Jury deliberates Orange County 'stand your ground' case



ORLANDO, Fla. - The fate of an accused murderer is in the hands of an Orange County jury.

Corey Thomas shot his neighbor, Parris Williams, to death in 2011.

The shooting came after an argument escalated. Investigators said the argument stemmed from a family feud that goes back more than 20 years.

"This case was about this man feeling his mother was disrespected," said prosecutor Candra Moore.

After a weeklong trial, in closing arguments, prosecutors tried to paint a picture of Thomas as an angry man who shot and killed Williams.

Defense told jurors that Thomas pulled the trigger to protect himself and his family.

"The big guy was angry. The big guy threatened to kill him," said defense attorney Carlus Haynes.

Surveillance video showed Williams walking out of a U-Haul truck about five minutes before the shooting.

The defense pointed out the corrections officer weighed 300 pounds, and he was armed with two handguns at the time.

The video appears to show the men arguing in front of the truck.

Moments later, Thomas came forward with a gun and pulled the trigger, shooting Williams in the face.

"It was first-degree premeditated murder," said Moore.

Prosecutors argued that Thomas threatened to kill Williams four hours earlier and came back later and carried that threat out. And they said Thomas shouldn't have had a gun because he is a convicted felon.

The defense countered that his prior felony was for a traffic case, and they said Williams had a reputation for using his guns to intimidate neighbors.

They told jurors it was justified. For their client, it was either kill or be killed.

"If he just stands there, cowered in the corner, did what they (prosecutors) want you to do," said Haynes. "His mother would be dressed in black at his funeral."

Jurors began deliberations shortly before 5 p.m. Friday night. Just before 11:30 p.m. the judge sent them home and told them to return Monday morning to continue deliberations.