Some exceptions to Arizona's self-defense laws exist. For instance, the defender must not have provoked the fight.

In general, juries are very sympathetic to self-defense cases, he says. With an armed-robbery defendant, "the jury looks over at you with hatred in their eyes. It's something they can't identify with."

But in a homicide with a self-defense claim, "they're very open to hearing what this is all about. Jurors would be scared to death if that happened to them."

New Times explored the burden-of-proof change in detail in a March 11, 2010, cover story ("Shoot to Kill") about the legal odyssey of Roger Garfield, owner of a Phoenix antiques store who shot and killed Bobby Cain, a transient who'd been hassling him inside his business.

The 2006 shooting case hinged on the testimony of numerous witnesses inside the store who pegged Garfield as a hothead who'd had problems with Cain previously and didn't need to shoot him. Garfield claimed Cain had threatened to kill him and had stalked him for months near the store at Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road. In their final confrontation, he said, Cain approached him menacingly. He felt Cain had him trapped and would overpower him, he said in a 2010 interview.

Garfield, convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in prison, was released that October and granted a new trial based on the 2006 standard that puts the burden of proof on prosecutors. Because of this retroactive provision, he's been free since, awaiting a retrial that's been delayed several times and is scheduled for December.

For his part, former County Attorney Rick Romley says he'd prefer Arizona laws rolled back to what they were before the 2000s. Back then, the clause that legitimate defenders had "no duty to retreat" couldn't be applied unless the shooter faced a threat of "imminent serious physical injury," Romley says.

As the law is now, there's no real downside to sticking around if someone threatens you, even if you're in a vehicle, because of the presumption of self-defense if someone tries to enter that automobile, he says.

"We've somewhat turned into a macho society," Romley says. The current self-defense laws "almost entice that type of mentality," he argues.

On the night of January 29, 2008, in North Phoenix, just a few miles from Appleton's fatal confrontation with Pearson three years later, the "macho" mentality Romley describes manifested itself in horrifying fashion.

John Chester Stuart, then 49, had been putting up Ron Paul campaign signs that day with his girlfriend, Cindy Cantrell, and they were on their way home. Orville "Tom" Beasley and his wife, Rebecca, had been at a golf tournament and a bar. Beasley was drunk; an autopsy later showed that he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.19.

Stuart and Beasley exhibited road rage when they encountered each other along Pinnacle Peak Road, a Phoenix police report shows. As is often the case, the origin of the fight isn't clear, but Stuart apparently thought Beasley was driving too slowly, and Beasley had flashed his high beams at Stuart when he passed. While stopped at a red light at the Tatum Boulevard intersection, Beasley rolled down his window and the two exchanged insults.

After the light changed, Stuart maneuvered his SUV (a Toyota FJ Cruiser, like Appleton's) into the path of Beasley's Isuzu. Beasley got out and approached Stuart's vehicle. That's the point at which witnesses' accounts vary.

Rebecca Beasley says her husband was shot while walking toward the Toyota. Stuart's girlfriend, Cantrell, says Beasley made it to the Toyota screaming, "I'm gonna kick your ass . . . You're going to die." Beasley reached into their vehicle, poking and hitting Stuart, she told a Phoenix Police Department detective.

Several other witnesses claimed to have seen one or both Beasley's arms in the Toyota. Still more witnesses told police that Beasley was shot in the head a few feet from the Toyota, while holding up his hands. Stuart didn't help his case by driving away from the scene. When he was arrested a short time later, police saw no marks that would suggest he'd been attacked.

Stuart represented himself during a November 2011 trial on charges of second-degree murder, managing to achieve a mistrial when the jury couldn't agree whether the slaying had been justified. Montgomery's office tried again, and a new jury on September 3 found Stuart guilty on the two counts.

Despite the lack of injury to Stuart, it's easy to see how the outcome of the criminal case — if one even would've been launched — could've been quite different if Cantrell and Stuart were the only surviving witnesses.


David Appleton looks frail when he walks into a coffee shop to talk to New Times, holding his shaking right arm at an angle across his chest. The shaking almost never stops during the interview. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease last year — he says his doctor told him that he probably was destined to get it but that it may have been triggered by the extreme stress of the shooting.

"Please mention that I pray for the [Pearson] family," Appleton says.

But he wants the public to know that he, too, has suffered because of the November 2011 incident. A divorced single man, he sold his home to pay legal bills and now rents a house in Phoenix.

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139 comments
hotnpm1958
hotnpm1958

Yes,justice where is it .I like to know too 

hotnpm1958
hotnpm1958

I feel if a story is gonna be told that the story should be told the truth , not get a story then add or take away or lie about it ,or word it  the way it sounds better to them. Wow ! Not even tryin to make a point that an innocent man ,a good ,caring man was shot and killed by don for no reason, and looks like he's getting away with murder not only the fact that he murdered a man, but held a gun threathened to shoot the girlfriend if she didn't turn the car off ,when only she wanted to take him to the hospital "TO SAVE HIS LIVE"  why wasn't that mentioned ?  There was no reason for Daniel Morales to have his life taken , an altercation ,yes which was started by an evil minded monster Don Purse Jr. he stopped us from leaving quietly and blocked us off  Daniel put  the car in park got out walked over to where Don was sitting with his truck door opened with his mirror running ,at that , they were struggling with the gun as I got out of the car passed the driver door that daniel left open I seen daniel left elbow hit sons right hand that he held the gun ,on shot fired missed Danny  I crossed tried to scream please don't shoot him , but I couldn't no mattered how hard I tried to say it when I saw don bring the gun put it to Danny stomach  Don Purse Jr. Shot and killed Danny . The truth there it is ..why hasn't any charges been brought against let alone not even incarcerated ?  

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

      So, where's the justification to believe, that,  a lieyer, who lies, cheats and steals, for a "pro-fession,"  is, telling the truth; especially, given his track record, of, previous, roadrages...???           I do notice, the comments, about believing the lieyer, have, dried up, but, I'll bet, the DA, will still, aid and abet the, ,roadrager.             Maybe, with lieyers, spinning their tales, they can just, shoot anybody, who disagrees with them.            Then we won't need courts, and, juries, and, of course; brain dead judges.. . After all, then, we'll only need the lieyers' word,  for, population control.   Also, where's the picture of the lieyer ???                             So, what are you, men, or, mice; squeek up..???... Edgar...

sirandyinga
sirandyinga

It was OK for Cordell Jude to sit in a car and shoot someone because he is black.

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

My message, is long and, rambling, as, adjudicated, by another, third grade, Nobel laureate, of course, without explanation, as to, what, non basis, such, judgement, has, not, been, long and rambling enough, to, explain...   Edgrrr...

_McShyster_
_McShyster_

 *** Gun Coward Shoots Teenage Girl Seeking Help ***

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. -- It was shortly before 1 a.m. Nov. 2 and Renisha McBride was involved in an accident with a parked vehicle in Detroit.

More than two hours later and six blocks away, she was shot in the face by a man who told police he thought someone was breaking into his Dearborn Heights home. The 54-year-old homeowner, according to police, said his 12-gauge shotgun discharged accidentally.


drdarrow
drdarrow

The legality of "loaded" guns, combined with the screwy burden of proof provisions seen to be why this goes over the edge. It's a recipe for carnage, given the attitudes and emotional state of most of the people on the roads these days. If it's illegal to have the gun in your car loaded, it will cut down on this. People will still do it, but it will discourage much of it. When there's no time to load the firearm, fewer of these confrontations will end in death for one of the combatants.

loaded firearms in vehicles was strict prohibited when I lived in Wyoming, almost a more ardent gun culture than ours. (It may be legal now, I have no Idea.) Almost all of the folks I knew were armed, but frowned on this almost as much as they frowned on firing across a deserted highway, which, surprisingly, was held in great contempt. 

olsonandko
olsonandko

The instant you stick your hand into the car of another person, you have violated the personal space of that person.  It is no different than a home invasion.  Pearson committed suicide.


edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

And, if, it was not the intent of the lieyer, to play, judge and, jury, he would have had a Smith and Wesson sticker on his car window, and, had the window, rolled up... and, waved his gun, around, to show, that,   HE COULD DEFEND HIMSELF, SO, IF, BEING A LIEYER, ABOVE THE LAW, WAS NOT, HIS INTENT, THEN, WHY DID HE CONTINUE, GOADING THE GUY, IF NOT, BECAUSE OF HIS OBVIOUS, INTENT; AS IN, THE FACTS, SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES; PROOF OF WHICH, COULD BE DETERMINED, AT LEAST AS TO INTENT TO COVER UP, LIEYER, CULPABILITY...  AND, THAT, REQUIRES NO PSYCHIC, REMOTE VIEWING.  DNA, SHOULD, PROVE, WHO, BROKE A FINGERNAIL, AND, WHO, TORE AT THE SHIRT; TO, IN MY ESTIMATE, BASED UPON THE LIZARDS AT LAW, CLUB, COVERING FOR, ONE OF THEIR CHAMELEONS, show, that, if, the lieyer, staged his own defense, by breaking his own nail, and, tore at his own shirt; that, of, his intent, by his own, coverup,  as to his motive, or, not...  No investigation, when techniqwues, exist, tacitly proves, that the lieyers, are above the law, and, the hell with us; to which, I take serious exception; for, I believe we should kill, all the lieyers; and, in any such soap operas, automatically, deem the lieyer, to be the criminal; who, just like us, is, guilty, until, proven, otherwise...   AND, AS TO THE SNIDE REMARK, THAT i MUST THINK, i'M PSYCHIC; HARDLY, WITH MORE THAN ENOUGH FACTS TO WARRANT, AN INVESTIGATION; go ahead, and, add up the answers, opf the "psychics."  I say, the lieyer, deliberately goaded the man, with, intent, to do, what, got done, and, that, homicidal, moron, is, no posterchild, for, our, Second Amendment... and, should be tried, in a court of law, if, such a court, can be found...  Edgrrr...   

MGM5
MGM5

I think the bottom line here is that had a gun not been involved there might have been a fistfight but chances are nobody would have died. We know by his record that Appleton was prone to road rage. He might have been a little meeker, a little less aggressive behind the wheel had he not been armed. He might not have pulled over and everyone gets home for dinner. Road rage is a bad idea but it's a constant in todays frazzled America. In a car we're semi anonymous, which leads to an inflated sense of power and ego in some of us. But you never know who you're dealing with when you flip someone the bird. I'm not suggesting victimhood here, just common sense.     

lennygarbo
lennygarbo

The years are taking a toll on my memory, but I think I might've shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

tom_stratford
tom_stratford

Here in Florida, you reach into an occupied vehicle and assault the driver/occupant you commit a felony assault, which at least here is defendable by the use of deadly force...CASE CLOSED!

speedbaser
speedbaser

At least get your facts straight about Trayvon Martin. It was not Arizona ice tea, it was Arizona watermelon juice drink & Skittles, which when combined with cough syrup make a ghetto drug concoction known as DXM. As for Trayvon's attack on Zimmerman, the testimony on the stand by his friend Rachael Jeantel, who was on the phone with him at the time, tells us all we need to know. She told him to go inside his dad's place he was standing outside of, but he doubled back because he believed he was going to jump from behind & attack an unarmed gay man, AKA "creepy asscracker". You know that an asscracker is a gay man, don't you?

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

@_McShyster_ Nervous folks should not have hair trigger, guns.  The hair and, trigger, belongs on and in your head...   Edgrrr...

sirandyinga
sirandyinga

@_McShyster_ Why did she leave the scene twice after people called 911? What was she doing for 2 hours after the accident?


edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

@drdarrow       All homes and cars should have, decals, that,  the owners, belong to the "Russian Roulette, Club,"  so that, deathwishers, picking fights, can guess, which house, or, car, carries the bullet, with their name on it...       That should, knock off the roadragers...       Edgrrr...            Hard to believe that, gunshops, are not, selling such, placards... and, decals...  Great, advertising...  Walther, PPKS Club...

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@drdarrow  

There are hundreds of thousands of responsible gun owners driving with loaded guns every day.   There are a few crazy people who shoot people for no reason, and they are almost entirely from that same group that would ignore the law, but there are statistically MORE people who avoid becoming victims because they have the legal means to protect themselves.  The police cannot, and legally have no responsibility to, protect you from  violent criminals.  They take the report and try to catch the bad guy so he won't do it again.

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

               We know nothing, and, are expected to take a lieyers' word, for, it ???  What turnip truck did you, fall, out of ???  There's no way, the killer, would get free, of a wrist hold, by, a rodeo, rider.  Have you seen them, hang onto the reins, with, just one, hand, atop a bucking, 2,000 pound, bull ???  And, you believe, the lieyers' alibi; considering, his subliminal confession, as to how big, the hand was, that, spanned his neck, allegedly; another, lie, as evidenced, by, the cop, who stated, there were, no marks, on the lieyers' neck... what, about, marks, on his wrists, from the steel grip, of a rodeo rider...???   Then, there's your flaky D.A. who conceals, exculpatory evidence, as well as, damning, evidence, to, get to preconcieved, results; laundering, lieyers' above the law, criminalities... and, ditto, brain dead judges, without, whose, complicities, laws, would not be twisted, and, juries, wouldn't be stacked, to, arrive at prejudicial, conclusions... slam dunks, even, before, any trials...  Who needs a court of law, when lieyers, can, investigate, themselves...???   Edgrrr...

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

@olsonandko   Eating too many turnips ???   personal space, did not exist, with an invitational, open window, and, a goading, lieyer, salivating, over, getting to murder, someone, in cold blood; after, setting up the soap opera, in the first place; as proven, by the fact, that, the deceased, could, have turned off, ...   Surely, others, who've been goaded, by  that lieyer, have come forward, with, their, experiences, with the killer, but, of course, there'll be no guarantee, that organized crime at law, wouldn't conceal, that...   Edgrrr...  And, how, would the deceased, grab the guys wrist, unless, the arm was extended, and, not, in his lap ???   Edgrrr...

marmy
marmy

@edgarlongenecker you completely ruined the comments section of this tripe of an article. You obviously don't make a living doing something that requires minimally competent reading or composition skills.

lpnerd
lpnerd

@edgarlongenecker I don't think you have enough commas in your post. Why don't you add a few more for good measure? lmao

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

@MGM5    No,,,, if ,,, there had not been a gun involved, pencilneck, wouldn't, have incited the guy to, riot... in the first place...  Why, has the victims picture been posted, whi;le, the lieyers' picture, has been conceal;ed; guilty conscience; as if, lieyers, have a conscience...???   Edgrrr...  Too bad, the thought police, let  lieyers, carry guns,

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

@tom_stratford    If, in point of fact, the guy, actually, did, what, youse guys, accept, as, gospel, coming from a lieyer, no less, and, of, course, that returns, this soapopera, back, to, the need for a, competent, investigation, as, I, previously, stated; especially, considering, thsat, as the cop, noted, there was no, neck marks, to, verify, the lieyers' story...  No mention, of course, ditto, on the mans' wrist, and, DNA results, on, the socalled, grabbed, and, pulled, shirt, and, of course, the guys,' DNA, on the fingernail, and, where,  the fingernail, gouged the guy, hard, enough, to, break off, the nail,,, and, draw, the guys' blood; or,,, not......   Competent, forensics, should, piece together, this, cold blooded, murder,,,, in,,,, Arizona...   Edgrrr...   Now, whine about, punkchewation.... to, evade, the, facts; concealed, by, the bar association, laundry, of/for, lizards at law; above the law.... 

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

@tom_stratford  Negative.... Force, with, equal, force...  which, had the lieyer,  waved his gun to show, that, he had  intent to goad the guy, and, was ready to do, mayhem, then, of course, the guy, would have backed off, or, brandished his own gun, if, he had one; and, while that wouldn't have been, all that, socially desirable, it, would have been an equal match; not, a cold blooded, lieyer, execution; as evidenced, by the concealmentv of the gun, until, preconceived, parameters, were, set up, by the lieyer, who, did what he did, because, he, orchestrated, all of it, and, had a gun, with which to get hiis sleazy  ass, out of the sling, he set up for his victim; whom, he killed, in cold blood; when, with force, meeting force; without,  his attitude, he could have fired, if need be, into the offending arm, instead of a center body, intent to kill, shot...  About twenty years, in the joint, will be, appropriate, considering, he'd probably, only have to do, a month or, two,  before, the guys, paroled,  him.........   Edgar...

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

@speedbaser   Come on; who cares, if, it was panther piss, he was drinking, when jumped, and, the buttwrenching, analysis, are,  a lame excuse, for, goading, with, intent to kill, and, contradicts, any danger, to Zimmerman;...  The truth be known that, govern   mentals, "letting,"  murder, in our streets, is for the greater, bad, of, outlawing, the Second Amendment... upon which, all rights, will, fall...    Edgrrr...

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@edgarlongenecker  

FYI, I have to stop reading your rants as soon as I come to the invented word "lieyer", which you seem to include near the beginning of each message.  If you want to communicate, learn to spell at a 3rd grade level.

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

@sonick55 @McShyster   Lieyers, are determined criminals, and, this one is, getting away with, cold blooded, murder...  thanks, to, hiding behind the Second amendment...   Edgrrr

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

@marmy @edgarlongenecker    Smarmy, "tripe of an  article,"  you claim, plus, contradictorially, enough, I've ruined, so, what, are you whining, about ???   If, it's tripe, why shouldn't it be ruined ?   And, since your evasion, is, tripe, it's great that this site, prints, comments, like mine, to, see to it that, evasions, regarding, lieyer, doublespeak, doesn't erode, due process, by, convoluting, the English language, to make lizards at law, appear credible, with, such limited, and, minimally, competent reading, or, composition, skills; as such; your, confession, of, lieyer, antics at law...  Hereafter, try not to define, anything, by lieyer, doubletalk;  that, only, shows, your, ignorance, and, contempt, for, the rule of, law...  which, apply to, lieyers, trying to get away, with, murder,; evaded, because,  the likes of you, pander to lizards at law, unconcerned, that a real person, just got, executed, and, boot lickers, like yourself, opt, to, negate the facts, yet, to be, determined, by, adequate, forensics, therefore, it is your delusion that this site, is, tripe,as, this, site, even lets' people like you, sit, in, judgement....  and, smarmy comments, like yours, do not change the facts; which, we, only, have, a lizard at laws' word, for; and, of, course those who haven't yet, learned that lieyers, lie, for a living; duping,  the likes, of,  those, smarmy guys... as proven, when, their lips are moving...   Edgrrr... 

speedbaser
speedbaser

@ray.stern @speedbaser

 The case got more complicated once more facts came out that were related to why TM wasn't in jail.

http://spectator.org/blog/54312/how-miami-school-crime-cover-policy-led-trayvon-martins-death

 Then there was the attempted frame up of GZ by prosecutor Angela Corey, trying to destroy evidence that would have resulted in the trial never happening. At least the whistle blower had the morals to report her, & the grand jury had enough sense to indict her.

 http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130702-905033.html

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

@valleynative @edgarlongenecker  And, you are so compelled, because the automatic pilot, in your head, doesn't like, my freedom of speech, and, you, being such a prejudicial, blueblood, can't lower your sleazy self, to, stay on point, regarding the cold blooded murder, whose duisposition, I, find fault with, and, you're too regal, to lower yourself, to, address; as, opposed to, whining, about, being, so compelled to stop reading....because, you don't like, my interpretation of, lizards at law; as in, lieyers...???   Good for you, you really should get your sleazy ass, off, of it, and, go get a job....   and, fyi, all, words, are, invented; especially, all those, defining, pinheads, not, unlike yourself..   When you get past your third grade, maybe, a lieyer, execution, in our streets, will be of some concern, and, be more important, than, your opinion...   Edgrrr...  If, you stop reading my rants, when you read, lieyer, which, I include, near the beginning, of each, message, how, then, do you identify, the message as a rant ?   You must be another, "society," blueblood, inbred, misfit, to, be, so privileged, that, you can pass on any writing, after, admitting that, you "have to," stop reading it... whut's yer name; Peeloosely....???   Grrr... 

sonick55
sonick55

@McShyster 
 mmmm, not so much really. I can see how it would seem so.  Just like anything you are well familiar with, it's like putting your wallet in your pocket or your watch on your wrist. Sure, it comes with special safety rules, but those become reflexive as well.  I live from the heart, i escaped anxiety and ego long ago :)

edgarlongenecker
edgarlongenecker

@olsonandko @edgarlongenecker @tom_stratford    The lieyer, knew that, if, it's so, and, goaded the guy, with, intent to kill; as you claim; within, the law...   while.... concealing,  his gun, until, he excercised, the idea, that, there's no equal force, requirement...in, Arizona....  Don't pat, anybody, on the shoulder, in Arizona, or, try to defend yourself, in Arizona.... He could have shot him in the arm, leg, or, shoulder, or, instead, of , that, just, brandished, a weapon; that is, if,  he didn't have intent to goad the guy, so, he could commit, murder, and, according to your explanation; get away with, it...  The facts, speak for themselves... from, the results, back down, to, the intent....  Fry the lieyer, for his, knowledge of, the law; there, in, Arizona....  while, Arizona, is trying to murder, Jodi Arias, for, allegedly. defending, herself; making, for sure, no equal protection, under the law, in, Arizona...    And, if, the lieyer, had, no such, intent, after goading the guy, why, did,  he, lead him, to, wherever [his own house], and, stop, with, his window, down; inviting, an enraged, person, he was guilty, of, programming, if, he had, no, such, intent...  so, as, to, commit, murder... ???    Knowledge, of, the law, is, no, excuse....anymore, than, ignorance,of, the law, is...   According to, your, observation, those who know, the law, can, commit, murder... in... Arizona....  Tell that to the dead mans'   family, and, friends, just before, the, lieyer, gets, a pat on the bac\k...   Edgrrr...

 
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