung. It’s laughable.


         
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        tom swift in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 10:31 pm

        The gun issue will completely destroy Pidel’s credibility.

        To me, defense is going to have to work a lot harder than that to “completely” destroy anything.

        Pidel’s story about seeing the gun seems to be nonsense, even if only from internal inconsistencies. Meaning, if he did think that he’d seen a gun, why, by his own words, did he not subsequently act as if he’d seen a gun?

        But was he lying, or was he mistaken? And if mistaken, why? Was he beating up on himself, thinking that if only he’d done something differently, his buddy wouldn’t be bleeding to death right in front of him? And would that “something differently” have been realizing sooner that Walker had a gun, and then warning Harvey appropriately? I can see a person generating spurious memories of unclear objects glimpsed in a moving vehicle. That would just mean that in some respects his testimony won’t be 100% reliable. But nobody would expect it to be; nobody’s testimony is 100% reliable.


         
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        ThomasD in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 11:53 pm

        Which would be a major problem. If Pidel were on trial.

        But he is not, Walker is the one on trial, and it is Walker’s credibility, or lack there of, which will rule the day.

        If defense counsel is pinning their hopes on Pidel saving their bacon then Walker is in deep trouble.


         
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        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 3:38 am

        “If he can’t be believed about the gun brandishing, he cant be believed about anything else.”

        Then why would you believe Walker after he gave two widely differing stories to dispatch and the investigating officer?

        You’re emotionally invested in your position and are wearing blinders to anything that doesn’t support your position.


         
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        Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 16, 2014 at 5:19 am

        Yea, now you are saying Pidel isn’t credible because of some nuance of his statement. Yesterday or day before it was Pidel isn’t credible because of his previous felony conviction, you just don’t Pidel to be credible. The problem is, so far, most of the witnesses statements corroborate more of Pidel’s statement than they do any of Walker’s stories.

        Frankly, your assumption that Pidel is completely discredited because in a stressful situation he didn’t tell Walker, who was screaming and livid by all accounts that he saw a gun. Well I respectfully disagree, as have most folks here. Ya know, we are all human and humans aren’t perfect and we all do bone headed stuff at times. I bet Pidel wishes he had told Harvey he thought he saw a gun, but being human he just might not have, it doesn’t do a damn thing to his credibility, it just makes him human.


     
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    Richard Aubrey | March 14, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Does the G’s car have a magnifying rear view mirror? Did they buy a lottery ticket that day on account of not hitting anything while driving one way and looking the other?
    IMO, the jurors takeaway would be to confirm the two punks had stopped what they were doing–going to a party, iirc–in order to walk fifty yards along a highway back to a guy with whom they’d had a road fuss.
    This being the case, the defense’s suggestion that Walker feared more road rage if he got into his car would be feasible. And that means no avenue of retreat.
    Let’s say I failed to flee down an alley and onto a busy street because I was convinced, incorrectly, that it was a blind alley? Seems as if that scenario would be a useful analogy.


       
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      tom swift in reply to Richard Aubrey. | March 14, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      Walker feared more road rage if he got into his car would be feasible. And that means no avenue of retreat.

      I make no claim to be an expert on the text of the law, but Maryland seems to require that an avenue of retreat, if open, must be used. There’s no requirement that the victim of the attack agree that retreat is an optimal response, or even that retreat will prove effective in either the short or long terms. In a SYG state, the victim can make that determination for himself; but not in Maryland.


     
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    bildung | March 14, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Does anyone know how large Walker is?

    My impression is that he was about 5’11”, but I cant cite a source.

    I’ve heard no one suggest, before this couple, that he was a towering 6’6″.

    I think a ‘mistake’ of that magnitude is indeed significant and much of what’s left seems self cancelling.

    Their account contradicts Walker on when he first saw the assailants, if people this imprecise can be believed, but their account also confirms that Harvey was bearing down on Walker with malice aforethought, if people this imprecise can be believed.

    And so on. So, natch.


       
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      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 3:49 am

      Walker also contradicts himself on when he first saw Harvey. First he told dispatch that Harvey had “pulled him over.” Then he told the responding investigator that he first saw Harvey when he was 10′ away.

      Neither of Walker’s stories are feasible, but the disparity between the two very different accounts makes them downright bizarre, especially coming from an investigator for a prosecutor’s office.


       
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      Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 16, 2014 at 5:23 am

      Really, I have been a nurse for 20 years and if someone asks me how tall they are and how much they weigh, I tell them to get on the scale and/or stand next to the measuring stick, because I suck at guessing.

      I realize that you believe that getting one thing wrong in a statement makes someone a non-credible witness, I would suggest, however, that the greater portion of humanity disagree’s with you and understands that no one is perfect, not even you bildung, except in hindsight of course.


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