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  1. #1
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    Default Monroe County Man Acquitted, Self Defense Justified

    http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbc...0/NEWS/7300365

    Iraq War veteran acquitted in '09 fatal shooting of guest in Stroud Township

    By Andrew Scott
    Pocono Record Writer
    July 30, 2010 It's been a stressful two years and 11 months for Valerie Rose and her son, Jerel Johnson.

    As if the August 2007 murder of Rose's fiance and Johnson's stepfather-to-be wasn't enough, Johnson himself was charged in April 2009 with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a family friend in their Stroud Township home.


    Johnson smiled and hugged defense attorney James Swetz while his family joined hands and shed tears of relief, as the jury announced "not guilty" on charges of first- and third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

    On the other side of the courtroom, Lee's family and friends remained stoic, as did assistant district attorneys Donald Leeth and Jeremy Bolles and Stroud Area Regional Police Detective Richard Wolbert. All were visibly disappointed.

    "I feel justice was served," a relieved Johnson said as sheriff's deputies escorted him from the courtroom after the verdict.

    The jury deliberated for less than three hours on the evidence and testimony presented during the three-day trial.

    The following points presented during testimony were key to the defense's victory:


    •The U.S. Army had trained Johnson to recognize when his life was in danger and "neutralize the threat." His time in Iraq, which included combat, gave him post-traumatic stress disorder, although Veterans' Administration records show nothing traumatic happened to him.
    •Lee's close friend, retired New York corrections officer Barry Rose, 46, of Bushkill, had become a father figure to Johnson, who never knew his own father. Rose was engaged to marry Johnson's mother, who legally took his last name after his death.

    When three young men broke into Rose's home in August 2007 and one of the three killed him during a shootout, his death deeply affected his loved ones. Unable to deal with or express his grief and the horror of his military experiences in healthy ways, Johnson kept it all bottled up.

    In April 2009, after the three men involved in Rose's death had all been brought to justice, Johnson had a barbecue at his home and invited Lee and other friends. All of them were drinking.

    Johnson and Lee, known for his short temper and extreme sensitivity to people saying anything negative about Rose, were both drunk when they got into a conversation about Rose's murder.

    Johnson became emotional when talking about how the three young men involved in Rose's death had thrown their lives away. Lee took offense, said Johnson was acting like a sissy, and attacked him, repeatedly punching him in the face.

    Unable to get Lee to stop, Johnson told another guest to call 911, got his 9mm handgun from his bedroom and told Lee to leave his house. Lee refused to leave, threatened to kill Johnson and came at him again.

    Johnson fired two shots at Lee's torso, which didn't stop Lee, and then two more shots at Lee's legs, causing Lee to fall forward into a push-up position. Johnson fired 10 more times while moving around Lee to make sure Lee stayed down and then remained on scene until police and ambulances arrived. Lee was hit 13 times.

    Johnson admitted telling police afterward, "I hope he dies," saying he was upset over what had happened.

    "It's always difficult when someone like Mingo Lee loses their life," Swetz said after the verdict. "Jerel is not guilty because he acted in self-defense under the law."

    Johnson's family and friends declined to comment.

    "We respect the jury's decision," Leeth said. "It's a tough time for both families. I hope Mr. Lee's family can grow stronger, find peace and remember him for who he truly was."

    Lee's friend, Darryl Sanders of Stroudsburg, called the verdict "ridiculous."

    "How is shooting someone 13 times considered self-defense?," Sanders asked, shaking his head. "Yes, they were both drunk, and Mingo might have attacked Jerel or whatever, but Jerel could have just wounded him to stop him. Why shoot him 10 more times after he's down?

    "I just can't believe that my friend, a hard-working father with a college education, the man who stepped in to help out Jerel and his mom after Barry's death and even helped Jerel get a job, is dead at Jerel's hands and Jerel now gets off free," he said. "Life just isn't fair sometimes."

    For at least two jurors, deliberating on a murder trial was a new experience.

    "For me, it was pretty emotional," said Randall Rudd of Stroudsburg. "I walked in not knowing what to expect. Though this situation is tragic for all involved, I'm at peace with our verdict. I don't feel the prosecution proved its case."

    John Ferro of Middle Smithfield Township said, "It's a crazy experience. You can't talk about the case to anyone outside of the courtroom, but you can't sleep at night.

    "I feel we did our duty in this tough, tragic case and made a difficult decision," Ferro said. "This young man may have used poor judgment, but in the end they didn't prove that he intended to kill this man."


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    Umm, I wish the pocono record, for once, would actually give some fucking insight into what happened. This article states that the attacker was shot 10 times in the back while laying down, after he was already shot 4 times from the front, and by the wording, over a period of time. How this "victim" got off on self defense, I have no idea. Due to the poor wording of the pocono record, and the facts given by them, it would appear he plain out murdered his attacker...

    I'm not saying anything, I wasn't there for the trial. If the jury found him not guilty, and he was justified, so be it. It's just an interesting event. The way things played out, and what was written by the PR, leaves alot to be desired. They gave absolutely no insight into how shooting someone in the back, who is on the ground after being shot multiple times was justified. It makes it sound like he was shooting the guy every time he tried to get up, while waiting for the police/ambulance to arrive, which could have taken upwards of 5 to 10 minutes even in the more densly populated area where SARP covers.
    Last edited by jcabin; July 30th, 2010 at 01:43 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by headcase View Post
    let them eventually bring the FBI to kill my wife and son over fucking chickens....

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Monroe County Man Acquitted, Self Defense Justified

    (Hate to nitpick, but when people post stories, look what you are copying, like the bits that describe pictures that just make these harder to read.)


    "Yes, they were both drunk, and Mingo might have attacked Jerel or whatever, but Jerel could have just wounded him to stop him. Why shoot him 10 more times after he's down?
    I shoot to stop, you shoot to stop, I wouldnt know how to shoot to wound.
    Last edited by Azzy; July 30th, 2010 at 01:41 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Monroe County Man Acquitted, Self Defense Justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Azzy View Post
    (Hate to nitpick, but when people post stories, look what you are copying, like the bits that describe pictures that just make these harder to read.)
    edited 10char
    Quote Originally Posted by headcase View Post
    let them eventually bring the FBI to kill my wife and son over fucking chickens....

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Monroe County Man Acquitted, Self Defense Justified

    I would like to add.. that I don't think that firing once the deceased was on the ground needed to happen. But, when alcohol is involved, judgment and the mind play at different speeds.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Monroe County Man Acquitted, Self Defense Justified

    Quote Originally Posted by jcabin View Post
    Umm, I wish the pocono record, for once, would actually give some fucking insight into what happened. This article states that the attacker was shot 10 times in the back while laying down, after he was already shot 4 times from the front, and by the wording, over a period of time. How this "victim" got off on self defense, I have no idea. Due to the poor wording of the pocono record, and the facts given by them, it would appear he plain out murdered his attacker...

    I'm not saying anything, I wasn't there for the trial. If the jury found him not guilty, and he was justified, so be it. It's just an interesting event. The way things played out, and what was written by the PR, leaves alot to be desired. They gave absolutely no insight into how shooting someone in the back, who is on the ground after being shot multiple times was justified. It makes it sound like he was shooting the guy every time he tried to get up, while waiting for the police/ambulance to arrive, which could have taken upwards of 5 to 10 minutes even in the more densly populated area where SARP covers.
    You either need to keep up with the current events or read the 'related stories' right next to the article

    http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbc...9/NEWS/7290311

    http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbc...8/NEWS/7280322

    http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbc...NEWS/100729866

    http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbc...7/NEWS/7270321

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Monroe County Man Acquitted, Self Defense Justified

    Quote Originally Posted by dc dalton View Post
    I've read all of those and there is alot of information lacking. The article in the OP states he shot mingo while moving around and waiting for 911 to arrive, over a period of time. I just wish the PR would do some real reporting for once and give the facts as they are, because if what they say occured then this was murder and not justified homicide(as so many people claim alcohol will).

    Either way, I'm glad our justice system worked. In light of the PR's poor reporting as usual, I hope the event was described as it actually happened in court. It's also notable that the victim had a .22 BAC, which is 3 times the legal limit to operate a vehicle. It did not hurt his defense.
    Last edited by jcabin; July 30th, 2010 at 09:13 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by headcase View Post
    let them eventually bring the FBI to kill my wife and son over fucking chickens....

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Monroe County Man Acquitted, Self Defense Justified

    I spent 15 minutes explaining to a woman in my office how it could be possible to have to shoot someone that many times before the threat was stopped. I used examples that I've read here about cops shooting bad guys umpteen times before they were incapacitated. It took a while but I got her to capitulate and agree that it actually could be possible.

    After reading this article I almost wish I'd have kept my mouth shut. I realize that I wasn't there but, this just doesn't sound all that kosher IMO.
    "How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessnes."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Monroe County Man Acquitted, Self Defense Justified

    yeah I don't know how he got away with shooting him 10 times while on the ground. I'm sure the Jury took into account his status as a vet.

    The only thing he did wrong (imho) is he stopped shooting when the guy was still standing
    The first vehicles normally on the scene of a crime are ambulances and police cruisers. If you are armed you have a chance to decide who gets transported in which vehicle, if you are not armed then that decision is made for you.

    Be prepared, because someone else already is and no one knows their intent except them.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Monroe County Man Acquitted, Self Defense Justified

    IMO self defense is self defense.

    If the evidence showed the shooter was justified to shoot then how many shots and where those shots were placed should not matter.

    If I should ever need to defend myself with deadly force (God forbid) I should not be judged on how I took out my attacker, no more than the type of ammunition used, or the capacity of the gun should come into play. If the first shot was justified IMO thatís all that matters. Prosecutors routinely excuse leoís when they collectively shoot 60+ rounds into a vehicle, but somehow regular citizens are suppose to have more restraint in a dangerous situation.

    I applaud the jury for not being led into the emotional temptation to judge the defendant based on the blurry actions once deadly force became necessary, but rather the events which led up to that decision.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Monroe County Man Acquitted, Self Defense Justified

    I would also love more details such as the coroners report. If the person was a distance away and shot every time the man tried to get up than it was seem more plausable to be self defense. If it appears he over time stood directly over the person and shot down "execution" style while walking around than I am amazed he got off.

    I was not there or at the trial so all I can say is what a terrible situation for all involved.

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