Texas Man Faces Life Sentence in 'Stand Your Ground' Case

Former firefighter faces life in prison for murdering unarmed neighbor over noisy party.

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A retired firefighter could get life in prison after a jury handed down a murder conviction in a case involving Texas' version of a "Stand Your Ground" law, the Associated Press reports.

In 2010, Raul Rodriguez shot and killed his unarmed neighbor during a confrontation over a loud birthday party for the victim's wife and daughter. At the trial and in a 22-minute video he filmed during the confrontation, Rodriguez argued the shooting was protected under Texas's "Castle Doctrine," a law similar to the "Stand Your Ground" law invoked by George Zimmerman in the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

[Debate Club: Are 'Stand Your Ground' Laws a Good Idea?]

The incident began when Rodriguez, who owns a concealed weapon permit, went to a neighbor's with a video camera and handgun to complain about noise from a house party. There he was confronted by 36-year-old Kelly Danaher, an elementary school teacher, and two other men.

As the camera rolls, Rodriguez can be heard telling a police dispatcher "my life is in danger now" and "these people are going to try and kill me." After saying "I'm standing my ground here," someone appeared to grab at his camera, prompting Rodriguez to shoot and kill Danaher. The two other men were wounded.

The jury deliberated for five hours Wednesday before convicting Rodriguez of murder. The punishment phase of the trial begins Thursday.

The prosecution argued Rodriguez wasn't protected by the Castle Doctrine because he provoked Danaher and the two others and brandished his handgun to threaten them, not because his life was in danger. Rodriguez's defense argued the law applied because Danaher approached him in a threatening way, and because Rodriguez was not engaged in criminal activity.

Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. You can contact him at scline@usnews.com or follow him on Twitter