Zimmerman verdict could have been different in Missouri - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Zimmerman verdict could have been different in Missouri


What if the George Zimmerman case was tried in Missouri?

Could the verdict been different?

It's hard to say, but the jury instructions could have been very different as self-defense laws in Missouri differ than those in Florida.

The major difference as it pertains to this case is if George Zimmerman could have ran away from Trayvon Martin after the confrontation started, he would have been required to by law.

Obviously, that's not the case in Florida where there's a stand your ground law.

And while an official stand your ground motion was not filed by his attorney, it was part of Zimmerman's defense.

Obviously, the Martin shooting was not at Zimmerman's home or on his property, but if it was, it would have fallen under the castle doctrine in Missouri. And that's a law that's seen major changes in the past few years.

"Prior to 2010, we had a situation where it was kind of shoot first and ask questions later with regards to the castle doctrine," said Stoddard County Prosecutor Russ Oliver.  "We now have a reasonableness component to that says you have to be reasonable in your belief that person is using unlawful force against you."

The changes a couple of years ago also expanded the castle doctrine to your property, not just your home or car.

But still, if you're not on your property, Missouri law does require you to flee, if possible, or use appropriate force to defend yourself.

Oliver says the important thing to remember is if you feel you need to defend yourself, your force must be appropriate.  That means shooting someone who may not have caused grave danger could have serious consequences.

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