A witness (Reed) claimed a young man (Holley) tried to rob her boyfriend (Smith), shooting him dead. Allegedly, after the young man tried to rob him, the boyfriend pulled out a gun, but the young man shot him.
Holley claims a different version of events happened.
He claims that Smith tried to grab a wad of cash out of his hands when he was about to pay him, that there was a struggle and Smith managed to grab Holley's cell phone. Allegedly, Smith then reached for a gun, and Holley tried to smack the gun out of his hands. The gun jammed, and Holley then fired a shot and Smith's arm which was holding the gun to try to slow him down, but Holley then had to shoot Smith in the torso.
So this might appear to be a "he said, she said" case. Except for one major thing.
A month previously, Holley had committed armed robbery, in a separate but very similar incident.
So if Holley had previously committed armed robbery, it is very likely that he was the one committing the robbery in this situation too.
Armed robbery is a serious thing. It's not as serious as murder, but because he previously committed that crime not long before, he does not get the benefit of the doubt in this alleged self defense case either.
He was sentenced to life in prison, for first degree murder.
Holley probably was acting in "self defense" when he shot Smith because Smith pulled out a gun. But a person cannot claim "self defense" if they are acting within the situation of a robbery that they are committing. That is not a legal defense to murder (although it can be a small mitigating factor).
The big legal question that matters is whether Holley was committing a robbery in this situation.
Another thought, if he had killed the witness, he would likely also still have been convicted. It's very hard to make the argument that it was self defense if he had to kill two people, including a female. I think the fact that the witness was a female played a significant role in his conviction. Since females are seen as less likely to commit violent crimes like armed robbery, and a male and female together would be less likely to try to commit a robbery than one male, or two males together. So I think that is an interesting aspect to this too.
Supreme Court reinstates murder conviction for man who claimed self-defense (wibw.com)
https://www.wibw.com/2022/05/21/supreme ... dangerment.
https://www.kscourts.org/KSCourts/media ... 1181_1.PDF
The defense won an appeal that the jury should have been instructed by the judge to consider self defense, but the Illinois Supreme Court overturned that appeal.
I know someone made the stupid claim in another thread that "all cases are objective". This is obviously not really the case here. We do not know with 100 percent certainty that it was a murder, but we have still (rightly) decided that this person committed murder.
(Also, before any of you object, most parts of the United States have very different views about justified self defense than in the UK. Whether Holley was involved in the commission of a robbery when he had to shoot and kill Smith is a huge huge issue and is the determining factor whether it is considered a murder or not)