James Wonder being charged with Manslaughter


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Vonderek
August 28, 2008, 05:10 PM
Just heard a news report on WIOD. James Wonder, the guy who was arrested for shooting federal agent James Pettit in the head earlier this month, is being charged with manslaughter instead of murder.

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Drgong
August 28, 2008, 05:11 PM
Was this the case down in florida at the post office?

senior
August 28, 2008, 05:28 PM
MANSLAUGHTER??? Geezz, the looney gets outta his car and wastes the man in front of his daughter, and the judge declares it only mansaughter, yet in so many instances u or i cut down a BG who threatens our family and they try to picture you as a rampaging madman who was out to kill anyone u could? Something terribly wrong with the system!!

vis--vis
August 28, 2008, 05:33 PM
From what I understand it was a mutual confrontation with emotions running red. I'm no lawyer, but I think the law takes things like that into account in determining the classification of which type of murder it was. Maybe we should look at it the other way Senior. Usually the Gov't throws the book hard when one of it's minions go down.

You lose a lot of my sympathy when you exacerbate a dangerous situation.

El Tejon
August 28, 2008, 05:41 PM
MANSLAUGHTER??? Geezz, the looney gets outta his car and wastes the man in front of his daughter, and the judge declares it only mansaughter,

The judge? How are you coming to this conclusion? The judge had nothing to do with it, a grand jury decided what the charge would be.

If you are in a state where the 5th Amendment has not yet been incorporated fully incorporated, e.g. Indiana, the Prosecuting Attorney will alone make the decision of what to accuse you of.

A Broward County grand jury today indicted James Wonder on a manslaughter charge instead of murder in the death of a federal customs agent.

Wonder, 65, has been in jail without bond on a premeditated murder charge since Aug. 6.

He is accused of shooting and killing border protection agent Donald Pettit in an Aug. 5 road rage incident in a Pembroke Pines post office parking lot.

Police have said that the two flipped each other the middle finger as they drove and then Wonder pulled into the post office lot.

Police said Pettit, 52, followed and Wonder shot him during a confrontation. Pettit's 12-year-old daughter was in his car and witnessed the shooting, authorities said.

The lesser charge Wonder will face carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison.

If he had been indicted on second- or first-degree murder, he could have faced up to life in prison or the death penalty.

Wonder's defense attorneys, Frank Maister and Michael Entin, said they weren't surprised their client wasn't charged with murder.

They said they expect their client to be acquitted by a jury. "We're a little bit disappointed that they came back with any indictment at all," said Maister. "We thought that this was absolutely self-defense."

Entin said today's indictment means that Wonder will be eligible for bond. They expected him to bond out as soon as he can.

A search warrant in the case said Wonder admitted to nurses that he had an anger problem and needed counseling.

The nurses told police that Wonder also bragged that whoever killed Pettit was "a professional."

Police were tipped off to Wonder and arrested him at a Davie dialysis center on the murder charge.



the looney gets outta his car and wastes the man in front of his daughter,

Maybe it was within the act of a reasonable man to "waste" the other? Self-defense is never so clear cut, especially when the loser is a fed.

Point being, we don't know what happened, other than two adult males were acting like 13 year olds. A (petit) jury may decide crime or no crime.

Lesson here: avoidance is best and Problem #2 is real, not the product of El Tejon's imagination.

Drgong
August 28, 2008, 05:43 PM
well, if a federal officer gets shot and it is only manslaughter then I suspect that the officer was at least somewhat involved on why it got to shooting.

Edit: the federal officer followed the man to the post office and confronted him, If someone got mad at you on the road, you park your car, and they follow, screaming, How many of you would at least make sure your gun is ready?

CRITGIT
August 28, 2008, 05:48 PM
The judge? How are you coming to this conclusion? The judge had nothing to do with it, a grand jury decided what the charge would be.

If you are in a state where the 5th Amendment has not yet been incorporated fully incorporated, e.g. Indiana, the Prosecuting Attorney will alone make the decision of what to accuse you of.


You beat me to it!
Thank You!

CRITGIT

ny32182
August 28, 2008, 05:58 PM
If Petit hadn't followed the guy, he would still be alive.

That is wreckless behavior, period. *Especially* if you have your 12 year old kid in the car.

I don't see what his job has to do with it, either. Should he be entitled to some kind of special license to act like an idiot just because he's on the payroll of the federal government? Presumably he was off duty?

From that story, it sounds to me like Petit is almost certainly at least partially at fault for escalating the confrontation. Sounds like the prosecutor there has a similar opinion.

senior
August 28, 2008, 06:07 PM
I stand corrected, should have read the article better, so it was grand jury and perhaps agent did overstep the line, still the guy did admit to having a bad anger problem! Is it now accepted by grand jurys to lower charges simply because the fella had an anger '" problem?" Got to be a lot more to this story! I personally would hate t o see it come down to being able to kill someone simply because of anger and then be charged with a lighter charge due to it!

Carlos Cabeza
August 28, 2008, 06:14 PM
Two grown men acting like children, Sad. I do think that when the guy pulled over to confront the agent, the intent to harm was there, and he had a gun to back it up. You know what they say..........Old men don't fist fight................

Duke Junior
August 28, 2008, 06:28 PM
I stand corrected, should have read the article better, so it was grand jury and perhaps agent did overstep the line, still the guy did admit to having a bad anger problem! Is it now accepted by grand jurys to lower charges simply because the fella had an anger '" problem?" Got to be a lot more to this story! I personally would hate t o see it come down to being able to kill someone simply because of anger and then be charged with a lighter charge due to it!

You make some good points.But still the fact remains,Wonder broke off the engagement and pulled off into the P.O. parking lot.
The Agent, instead of simply proceeding and discarding the incident, rounded the corner and entered the lot from another direction and proceeded to confront the accused.
Manslaughter is the highest possible charge in this the case,IMO.
As said by many ,the Agent is alive today if he had controlled his VERY out of control emotions.
And with Florida's Castle Doctrine and the psysical differentials between Pettit and Wonder don't be surprised to see a 'not guilty' verdict.

spwenger
August 28, 2008, 06:36 PM
...but in Arizona if there is adequate provocation by the victim, leading to sudden fight or heat of passion, what would otherwise be second-degree (unpremeditated) murder drops to manslaughter. From the grand jury's indictment, I would guess that Florida law is not much different.

Guns and more
August 28, 2008, 06:50 PM
I followed this story from the beginning. A lot of bad happened.
If Petit hadn't followed the guy, he would still be alive.

True, and he had his daughter in the car, but was supposedly "on duty".
I don't have a problem with the charge. Honor is, I think, 60 and was on his way to a dialysis treatment. You're upset about maybe 15 yrs vs. life? They're both life.

HIcarry
August 28, 2008, 07:03 PM
Doesn't murder usually require some premeditation component, whereas manslaughter doesn't?

TexasRifleman
August 28, 2008, 07:13 PM
Doesn't murder usually require some premeditation component, whereas manslaughter doesn't?

No lawyer, but Wiki says thus: (but it's still just Wiki)

Unlawful killings without malice or intent are considered manslaughter.

and then says....

1 Provocation. This is a killing caused by an event or situation which would probably cause a reasonable person to lose self-control and kill.

2 Heat of Passion. In this situation, the actions of another cause the defendant to act in the heat of the moment, and without reflection. This falls under the provocation heading.


So to the non lawyer in me this says the guy was provoked in some manner to at least initiate all this.

Still bad all the way around of course.

Maybe the real lawyers will help us :)

Z-Michigan
August 28, 2008, 08:24 PM
Hard to say anything definitive until the facts are much clearer. However, the grand jury would have heard much more facts than any of us. Grand juries are known for charging more than can really be convicted, not less - in part because there is no defense in front of a grand jury, only a prosecutor. If a grand jury won't authorize higher charges, there is zero chance that there would have been a conviction of higher charges.

Duke Junior
August 28, 2008, 08:35 PM
Hard to say anything definitive until the facts are much clearer. However, the grand jury would have heard much more facts than any of us. Grand juries are known for charging more than can really be convicted, not less - in part because there is no defense in front of a grand jury, only a prosecutor. If a grand jury won't authorize higher charges, there is zero chance that there would have been a conviction of higher charges.

An excellent analysis.
This being the case and the event occuring in Florida,Mr.Wonder faces at most,a conviction of manslaughter.
My prediction:Not Guilty.

TallPine
August 28, 2008, 09:14 PM
I think if you research the original now closed thread, you will find that I said that the most he would be charged/convicted of was manslaughter ;)

dalepres
August 28, 2008, 09:34 PM
The guy pulls into the post office. The other driver follows him and gets out of the car. And the other driver also has a gun and, perhaps, flashed it by moving a jacket or shirt tail or other intimidating behavior.

What happened on the road should have stayed on the road. It became a physical threat as soon as the second driver followed the first into the Post Office parking lot and stepped out of his car.

COMPNOR
August 28, 2008, 09:36 PM
If by "the other driver" you mean Pettit, the guy who was killed, he did have a gun. In his car.

feedthehogs
August 28, 2008, 09:49 PM
Dead guy follows shooter into parking lot and confronts him.

Shooter is older guy with health problems severe enough to be on dialysis and fears for his life as he may not be physically able to defend himself with his fists.

Throw in Florida's no retreat law and bingo and good case for self defense.

Duke Junior
August 28, 2008, 09:51 PM
I think if you research the original now closed thread, you will find that I said that the most he would be charged/convicted of was manslaughter

You were right on target TallPine as your post from the past shows:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=383524&highlight=FEDERAL+AGENT+KILLED


"For all the national "federal officer killed" hoopla over this incident, I think Wonder will probably end up pleading to a manslaughter charge. It seems pretty clear at this time (and I thought so from the beginning but decided to refrain from speculating on THR) that the deceased contributed to the altercation."

Richbaker
August 28, 2008, 10:04 PM
[quote]Carlos Cabeza-"Two grown men acting like children, Sad. I do think that when the guy pulled over to confront the agent, the intent to harm was there, and he had a gun to back it up. You know what they say..........Old men don't fist fight................"

The AGENT followed the SHOOTER and confronted him...NOT the way you wrote it...I would have had my gun ready, too, if some jerk came after me...

cassandrasdaddy
August 28, 2008, 10:20 PM
would you have run and dyed your hair afterwards?

KelVarnson
August 28, 2008, 10:33 PM
would you have run and dyed your hair afterwards?

That is irrelevant to the main charge. Either it was a good SD shoot, or it wasn't. Wonder's fleeing the scene should be handled as a separate charge.

COMPNOR
August 28, 2008, 10:33 PM
I would have had my gun ready, too, if some jerk came after me...


Was his gun at the ready though? The initial story says he was shot in the back.

cassandrasdaddy
August 28, 2008, 10:38 PM
running and attempting to hide are indicative of the shooters view as to whether he had a "good shoot"

hso
August 28, 2008, 10:39 PM
This is crime log not gun material and more appropriate for APS.

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