A Miami man is claiming Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law excuses his actions after he followed his unarmed ex-girlfriend into the women’s restroom at a local Denny’s and shot her in the face.
Sean Barnes, the accused gunman, is asking the judge to dismiss his case because he was in fear of his life at the time of the shooting and was acting in self-defense. Barnes claims that the night he followed his former girlfriend Brooke Tuchinksy into the women’s bathroom, he saw her “grab a shiny object.” So he did the only thing he could: he shot her in the face.
Tuchinsky lived through the vicious attack that occurred in August 2013 and is set to testify against Barnes on Wednesday.
The two were in the midst of a bitter break-up and just days before the attack Barnes had threatened Tuchinsky with gun violence.
I bought a new gun and would love to use it on you and make it look like an accident or self-defense.
“Stand Your Ground” became the law of the land in Florida in 2005. According to The Herald, the controversial law has been criticized for “fostering trigger-happy vigilante justice and giving killers a way to beat murder charges. The law eliminated a citizen’s duty to retreat before resorting to using deadly force. It also gave judges — before the case is ever heard by a jury — greater leeway to grant ‘immunity’ to someone they find acted in self-defense.”
Barnes is trying to convince the court that Tuchinsky was unhinged and had a history of being violent and unpredictable. Court records show that they had both taken out restraining orders on one another. Barnes says that she stalked him, set his porch furniture on fire, hacked his Facebook account, and harassed him until he changed his phone number 10 times.
For some unknown reason, the two decided to meet up at Denny’s. It didn’t take long for their interaction to go south and employees had to separate the two because their argument had gotten so heated. Tuchinsky then left the restaurant but returned a short time later. Barnes maintains that she threatened him before going into the restroom, but she claims that she did no such thing and simply needed to use the ladies room.
“His defense does not outline exactly what the threat was,” wrote David Ovalle in The Herald, “or why Barnes, if he felt threatened, did not leave the restaurant or stay at the table.”
Rather than keep his distance, Barnes decided to follow Tuchinsky into the women’s restroom and shot her in the face.
“Barnes pushed open the door with a crazy look on his face and he shot her,” says a police report from the night of the shooting. “Tuchinsky advised that she was not armed with any weapons and did not know why Barnes shot her in the face.”
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Featured image via ABC screen capture