Thursday, June 22, 2006

We have an idiot for a State's attorney in JAX

By DANA TREEN, The Times-Union

Shorstein sides with man shot in store


He says he didn't think he could get a conviction against the shop owner who fired, thinking he was about to be robbed.

State Attorney Harry Shorstein is publicly siding with an unarmed man gunned down in a Jacksonville store last month, saying he believes his story over the owner who said he fired because he was about to be robbed.

Shorstein commented on the case just a week after deciding not to charge Murray Hill electronics store owner Doug Freeman, who shot Vincent Hudson five times May 31.

Shorstein said Tuesday he did not charge Freeman because he did not think he could get a conviction.

He said he told Hudson the same thing.

"'I believe you,'" Shorstein recalled telling Hudson. "'I don't believe him.'"

Freeman defended his actions Tuesday and said he had done nothing wrong.

"He [Shorstein] can believe all he wants," Freeman said.

Hudson told Jacksonville police he had gone into the Edgewood Avenue South store to ask for money and food and to recharge his cell phone after getting out of jail days earlier. Freeman said he had been watching Hudson and thought Hudson was going for a gun after asking for money. Freeman opened fire with a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

Hudson, who has been arrested 36 times in Jacksonville since 1997, would not have the credibility Freeman and others would have at a trial, Shorstein said.

"What we'd have is four people saying something is not criminal," Shorstein said he told Hudson. "'You are saying something that [happened] is criminal.'"

It took Shorstein two weeks to make the decision not to charge Freeman. A 2005 state law says a person can stand his ground and meet force to prevent death, great bodily harm or a forcible felony.

Hudson, who is still in the hospital recovering from the shooting, said Tuesday he respects Shorstein's decision.

"Some things we've got to live with," he said.

Hudson said he believes Freeman was trying to kill him.

"He shot me more than one time, that's what I don't understand," Hudson said. "You shoot a person five times, what are you trying to do?"

He said he was in the store for a while and talked to people inside.

"What person is going to come and tell you, 'I just got out of jail and I'm going to rob you?'"

Hudson said no one in the store asked him to leave.

When Shorstein decided not to charge Freeman, he cited the witness accounts, a bulge in Hudson's waistband, and that Hudson repeatedly asked for money.

Freeman said he believed he was in danger, called police and had already sent employees and family members to a back office.

"There was a 7-year-old child here, there was a building full of women," he said. "I would do the same thing given the same set of circumstances."

Freeman said he had been wary of Hudson who he saw looking in from outside the store. After sending the others to the back, he thought he saw Hudson reach for a gun.

"He raised every red flag he could," Freeman said.

Freeman, who told the Times-Union he shot and killed a man in self-defense 15 years ago, said he is pleased Shorstein decided not to file charges.


"What we'd have is four people saying something is not criminal," Shorstein said he told Hudson. "'You are saying something that [happened] is criminal.'"

Let me see if I can say this better.

What we've got is four people, who were witnesses, feared for their lives and will attest to thinking the store was about to be robbed, and you, the 36 time convicted criminal, are saying that you were shot for no reason. I, as the State’s Attorney, will side with you Mr. criminal!

Man if I ever have to protect my life or the life of another I sure as hell hope there's a bunch of witnesses that back up my story. Cause if there's not it looks like the criminal’s word will be what the SA will believe.

Welcome to bizzaro world.........