• Man claims neighbors' shooting deaths were case of 'Stand your Ground'


    TITUSVILLE, Fla. - Attorneys for a Titusville man charged with killing of two neighbors and the attempted murder of a third neighbor said it's a case of "stand your ground."

    William Woodward's attorneys said their client feared for his and his family's safety during the Labor Day weekend incident in 2012.

    Prosecutors said Woodward left his house, crossed the street, and fired 31 rounds, killing two of his unarmed neighbors, Gary Hembree and Roger Picior.

    Prosecutors said a third victim would have met the same fate, but Woodward ran out of ammunition.

    Woodward's attorneys talked about a history of threats between the victims that Woodward said escalated just hours before the shooting.

    They said the threats included arson and assaulting Woodward's then-12-year-old daughter.

    At one point, Woodward's attorneys said their client heard what he believed to be gunshots, and said Woodward heard one of the victims in the case say, "Let's end this. All four of us."

    "He comes from around the corner, shooting, which he had every right to do, because they had the intention of committing a forcible felony," said defense attorney Robert Berry.

    Prosecutors want to know why Woodward didn't call police when he heard the threats from his neighbors.

    Bruce Timothy Blake, who survived being shot 11 times in the incident, testified in court Monday.

    Proscecutors said the only reason Blake survived was because Woodward ran out of bullets.

    Blake said he and Woodward were once friends, but that changed after woodward accused one of his alleged victims of theft.

    "There was words exchanged almost every day," Blake said in court.

    Prosecutors said after obscenities and taunts were yelled one day, things escalated.

    "Notwithstanding  that, does the defendant get to leave his  own property , cross a public street  onto the private property of the victim, shoot that victim, continue on down the street to the next property where  he shoots  two new victims?" assistant state attorney Gary Beatty asked.

    "I seen Roger fall,  or I thought he bent down to pick up something, then when I looked up that's when I seen Billy pointing the gun at me," Blake said.

    Prosecutors said some of the defendant's first words to police call the defense's argument into question.

    "He describes them as his prey, to the officer. That's why he stalked them," Beatty said.




    Channel 9's Melonie Holt will have details on Eyewitness News at 5.

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