• Attorneys battle in stand your ground case involving felon who shot neighbor


    ORLANDO, Fla. - A stand your ground case involving a convicted felon continues Tuesday in Orange County.

    Convicted felon Corey Thomas is accused of shooting and killing his neighbor more than a year and a half ago, but the defense team is arguing the shooting was in self-defense.

    Being a convicted felon, Thomas is not legally allowed to have a gun, but his attorneys said he was protecting his family when he shot and killed his neighbor, Osceola County corrections officer Parris Williams, in 2011.

    Authorities said Williams, too, was armed, and he shot Thomas in the arm but died after suffering gunshots to the chest and face.

    In court on Tuesday, Thomas' attorney quoted a rap lyric by Ice Cube in his opening statements that basically said it was either pull the trigger and face trial or get shot to death himself.

    Of course, prosecutors don't agree.

    "The bullet went in. He shot again, getting him in the mouth. He shot again, getting him in the chest," said prosecutors.

    Opening statements were dramatic, with prosecutors describing Thomas as an angry, cold-blooded killer.

    But defense attorneys are trying to show Thomas grabbed a gun for protection.

    "(He used a gun) for protection of his family and of himself and to get this 300-pound behemoth of a man out of his yard," said defense attorney Carlus Haynes.

    Thomas' attorneys said Williams was armed and making threats, and Thomas had to take action.

    "Mr. Parris Williams is dead because he brought two guns into Mr. Corey Thomas' yard, two guns to an argument," said Haynes.

    One critical issue will be determining whether or not, as a felon, Thomas had the right to arm himself, even if he thought he was protecting himself and his family.

    There was some conflicting testimony Tuesday afternoon about whether Thomas made death threats against Williams or his father earlier that day.

    The trial is expected to go until the end of the week.

    Surveillance video shows Williams getting out of a U-Haul truck a few minutes before the shooting. Minutes later, it appears Williams was arguing with Thomas and others near the street.

    Thomas was angry, believing someone in Williams' family called police to his home claiming they were drug dealers, authorities said.

    Defense attorneys claim Williams struck the suspect's mother and that he reached into his waist for a gun, making threats, which is when Thomas ran into his house to get the gun.

    The video shows Thomas move forward with the gun and shoot Williams, authorities said.

    Prosecutors said Thomas was angry because Williams disrespected his mother.

    Williams was armed with two handguns at the time he was shot, and he managed to fire a shot back.

    Attorneys for Thomas said the feud between families goes back 30 years, and they plan to argue it as a stand your ground case.

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    Attorneys battle in stand your ground case involving felon who shot neighbor