There is something a touch confusing when a jury grasps for a perverted principle, despite actual justice staring it in the eyes and introducing itself by waving both scales.
Please imagine that you were one of the jurors confronted with a case in which a man had shot an escort dead in 2009.
Yes, he’d found her on Craigslist, but don’t let that color your judgment.
He claimed that she’d taken his $150, but didn’t have sex with him. He admitted that he asked her nicely: “Can we get the show on the road?”
Sadly, she didn’t show.
Instead, she wandered around his apartment for a little while and then said she had to pop out to chat with her driver. Who was, possibly, not merely her driver.
Ezekiel Gilbert says he tried to reason with the driver, who wouldn’t bend.
So Gilbert went back into his house, got his AK-47 and reasoned a different way: he shot into the car.
He hit the woman in the neck. She was paralyzed and died seven months later.
Oh, of course he didn’t mean to kill her. He says he was just aiming at the tires, though he did shoot multiple times with his AK and somehow, well, you know, those AKs.
He was just trying to recover stolen property.
He was clearly the subject of a home robbery. It’s sharp as day. More precisely, sharp as night.
Because the incident happened in the hours of darkness, Gilbert had the fulsome legal right to get his stolen goods back with “deadly force.” Allegedly.
Did he shout for help? Did he rush to his neighbors to seek assistance? No he didn’t. Perhaps he needed to clean his gun.
Perhaps I forgot to mention that this was Texas. There, you see, they have principles.
And it’s quite clear that Gilbert was only trying to get stolen property back. (Which I believe refers to the $150, rather than any parts of the woman’s body.)
As the San Antonio Express-News reports, the jury completely sympathized with the pain of having money stolen in your own home.
It acquitted him on Wednesday of murdering Leonora Ivie Frago.
Lone Star law — or, perhaps, lore — says that you can use “deadly force” if someone is thieving your “tangible” or “movable” possessions at night.
Yes, indeedy. If Gilbert had arranged for a day call, does that mean he may not have been able to legally shoot and kill Frago?
Mercifully, night had set in. Darkness presumably triggers the law of the Texas jungle.
Think Progress reports that a detective told the Express-News that Gilbert had never mentioned theft when interviewed by police.
Once he was acquitted, Gilbert thanked God and his attorneys (I am not sure in which order). Prosecutors were oddly bemused that their arguments fell on deaf Texan ears.
They tried to remind the jury that this law had been invented for upstanding humans who weren’t in the act of breaking any laws.
Why did they even try?
The very sprightly defense lawyers offered that this wasn’t prostitution at all. It was merely a thieving scam.
In which case, darkness having fallen, the prostitute/non-prostitute could fall too.
I’d like to extrapolate from this slightly odd outcome.
If you request that an electrician comes at night to your house to fix your flickering light bulb and, though he says he fixed it, it starts flickering again, can you shoot him if he doesn’t give you your money back?
In Texas, that is.
Gilbert, like any righteous God-fearing Craigslist-scourer, explained that he had actually been the victim.
He told the Express-News: “I’ve been in a mental prison the past four years of my life. I have nightmares. If I see guns on TV where people are getting killed, I change the channel.”
Some might be surprised that there isn’t a law in Texas preventing you from changing the channel when guns are displayed.
It’s odd that the jury didn’t wonder that shooting someone and causing their death might not require some sort of sanction. A rap on the knuckles, perhaps.
Didn’t anyone mutter that perhaps Gilbert deserved to at least be handcuffed to a bed, a studded dog-collar around his neck and whipped mercilessly for at least 24 hours?
Or doesn’t that sort of thing ever happen in Texas?
Image: Fox San Antonio/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk