Friday, May 24, 2013

The Michael Lindsay Brief

On the twenty-seventh day of July, 2018 Mike Lindsey was at his home of Pearl, Rankin County Mississippi. 

According to the police report made by officer Hugh Johnson, David Knapp, a 261 pound male, 32 years old came to Michael's home armed with beer bottles. Knapp was Michael's neighbor, accompanied by his girlfriend Shannon Few and another neighbor's son, Steven Booth.He banged on the Defendants door, calling him, shouting "I am going to kick the mother fucker's ass" to. He called Mike Lindsey to come outside. 

Michael came outside. From this point on, I do not know what the facts are. I do not know what happened, who struck who first, what was said or what the fight was about. What I do know is that David Knapp broke one of the bottles over the Michaels head, and started stabbing him in the face with the broken bottle. 

After Knapp gravely assaulted Lindsay, Lindsay begged someone to call 911. His roomate Reggie Tisdale refused to call 911, according to a witness, because he did not want anyone to go to jail. 

The Defendant Lindsay went into his home to retrieve a phone to call 911. Bleeding, and unable to find his phone, he knew that he had to get medical attention.

Lindsay grabbed a kitchen knife, and went back outside. Lindsay thought Knapp attacked his roommate as well. He was injured pretty badly at this point, so I do not know how clear Lindsay's thinking was at the time. The fight started anew. Again, I do not know who assaulted who first this time around. Lindsay stabbed Knapp one single time in the side. Knapp did not survive his injuries, he died soon after. 

Knapp was much younger, larger and stronger than Lindsay. The altercation happened outside, and still on Lindsay's property which means, pursuant M.C.A. § 97-3-15.  Lindsay had the right to stand his ground. Lindsay had no duty to retreat. 

I learned of this case from Bill Windsor's Documentary Film, Lawless America. I was told, that these images of Lindsay stabbed, beaten and bloody were taken by the police. 

The Prosecution hid these images. They were not released, the jury never saw them, and Lindsay was convicted of manslaughter. He is now serving a twenty year prison sentence. 

The State's position is that Lindsay should have stayed in his home. He should not have come back onto the patio to fight the assailant. Self defense means that a person should use just enough force, and no more than necessary, to protect themselves from a life threatening situation. The laws on self defense vary from one state to another. You are allowed to use reasonable physical force to protect yourself from imminent physical injury.  You can only use that physical force to stop the threat of harm. 

From the legal perspective, when Lindsay was in the house, he was not in imminent danger anymore. Some states, like Mississippi, have Castle laws. These laws don't require you to retreat if you're in your home and an intruder threatens serious bodily injury or death. You're allowed to use deadly force to "protect your castle."

Lindsay's property (house, patio,front yard, driveway) are all his Castle. It follows, that he should not have been expected to retreat. (an argument never presented to the jury) Moreover, he had reasonable fear that Knapp would harm his roommate. 

What we know about Knapp is that he was a big man, a convicted felon and already assaulted Lindsay. One stab wound in the side, is not enough to tell me that Lindsay desired Knapp's death. He wanted to disable Knapp, preventing Knapp, who was still on his property, from causing further harm to himself or his roommate. 
Michael Lindsay Bottle Attack

What bothers me about this case is that the jury did not see Lindsay's photographs, and did not consider the doctrine that Lindsay had the right to stand his ground. Personally - I would have stayed in the house. But, when your roommate and lifelong friend is in the altercation as well, I might have reacted the same way Lindsay did. I am a very non-violent person, but when loved ones are involved it does change things. 

Lets juxtapose this case with a similar one from Oklahoma. In 2009, pharmacist Jerome Ersland was working at the store he owned, Reliable Pharmacy when a few teenagers came in to rob him. Ersland pulled out a gun and shot the 16 year old Antwun Parker in the head.

Ersland left the store looking for the other kids. He could not find them, so he returned to the store. Parker was laying on the floor. Jerome Ersland went behind the counter, grabbed another gun, and shot Parker a few more times.

Jerome Ersland thought that he would get a manslaughter charge. The jury did not see it that way, they convicted him of murder.

I have never had a teenager hold a gun to my head, but I can only imagine how frightening it must be. This leads me to wonder whether fear motivates people to take things too far. Lindsay left the 'safety' of his house, stabbing his attacker because he was afraid. Ersland's body was raging with adrenaline after several kids try to rob him. It is easy to understand.

I found the following YT video discussing the case. I have to admit, I completely agree with her argument on this Ersland case.

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