Judge Gives Blind Florida Man His Guns Back After He Shot His Buddy to Death
The facts are not in dispute: John Wayne Rogers is legally blind. He also shot his friend to death two years ago after an hours-long drinking binge at his rural Florida home. More specific, he pointed a .308 Remington assault rifle at his buddy's chest from a little more than a foot away and then pulled the trigger.
Screencap of WESH report via YouTube John Wayne Rogers at the Seminole County Courthouse.
Yet Rogers not only walked free last month but also was recently given back all of his guns by a Florida judge. Yes, Florida's Stand Your Ground law is to blame. And yes, it all happened in Sanford, the same town where Miami teen Trayvon Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman.
Rogers was initially charged with first-degree murder and faced a life sentence after the March 27, 2012 killing. The 40-year-old had invited his friend, 34-year-old James T. DeWitt, to spend the night at his house in Geneva, a town about ten miles east of Sanford.
After drinking into the wee hours, a fight broke out, and Rogers shot and killed his house guest. But faced with conflicting testimony and Rogers' claims it was self-defense, a judge in January dropped the charges under the Stand Your Ground law and set the gunman free.
Last week, Rogers was back in court to ask for the return of his Glock pistol and the assault rifle used in the shooting. The judge was incredulous but said he had no standing to prevent the proven killer -- who, don't forget, legally cannot see -- from regaining ownership of his powerful weapons.
"I have to return the property that was taken under this circumstance," Judge John Galluzo told the court. "I have researched it and haven't found case law to say otherwise."
Rogers gloated to a TV crew on his way out. "I'm a law-abiding citizen," he told WESH, "and I'm glad to see that justice was done."
That's one word for what's been going on in Seminole County.