A judge denied bail for 31-year-old Waddel Adams, who is charged with home invasion, first-degree murder, and unlawful possession of a firearm following a fatal argument with his neighbor.
By all accounts, Mr. Adams got along reasonably well with 30-year-old Bobby Lloyd Sr. until one of Mr. Lloyd’s four young children apparently hit Mr. Adams’ car with a rock. According to witnesses, an angry Mr. Adams confronted the child and his mother with a baseball bat. That incident ended without violence. Three days later, Mr. Lloyd confronted Mr. Adams, who countered that Mr. Lloyd had damaged his car. Again according to witnesses, Mr. Adams entered Mr. Lloyd’s apartment wielding a .380 handgun, and Mr. Lloyd used a baseball bat to defend himself. Mr. Lloyd was shot in the ensuing melee, and he died at a local hospital about an hour later. He had been shot seven times.
A short time later, investigators recovered several shell casings from the scene along with a .380 handgun that someone had wrapped in a sweatshirt to throw away.
Based on the witness statements, which are often incomplete, misleading, and/or inaccurate, things do not look good for the defendant in the above story. Even if Mr. Adams lacked the intent to murder Mr. Lloyd, which is rather tenuous, the felony murder rule probably still applies, assuming Mr. Adams actually entered the victim’s home.
However, that is why the American justice system uses the adversarial model, which is quite unlike the setups in many other countries. Together with pretrial discovery, a system that pits the defense attorney against the prosecutor usually brings out the facts, even when the situation is quite confusing.
But what if the above facts were a little different? What if the final altercation occurred at Mr. Allen’s residence? Would his subsequent use of force have been justified?
Illinois has a “stand your ground” law of sorts, though it is not called that. The self-defense statute in the Prairie State is broad. One does not have a duty to retreat when deadly force is presented unless you are the aggressor. As long as you are not the aggressor, you do not have a duty to retreat even outside your home.
According to the Illinois Criminal Code, self-defense is based on the defendant’s reasonable belief that the force was necessary to prevent harm. In the field, you have three only three ways under the law to use deadly force:
- To stop a forceable felony;
- Defense of another that was in fear of death or great bodily harm; or
- Defense of self when you are in fear of death or great bodily harm.
The jury looks at the defendant’s state of mind somewhat objectively and somewhat subjectively. In plain English, the defendant can be mistaken about the amount of force necessary. For example, “I thought he had a gun because there was a bulge in his jacket” might fly, but “he said he had a gun even though it didn’t look like he had one” will probably be insufficient. You are judged by the reasonable man standard. Would a reasonable man in the defendant’s shoes feel that they were in fear of death or great bodily harm?
Reach Out to Aggressive Attorneys
Self-defense is broad in Illinois, but there are limits. For a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal law attorney in Schaumburg, contact Glasgow & Olsson.
(image courtesy of Andrew Peloso)