Manslaughter is a crime that is unjustified, inexcusable, and the intentional killing of a human being, whether it be involuntary or voluntary. This is the criminal charge that Adrian Crump from Jacksonville, Florida had to face. He shot a 15-year-old boy, around 2 in the morning, who was driving around shooting rocks from a slingshot. Adrian heard a noise in his home and thought it was a gunshot. He got up and checked it out, then went back inside and grabbed his gun as well as getting dressed. He then got in his car and pulled up behind the offender’s car, and shot the boy because he put his hands down, and he said he thought the kid was reaching for a gun. During the trial the prosecutor and defense team brought up the two sides of the story. We were asked how we felt about the trial and how we would find him. I took into consideration Adrian’s motivation or intention, self-defense, the witness’ statements, and crimes going on around the city.
In the courthouse Adrian wore his navy uniform, even though at the time he was living as a civilian. I looked at his appearance because it showed his personality. For me it conveyed, a respectable and responsible citizen, which was a good move on the defense team. Along with his family, 4 kids and a wife, it would make it hard for a jury to convict him as a criminal. Since all those factors were in his favor, it is hard to see that man as a criminal.
During the trial, the prosecutor asked some witnesses to come take the stand. First was a young boy that was in the car with Danny, and he was asked if Danny’s hands were down? The witness answered no. Then the defense asked the witness if they were paying attention to Adrian, he answered yes. That was very hypocritical of the witness, because you can’t watch the man with a gun and your friend at the same time. Even if this child did it would be hard for him to remember exact details because of the traumatic event. Next the prosecutor brought up the medical examiner, who testified that the autopsy was inclusive. Which did not favor the state’s position. These witnesses did not help provide the state with a case. This also made it hard for me to find someone guilty when we don’t have many facts on the board.
I know that Adrian made a big choice by getting off his property and chasing down someone, but it is not illegal for someone to do that in Florida. This means he broke no laws when he made that choice. I also think he was not just doing it for himself but his neighbor, who had been a victim of vandalism a couple days prior to this. The neighbor along with Adrian and his family are black Americans, who lived in a white dominated neighborhood; I think he was trying to protect all his neighbors.
I look at the position of Danny’s hand as a crucial point for the case. According to Adrian, Danny had put his hands down. With the circumstances of “hearing a gun shot,” and then having someone reach down, I do believe that he thought Danny had a gun. I know I would have shot first, especially if it was my life or someone else’s. I am going to save mine before anything else. Now I probably could not have killed him but that is because I have no experience with a gun, while Adrian has military experience and has been taught to kill. I think that self-defense is a big part in this case for me. Some times it is hard to believe but I just put myself in his shoes and it was easy for me to decide, especially along with the circumstances. Right now it is easy to say I would shoot someone in self-defense, especially if it was a kid, but kids think they are older then they really are, and are capable of a lot more. I cherish my life so I would try and keep it.
Also Adrian pointed out if he had acted out of anger he would have used all 6 rounds in his gun. He also could have shot him multiple times but shot him only once. He even called 9-1-1 after he shot the kid, to get him help. This helped me decide what his intention was when he went out there.
Continuing on with evidence, I looked at the fact there was an increase in crime among the youths in Jacksonville. Danny’s mom had a suspicion of what her son was of participating in. He had been suspended from school, and burglarized several homes including getting caught by the police. Then her car keys go missing that night, I would suspect that he may take part in some illegal late night activities, even if it was just late night joy riding. I am not a mother yet but if I was his mother, even though it would be hard I would have to take some responsibility for his actions, since I didn’t question or look harder for my keys that night. With that idea I think I would maybe even blame myself a little for my child’s death. I know that I might act differently if I am put in that situation but there is so much against her son.
As a citizen of the city of Jacksonville, Florida I would take into consideration the crimes that are occurring around me. This poor guy was a victim of a crime, and even though it was not a serious crime, it was a crime and he was a victim. The kids that are part-taking in crimes of vandalism and other more serious crimes are also running the risk of being victims themselves. Other people may try to protect their property too, and someone else may be hurt. That is the risk criminals’ take.
With the evidence that was presented at the trial, and the circumstances that I discovered within the film, I came to the verdict of innocent for Adrian. I believe he did not intend to hurt the child, just scare him, but when he thought his life was threatened he reacted. I also think he is also the kind of man that is going to live with the guilt of killing that child for the rest of his life.