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Is this Florida's next 'Stand your Ground' case?

  • On January 16, gunshots rang out in an Orlando neighborhood, and a 21-year-old man is dead. Was it murder or self-defense?
  • Claudius Smith has been charged with second-degree murder, but he claims it was self-defense
Is this Florida's next 'Stand your Ground' case?
On January 16, gunshots rang out in an Orlando neighborhood. Someone called 911, and a black male was seen jumping over a fence and running away from the scene, according to a police report. 
When police arrived, they found 21-year-old Ricardo Sanes lying on his back, dead. There were six bullet casings around his body. The early reports, which HLN obtained, say Sanes "suffered at least two gunshot wounds, one to his upper back and one to the back of the neck."  
Claudius Smith has been charged with second-degree murder with a firearm. Smith told police it was self-defense. 
According to police reports, Smith's arrest came after his younger sister, Artisyor Matthews, went to police and told them that her brother had shot and possibly killed someone. Matthews told police that Smith found someone trying to break into his house and he shot and possibly killed that person.
According to Matthews, Smith and his girlfriend left the area after the shooting, and they called her asking for help and "a ride out of the area." Matthews picked them up and dropped them off at her apartment. Matthews then drove to the police station to report what she knew. The police report states that the authorities then went to Matthews' apartment and brought Smith and his girlfriend in for questioning.
According to the affidavit, Smith's girlfriend of two years, Angela Kemraj, described to police the beginnings of an apparent attempted robbery.
She said her house had "several video surveillance cameras" outside with monitors inside the home. She said she saw on one of the monitors "an unknown male in dark clothing and a hooded sweatshirt walking in their yard."
Kemraj told police she then looked out a window and "saw the male climbing over a wooden fence across from their house into the nearby apartment complex." She told Smith, and he said to lock the doors and he went out of the house.
Kemraj told police she was "fairly certain" that Smith was armed, because he had a concealed firearms permit and "is often armed while at the house." She said she saw Smith climb the same fence, and then -- less than two minutes later -- she heard multiple gunshots. According to the police report, Smith returned home and told Kemraj that the person she'd seen had tried to rob him. Kemraj said Smith was "visibly upset and began vomiting." She told police Smith said they needed to leave the area, so they left and then called Matthews.
When Smith was taken to the station, he said he was nauseated and had stomach pains. He was taken to the hospital, where he asked for an attorney before telling the police the shooting was self-defense. He did make a statement to police without a lawyer present, but that statement has not been released.
When the medical examiners began their investigation, they found a handgun concealed in Sanes' pants. But the police report states that "the firearm was found deep enough down in the victim's pants where it was obvious it was never produced during the shooting."
Follow Rich Dool on Twitter @RichDool.

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