Stand-your-ground defense denied in deadly neighborhood dispute

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

The gunman accused of killing his neighbor was denied his stand-your-ground defense.

Back in July, investigators said James Gainvors shot and killed his neighbor Matt Hanson in a dispute over fireworks.

It happened on Corinne Avenue in Port Charlotte.

Gainvors said he was home with his wife and child on July 5 when Hanson was leaving in his truck.

He said Hanson noticed him looking at him through his window, and that’s when he said Hanson got out of the truck and started threatening him.

Gainvors said Hanson made an aggressive move or gesture, and that’s when Gainvors said he pulled out his gun and shot Hanson.

Gainvors and his attorneys filed a motion to allow a stand-your-ground defense, arguing that the deadly force he used against Hanson was justified under Florida law.

However, a judge denied that request, so the stand-your-ground defense is out.

“In stand-your-ground, you’re allowed to stand your ground against somebody that is coming after you or somebody else, and you’re in that area. You do not have an obligation to retreat,” said attorney Scot Goldberg. “You can return that deadly force with deadly force.”

Goldberg is not affiliated with the case but helped provide insight into what happens now.

He said that if the judge allowed a stand-your-ground defense, the burden would have fallen on prosecutors to prove it was not.

Goldberg said the defense can still argue the killing was self-defense, but the burden of proving that falls on Gainvors’ legal team.

“In a purely self-defense case, it’s going to be very fact-specific, and you have to be using the same level of violence that’s being used against you, and so if you feel, and a reasonable person agrees with you, that you were in fear for your life, and use self-defense to harm or kill the other person, you’re within your right to do that,” Goldberg said.

The memorials all over the front yard have grown since Hanson was killed in July.

Goldberg said that with the stand-your-ground defense thrown out, he expects the state attorney’s office to possibly offer a plea deal to Gainvors.

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