Phillip Walker Sailors, 69, has been charged with malice murder in the killing of Rodrigo Abad Diaz, a 22-year-old Latino man who mistakenly pulled into his driveway due to faulty GPS directions. Phillips Sailors’ lawyers claim their client shot the young man because he felt threatened.
Phillips Sailors’ lawyers may be gearing up to use Georgia’s “stand your ground law” as part of their defense.
According to his lawyer, Phillip Sailors was a frightened retiree who fired his .22 revolver at Rodrigo Diaz because he feared for his life.
But Diaz’s girlfriend painted a more menacing imagine of Sailors as a elderly vigilante who shot without asking questions. According to Angie Rebolledo, after he shot Diaz, the 69-year-old Vietnam vet pointed the gun at her.
The couple, accompanied by two other friends, had pulled into Sailors’ driveway by mistake, thinking it was the home of another friend. The group had planned to go ice skating.
Rebolledo, 17, was sitting next to her boyfriend in the front seat when he was struck in the side of the head. As she tended to Diaz, she said Sailors showed no remorse and offered no assistance.
Phillip Sailors’ lawyers argue their client shot and killed Diaz because he “thought he was going to get run down.” But the police report indicates that the vehicle was leaving Sailors’ property when Diaz was shot.
Phillip Sailor’s lawyers may be preparing to defend their client with Georgia’s ‘stand your ground law,’ a law similar to the one used by George Zimmerman’s defense team in the Trayvon Martín case.
‘Stand your ground’ laws were introduced in Georgia for more than a century ago.
Georgia’s Supreme Court wrote in 1898 — and many times since — there is no requirement that a victim of an attack first try to escape before using deadly force to stop an aggressor, the Atlanta Journal Constitution point out.
*This post has been updated since it was originally published.