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Wildalaska
February 24, 2008, 02:40 AM
When does the goal of stopping end and excessive force begin? What about state of mind? Of both shooter and victim?

Good shoot or bad shoot. Remember our juries here are very pro self defense.

Killing wasn't self-defense, jury decides
7 SHOTS FIRED: Victim was high on meth, but use of gun called unnecessary.

By JAMES HALPIN
jhalpin@adn.com

(02/23/08 00:56:56)

Osaiasi Saafi pumped seven .40-caliber slugs into his cousin's abusive husband and called it self-defense. On Friday, a jury called it murder.

Saafi, 30, was convicted on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter, but the jury found him innocent of first-degree, or premeditated, murder in the death of 25-year-old Joshua Kagel, who showed up high on methamphetamine outside an Airport Heights home on a Sunday morning in August 2005, began arguing with his wife in the street and threatened to kill Saafi.

The defense maintained that Kagel's history of abuse against the family and his aggressive behavior the morning of his death warranted deadly force in response.

But prosecutors said Kagel, who had a knife but didn't pull it, was not an imminent threat.

"There is some dispute, quite frankly, about whether (Kagel) was getting ready to attack him or not," said assistant district attorney John Skidmore. "My argument was that no amount of deadly force was authorized -- not the first shot, not the seventh shot."

The state medical examiner testified that Kagel was high enough on meth to be acting aggressively and erratically, and Skidmore said during trial that Saafi had the right to defend himself. But pulling a gun and firing all but two of the bullets into Kagel's face, side and leg was unjustified against a man who did not have a gun, he said.

During the trial, defense attorney Rex Butler called Kagel a "ticking time bomb," against whom the family had repeatedly taken precautions to protect themselves, including banning him from their home, locking their doors and calling police. When he showed up with his wife to pick up their 2-year-old son, Kagel and she were arguing, and Saafi had every reason to think Kagel would explode, Butler said.

Prosecutors, though, said if this were a case of self-defense, one or two shots would have been enough to accomplish the purpose and stop Kagel. The number of shots -- combined with the fact that they were fired from a distance -- proved that this was no matter of self-defense, the prosecution claimed.

The defense responded that Saafi, overcome by a rush of adrenaline, wasn't aware how many times he was firing the gun.

The two-week trial ended early Friday afternoon, when jurors came in after two days of deliberations with their verdict. Saafi, who is facing between 10 and 99 years in prison at his May 30 sentencing, walked out of the courtroom in handcuffs without expression. Butler said he plans an appeal.

"We're disappointed that the jury came back with the murder in the second degree," Butler said. "It is self-defense. There's no question about it."

WildhopethisisintherightplaceAlaska TM

Creature
February 24, 2008, 03:12 AM
I guess because the victim had not pulled the knife he was carrying or displayed it in a threatening manner, that took the "imminent threat" factor out of the equation in the minds of the jurors...despite his being high on meth.

Mas Ayoob
February 24, 2008, 07:39 AM
Wild Alaska, where did this happen? Do you have any details on the distance involved, or how the defense tried to establish its case?

Thanks,
Mas

Kreyzhorse
February 24, 2008, 08:08 AM
Wild Alaska, where did this happen? Do you have any details on the distance involved, or how the defense tried to establish its case?


Interesting article. Here's a link directly to it.

http://www.adn.com/crime/story/323301.html

Double Naught Spy
February 24, 2008, 08:24 AM
Okay, if your folks up there are pro self defense, then they must really have believed this wasn't a good self defense shoot.

From the news article, it sounds iffy. They don't report that the deceased was hitting anybody at the time and not attempting to kill anybody at the time. He didn't even have the knife out at the time he was shot and there isn't any report that he was going for the knife at the time he was shot. Basically, he was being a loudmouth and making verbal threats what acting erratically. So from the article, it sounds like it was a pre-emptive shoot. Since Saafi wasn't an abused spouse/lover/relative of the deceased, the battered spouse defense doesn't appear to apply here either. I can't recall any 3rd party pre-emptive shoots for battered spouse defenses, but I can't imagine they would hold too much merit unless the abused was a child. This wasn't the case here.

It does sound like Saafi continued firing until the perceived threat was neutralized, however.

Tanzer
February 24, 2008, 08:35 AM
It was a fairly short article. I don't think shooting him in the face was a good idea, It kinda' gives the impression of being angry.

brickeyee
February 24, 2008, 09:49 AM
means, motive, intent.

If they are ALL not present you are going to have a problem.

odessastraight
February 24, 2008, 09:54 AM
Well, I remember WA writing about shooting people in the face before. Of course that was with his .32. Now, maybe that could be considered excessive with a .40, but I would think that the concepts of "excessive force" and ".32ACP" would certainly form an oxymoran.

ActivShootr
February 24, 2008, 10:16 AM
I don't think shooting him in the face was a good idea, It kinda' gives the impression of being angry.

+1. Also, I think the seven shots is what really did him in.

12-34hom
February 24, 2008, 10:35 AM
From what i read, bad shoot.

Seven shots, some to the face = vindictive motives. Coupled with the fact that the victim was "some distance away" does not bode well for the shooter.

That said, shooter was probably scared, victim was tweaking, recipe for what transpired.

12-34hom

Shane Tuttle
February 24, 2008, 10:35 AM
Wild Alaska, where did this happen? Do you have any details on the distance involved, or how the defense tried to establish its case?

Mas had the same thought I did. The distance between each other wasn't clear in the article. Also, it never stated the exact action that Kagel took that caused Saafi to believe that his life was about to end. In my opinion, no matter what the history of the aggressor, he/she has to display an action that if you don't fire your gun immediately, your life WILL end. The window is extremely small as far as the time when you shouldn't and when the "stars and moon align".

Hope the court of appeals sees it differently if he really did defend his or his familys' life...

Playboypenguin
February 24, 2008, 11:02 AM
From the little bit of info I can see it seems more like a revenge shoot than a defensive shoot.

It seems like the defendant had become fed up with the victim and decided to take matters into his own hands. The report makes it seem like he reacted to a threat that he "thought" would happen. That is never a good idea.

Since it happened outside the home, what kept them from simply locking the door and calling police? I see no indication that the victim was preventing anyone from going inside or trying to force his way into the home.

MWM
February 24, 2008, 11:04 AM
The three big variables: Means (non-presented knife), demonstrative motive (aggressive, drug induced behaviour), and proximity (unknown). Although this appears to be a warranted cleansing of the gene pool, I fear the shoot, by the numbers, is bad.
Perhaps, in hindsight, the situation, had it been escalated by the meth-head, would have eventually necessitated deadly force, it's use, though, at the moment of shooting, appears to be premature.
MWM

Wildalaska
February 24, 2008, 11:45 AM
Wild Alaska, where did this happen? Do you have any details on the distance involved, or how the defense tried to establish its case?

Mas it happened up here in Anchorage I havent got all the details, I only remember when vaguely when it happened.

I will try to get more info for y'all, as I have a reporter/cop connections.

If you all would be interested, I can try to call the guys attorney (who is kind of a cool dude in a Johnny Cochran type of way).


WildithinkthekeywasthedistanceAlaska TM

Shane Tuttle
February 24, 2008, 12:04 PM
Keep us posted, Ken.

At least Spacemanspiff wans't shot when found passed out on the floor...:D

PhilA
February 24, 2008, 12:12 PM
"When he showed up with his wife to pick up their 2-year-old son, Kagel and she were arguing, and Saafi had every reason to think Kagel WOULD explode, Butler said." [CAPS ADDED FOR EMPHASIS]

Without knowing more than what was originally posted, I believe this statement could be an important piece to the puzzle, in addition to the distance others have mentioned.

Speculation isn't action. Thinking someone might explode isn't a reason to use lethal force.

Edward429451
February 24, 2008, 12:30 PM
My first impression was good shoot because of the meth. FAIK and hear, methheads are super energized almost to a superhuman level, and very very unpredictable. The cousin's response may have been predicated on fear and personal knowledge of prior violent behavior of the deceased. He had to know the guy was a methhead. Aside from the meth, was there a disparity of force (big guy / little guy)?

That's my impression. Don't play games with methheads. (FBI/Miami anyone?)

Mainah
February 24, 2008, 03:30 PM
http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/12/1201_giftguide_toys/image/louisville-slugger-bat.jpg

Mas Ayoob
February 24, 2008, 04:58 PM
Ken, it would be of great interest to the discussion if his attorney could weigh in, whether directly or through you.

Exact distance, exact details of what led up to the shooting. Was he reaching for his knife when shot? Did he make a specific threat? How far is "a distance away"? How fast were the shots paced? What are the salient points of tox screen and autopsy?

Thanks running point on it, Wild Alaska.

best,
mas

bcrash15
February 24, 2008, 06:24 PM
It's hard to draw conclusions in cases like this, we'll never know the true events. Whatever the circumstances, I do not like the types of precedents something like this may generate. If people were to interpret this to mean that to shoot someone they must be holding a gun and a hair's breadth from killing you and even then you must have the presence of mind to fire just a couple bullets while taking care not to aim at their head... I don't like were it's going.

Wildalaska
February 24, 2008, 06:52 PM
Here is the docket for what its worth (it doesnt have facts, just events)


http://www.courtrecords.alaska.gov/pa/pa.urd/pamw2000.o_case_sum?35873540

Mas I'm going to see if Rex Butler will give the requested formation out, which in light of your expertise I think he will.


WildrexhasflairAlaska TM

MLeake
February 24, 2008, 07:28 PM
On a side note, when one has a recurring problem person making threats, or if one is worried about home burglaries/invasions in general, dogs are very nice to have.

My dog's bark is much worse than his bite, but he gets their attention. He also gets mine...

I'm sure most people on forum know the deterrent value of the dog's barking alerting neighbors.

I'm not too worried about problems where I live, or my gentle herding dog would be supplemented by a not so gentle Rott or similar.

Tomas
February 25, 2008, 12:33 AM
Fails "Reasonable Man" doctrine, and may fail all three - opportunity, ability, jeopardy. LFI July 07

May God have mercy on his soul, but looks like a bad shoot. I hope I'm wrong.

allenomics
March 8, 2008, 09:55 AM
I think that the distance from the assailant was probably the biggest problem for the defense.

Reading the story, it sounded like prior conduct was a factor. Too me it does not seem like that single instance alone justified killing.

Kenpo
March 8, 2008, 03:56 PM
In my opinion, no matter what the history of the aggressor, he/she has to display an action that if you don't fire your gun immediately, your life WILL end.

Of course, by that time, it is often too late.

Wildalaska
March 8, 2008, 04:32 PM
Once sentencing occurs, I can get some updates.

WildihavesavedthisthreadAlaska ™

GWbiker
March 8, 2008, 07:08 PM
IMHO, it was a "bad shoot". From what I read, there was no immediate lethal threat from the assailant against Mr. Saafi. Also, a double tap to center mass of the assailant as he was advancing to close distance, in my opinion, might have given Mr. Saafi more defense credibility than several shots to the victims face.

SLOMountaineer
March 8, 2008, 08:20 PM
Obviously the jury had access to more of the facts than we do. However, the number of shots fired and where he hit the guy have nothing to do with whether it was a good shoot or not.

By the way, if it was "at distance", the guy was a darn good shot to get head shots.

wayneinFL
March 8, 2008, 09:08 PM
Another thing to consider besides the distance from Saafi to Kagel is the distance from Kagel to the woman or the child.

Also, the number of shots and the shots in the face- he hit the legs, face, and arms. That sounds like someone was really fearful and inaccurate. It's likely it took seven shots to stop if they were that poorly placed.

If Kagel was on meth, that just makes it more likely that the seven shots were necessary.

There could be a whole pile of other actions that support the prosecution's argument however.

Shane Tuttle
March 8, 2008, 09:21 PM
My quote: In my opinion, no matter what the history of the aggressor, he/she has to display an action that if you don't fire your gun immediately, your life WILL end.

Quoted by Kenpo:Of course, by that time, it is often too late.

So, what you're saying is that you need to shoot to stop before imminent danger is at hand?

There's a fine line in time between murder and self-defense...

Kenpo
March 9, 2008, 10:48 AM
There's a fine line in time between murder and self-defense...

Agreed sir, and that is essentially what I am saying. It is much easier to gainsay someones actions after the fact. It is much less clear when you are the one standing there, dealing with a known criminal, past violent offender, high on meth, who is threatening a woman and child.

I agree, by the numbers and the letter, that this probably wasn't a "good shooting" however, I don't believe that means it wasn't necessary, needed or the right thing to do. The right thing to do will, unfortunately put you on the wrong side of the law sometimes.

A "preemptive strike" will most often put you on the wrong side of the law, but it is a tactically sound way to win and save lives. Action is always faster than reaction.

There was an incident when I lived in Southern California, during an argument a man told another man "I am going to rape your wife, you can't be with her all the time, I am going to do it." Cops were called, the threat was reported, they filed for a restraining order etc. The man who made the threat raped the other mans wife, just as he said he would, and I remember in hearing about the case that the fella made the threat before carrying it out.

So, was there any eminent danger? Not by the letter. Would the husband have been justified in eliminating the threat as soon he recognized it as one? As soon and he looked in the mans eyes and knew something was wrong?

Should a man go to prison because there is one less meth head to threaten women and children?

A fine line indeed.

Playboypenguin
March 9, 2008, 11:03 AM
Should a man go to prison because there is one less meth head to threaten women and children?
Yes, if that "meth head" was not actually posing a physical threat to his ex-wife/wife and child when he was killed, then the guy that pulled the trigger needs to spend the rest of his life in prison. There is a big difference between action to stop an immediate and real threat and acting to get rid of someone you feel is a bad person.

How many people in here have alcoholics in their family. Do you think they should be allowed to be gunned down and people should so "oh well, one less drunk in the world." I find it funny how people will decide abuse of one drug is ok but the abuse of another means you are not fit to live.

Kenpo
March 9, 2008, 11:19 AM
How many people in here have alcoholics in their family

I do, as well as some very close friends. I also have/had meth/crack heads in the family. I understand the differences very well.

Do you think they should be allowed to be gunned down and people should so "oh well, one less drunk in the world."

I don't recall ever mentioning drunks, but to answer your question, no. Of course, that doesn't have anything to do with what we are discussing. That is a bit of a red herring.

I find it funny how people will decide abuse of one drug is ok but the abuse of another means you are not fit to live.

I don't find it funny at all, in fact, I think it is quite serious. If you will go back and re-read, you will find that I never stated in any way that someone should just get rid of someone you feel is a bad person or that abuse of one drug is ok but the abuse of another means you are not fit to live. For your information, your average person who gets drunk and your average person who gets spun, are worlds apart, as is what they are capable of. But again, that is not the point, and never even inferred it. You'll also note, if you re-read, that when I asked the question, I mentioned "a meth head, with a know past of aggressive behavior, who threatens women and children - that hardly fits your red herring; just one less drunk in the world.


Back to the point; what makes a "good shoot"? As I stated previously, the law is written, and it would appear, that by the letter, this was not a good shoot. However, it is not that simple, and for those that have delt with truly violent individuals, and have experienced first hand what people on certain drugs can and will do (even those you love, who somewhere inside love you) you probably realize it is not so simple. Threat assessment, action/reaction in a violent situation, when others (women/ children) may be hurt, is much easier to pick apart after the fact. The law is ancillary to many, protecting there loved ones is first. That changes the nature of the equation.

Playboypenguin
March 9, 2008, 11:25 AM
Addiction is addiction...plain and simple. Just because one drug has more severe immediate effects is a moot point. Alcohol has just as severe an effect on the body and mind, it just works differently and can be more easily controlled. Once you cross the line from casual drinker to alcoholic your "disease" makes you no different than someone sticking a needle in their arm.

To pretend that meth has caused more violent behavior or spousal abuse than alcohol would be a really bad position to try and defend.

And if we as gun owners start executing people based on what they "might do" instead of what they are "doing" or if we even start to condone such actions by others then I fear we would then not deserve the freedom to own a gun.

Shane Tuttle
March 9, 2008, 11:27 AM
Kenpo,

I think we're in the same church, but in different pews.

To set my tone with you, I'm not angry nor trying to be combative in you response. I'm trying to convey in detail of what I think over a lousy computer and am wanting a discussion, not argument (not that I think you're trying to argue).

Just because he has the history of agressive behavior and "says" he's going to act, doesn't necessarily condone killing him. Again, I wasn't there and every situation is different. However, I must see an action that imposes the imminent threat to one's life before I pull the trigger.

BreacherUp!
March 9, 2008, 11:32 AM
Beyond the good/not shoot argument, I'm amazed at some respnses regarding the victim being shot in the face v. torso, and # shots fired.

Assuming Saafi thought that deadly force was required, the immediate neutralization of the threat is required. Modern training incorporates head shots b/c it is the fastest way to neutralize a threat. Kagel being shot in the face should be of no surprise. From a training point of view, it should be expected.

Another thought. Judging from what I've seen when people shoot in a high stress environment, rounds do not tend to go where you want them. Some people shoot higher than point of aim during stress-induced strings of fire.

# of shots fired: Woe to the self defense crowd that gets swept into this defense minded argument. Number of shots, again, is not the issue. The issue is when the target of deadly force, in the eyes of the shooter, no longer presents a threat. That may be 1 shot, or after a reload.

Kenpo
March 9, 2008, 11:33 AM
Addiction is addiction...plain and simple. Just because one drug has more severe immediate effects is a moot point. Alcohol has just as severe an effect on the body and mind, it just works differently and can be more easily controlled. once you cross the line from casual drinker to alcoholic your "disease" makes you no different than someone sticking a needle in there arm.

To pretend that meth has caused more violent behavior or spousal abuse than alcohol would be a really bad position to try and defend.

Again sir, you are trying to argue with me about something I never said, that has little to nothing to do with the question.

Addiction is addiction...plain and simple.

Agreed.

Alcohol has just as severe an effect on the body and mind, it just works differently and can be more easily controlled.

Which is why it often requires more resolute and immediate action when it does need to be controlled. And while I agree that alcohol does have a powerful effect on the mind and body - it does not equal the effects of meth on either.

once you cross the line from casual drinker to alcoholic your "disease" makes you no different than someone sticking a needle in there arm.

One is legal one is not, that does make you different. One is highly invasive, one is not, that makes the threshold different, as well. Again, non of this matters. The point is whether or not the shooting was justified or not, is not so simple as some would like to proclaim as they pick it apart.

Kenpo
March 9, 2008, 11:35 AM
Kenpo,

I think we're in the same church, but in different pews.

To set my tone with you, I'm not angry nor trying to be combative in you response. I'm trying to convey in detail of what I think over a lousy computer and am wanting a discussion, not argument (not that I think you're trying to argue).

Just because he has the history of agressive behavior and "says" he's going to act, doesn't necessarily condone killing him. Again, I wasn't there and every situation is different. However, I must see an action that imposes the imminent threat to one's life before I pull the trigger.

Tuttle, I'll see you in church, sir! :)

Playboypenguin
March 9, 2008, 11:43 AM
Again sir, you are trying to argue with me about something I never said, that has little to nothing to do with the question.

You clearly said "one less meth head threatening women and children."

I would interpret this as using the descriptive term "meth head" as a means to devalue this person as an individual and really do not see how it is relevant to the situation. If he was not posing an immediate threat I do not see how his addiction history means anything.

Kenpo
March 9, 2008, 11:56 AM
I used the phrase "meth head threatening women and children" as it is an accurate description of the fellow we are talking about, and in short, summarizes who he was at that point in his life, and in part, why he was shot.

I am not devaluing him as a human being - as I said, there has been drug abuse within my family and my circle of friends - I have seen both change, and death regarding it. It is not a statement as to their worth or legitimacy as a human being, but it is a statement as to who they are at that time, and what they are capable of.

I... really do not see how it is relevant to the situation. If he was not posing an immediate threat I do not see how his addiction history means anything.

Sir, this makes absolutely no sense to me. I am not arguing that all who have drug problems are terrible people, or that all sober, law abiding citizens should be trusted. Not at all. But honestly, would you feel more threatened or feel a greater sense of danger from an angry, sober, law abiding citizen, or an angry, high, felon? Does his addiction history give you greater or lesser confidence in him as child care giver? It does mean something.

Nevertheless, It was not my intention for the thread to be pulled of the original question. If you want to continue discussing it, we could start a "do some drugs make a person more dangerous than other drugs, and when assessing someones likelihood of violence or potential as a threat should their drug addiction be considered?" thread.... and hash it out there.

Playboypenguin
March 9, 2008, 12:03 PM
would you feel more threatened or feel a greater sense of danger from an angry, sober, law abiding citizen, or an angry, high, felon?
I would feel a great deal more threatened by a angry, sober, law abiding citizen that actually attacked me than I would an angry, high felon who was not physically attacking me. So far in this case, I have seen no evidence that the guy was attacking anyone. I see more indication that a "fed up ex-relative" allowed anger and history to overwhelm his better judgement and stormed out of his home and into an argument with guns blazing.

Capt Charlie
March 9, 2008, 12:12 PM
Guys, it's getting to the point that there's two separate threads ongoing in one. I can see how that would happen, given the subject matter, but let's keep this on the original topic.

Want to debate drugs? There's a long standing, ongoing thread here (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=215342).

FM12
March 9, 2008, 12:53 PM
Bad shoot, IMO. Opportunity, jeopardy, ability must be there. Most jurisdictions DO NOT allow the use of deadly force in the case of "bare fear". And, you may meet force only with (basicly) commensurate force.

I have addressed this before on this forum, and was pretty much flamed for it.

Careful in the use of deadly force, especially EXCESSIVE use. You may verywell, in the eyes of liberal juries, end up as the agressor, as shown in this topic.

SLOMountaineer
March 9, 2008, 05:35 PM
Careful in the use of deadly force, especially EXCESSIVE use.

Excessive? Dead is dead, isn't it?

FM12
March 9, 2008, 06:19 PM
Well, dead IS dead. But if the threat is stopped after a double tap, and you empty a full magazine into the assailant, you have pretty much overstepped the bounds of reasonable deadly force. Especially if the ME rules the rounds after #2 caused the death.

Many think they can shoot to slide lock and then reload and shoot some more. You might wish to do some study on case law about this, but I'm pretty sure I'm correct.

The purpose of defensive firearm use is defensive, not offensive. Shoot to neutralize, not to kill.

Parents cannot legally beat to death their children and then use the "I was just discilplining my child" defense". Very much the same here.

This won't sit well with some, and I expect some flaming, about how they'll shoot till the victim rots, but that's OK:D

wayneinFL
March 9, 2008, 06:30 PM
"all but two of the bullets into Kagel's face, side and leg"

With a spray of shots like this was two enough to stop? There's nothing magic about handgun bullets. I read of a case in our state in which a police officer needed to fire six shots COM with a .40 before a woman's drugged assailant finally let go of her.

I don't doubt for a minute that seven shots spread out across an attacker's torso, legs and face might be necessary to neutralize.

tony pasley
March 9, 2008, 06:51 PM
Not enough information to call one way or another. We have all seen short vid clips that reportedly show what happened only to find out what the rest showed later. We all also know that juries are always right i.e. O.J. Simson. Since the law is only about the law and no longer about right and wrong the jury did what it was told to do. That has very little to do with this being a god or bad shoot.

stantonizm
March 19, 2008, 01:21 PM
Was Saafi picking up his two-year old at the house of his cousin and her husband, or am I confused? It would seem that you would not leave your toddler in a household with a person you knew was a meth-using ticking timebomb.

toybox99615
March 19, 2008, 02:56 PM
regardless of how we on this site feel about the case the simple fact is the jury, based on the information they had, judged the guy guilty.

If you ever served on a jury you know the drill. You can not speculate by bringing imaginary ideas into the decision. You have to decide based on what information is presented and not what you would like to imagine maybe could have possible happened.

If there is a lesson to be found in this case it probably is more in line with each of us finding out what is self defence in the jurisdiction where you live. There are some differences from local to local. While there may be a bit of gray at the time you need to defend your self or other times there are very certain reasons when shooting is not justifiable.


Wild I've seen a bit on this case since the original shooting. I'll just say I'm with the jury decision. I believe there are stil a couple of similar shooting in Anchorage that have yet to come to trial.

chris in va
March 19, 2008, 03:27 PM
Nobody can really internet quarterback on this article as we weren't there to experience the 'event'.

That being said, a class instructor pointed out it's not a good idea to shoot with verbal threats and gestures. If the knife comes out, all bets are off.

A couple years ago a homeowner in MD confronted someone busting in his front door. He managed to get his gun in time. One thing that stood out, he couldn't remember how many shots were fired. Turns out he emptied his gun, 8 shots IIRC.

Wildalaska
March 19, 2008, 03:38 PM
regardless of how we on this site feel about the case the simple fact is the jury, based on the information they had, judged the guy guilty.

And Alaska juries are not considered to be pro prosecution in cases such as these

WildwaitingforsentencingAlaska ™

Colt Delta Elite
March 19, 2008, 04:26 PM
This was a posting contained in the link to the news article. It sheds a little more light concerning some of the details and may change your viewpoint:


defense lacking

First, let me begin by saying that I, like most of you, wish Mr. Saafi had gotten a lighter charge yesterday.

However, unbeknownst to most that have posted comments here, the defense did not sufficiently support their claim to self-defense, which would have allowed any jury to legally let him off with lighter, if any, charges. The defense did not explore with witnesses the many facets of the situation that supported Mr. Saafi's actions.

Here are a few facts from the courtroom that did not help Mr. Saafi:

The victim had no weapon on him at the time of the crime. In fact, he was only seen by witnesses ONCE with a weapon, ever. A common, knife-on-the-belt weapon. Shame.

The victim was in a loud argument with his wife when Mr. Saafi left his residence at a full run. The victim was not standing within arms reach of his wife when Mr. Saafi ran off of his property and pulled the loaded gun on the victim and his friend. By doing so, he unfortunately became the aggressor, and not even on his own property.

Mr. Saafi did not mention self-defense to any of the APD staff at the time of the incident. He said that he was protecting his family. Absolutely a good cause, but the defense did not prove that his family was under any immediate threat at the time of the shooting. The defense could not prove that even the wife was under any threat at the time, as she was also under the influence of meth and had just come from spending a night with the victim, who had not abused her during that time.

The defense failed to provide witnesses that did a good job demonstrating that the family had lived in fear. Again, the fear was probably there, but why didn't the defense ask the right questions so that it was clear in the trial?

The defense often played the emotional and cultural cards, rather than refuting and explaining the incriminating evidence. Again, such a shame.

A cell phone was found lying immediately next to where the hollow point clip had been taken when Mr. Saafi had loaded the gun. If only he had called 911 before running out of the house pointing a loaded weapon at weaponless meth addicts, the law could have looked at it differently.

The Alaskan/Outside split of the jury was about half and half, as was the male/female, gun-owners/non gun-owners, and younger/older splits.

The defense did not provide anyone in that courtroom with enough evidence to let him off this time, but hopefully this will be the wake-up call that they need so that they will do better should they appeal. The same judge will be sentencing Mr. Saafi, and one can only hope that he will be able to apply all of the facts that he knows but that were not presented in trial. With everything taken into account, hopefully Mr. Saafi can get out of prison soon; he doesn't belong there.

Wildalaska
July 11, 2008, 11:44 PM
Mr. Saafi got 10 years today after the decedants father emotionally told the judge that he forgave him. I'll post the story as soon as it's posted.

He could have gotten 99 years.

Interesting

WildwhatdayisitAlaska TM

Wildalaska
July 12, 2008, 10:24 AM
Here is the story:

At murderer's sentencing, grieving fathers find unlikely bond
A story of addiction, death and forgiveness

By JULIA O'MALLEY
jomalley@adn.com

(07/12/08 02:06:03)

In a downtown courtroom Friday, Rob Kagel didn't know what to feel as he looked for the first time on Osaiasi Saafi, the man who'd shot and killed his son.

What is the father of a murder victim supposed to feel?

Saafi, 30, hung his head in his chair at the defense table, a lawyer at his side, his own father and a minister behind him. He looked like a warrior, stoic and sad.

A jury had convicted him of murder. He faced the prospect of spending most of his life in prison.

Kagel knew prosecutor John Skidmore was asking for 25 years. That sounded right to him. Saafi needed to take responsibility for his son's death, Kagel explained. He needed to feel bad for what he'd done.

Still, as Kagel looked at the young man in the orange prison clothes, he felt something inside him shift.

A special education teacher from Arizona, Kagel thought of his dead son, Josh -- a smart, compassionate boy who kept losing his fight with addiction after his mother's suicide, he said.

What would Josh have wanted, Kagel asked himself.

Josh came to Alaska in his late teens, looking for a new life after a string of drug-related run-ins with the law in Arizona. For a half-dozen years, Kagel and his other children rode the bipolar cycles of Josh's drug addiction, tracking his recovery or relapse over long-distance calls from Alaska.

Sometimes Josh seemed well: He married. Held jobs. Had a son.

Sometimes he wasn't well: Minor brushes with Alaska law. Meth. The horrible brittle quality in his voice when he called high after months of being straight.

A month before he died, Josh hit bottom. He called Kagel and said his addiction was costing him his wife and son. He was determined to kick his habit. A turning point, father and son agreed.

But it wasn't.

On Aug. 28, 2005, high again, Josh fought with his wife on an Airport Heights Drive. Saafi was a cousin to Josh's wife; he felt responsible for protecting her. He intervened. Josh jumped Saafi, threatened to kill him.

Saafi went in the house and got a gun. He unloaded seven bullets into Josh, pumping shots long after Josh's body hit the ground.

Josh died in his wife's arms. He was 25 years old.

Saafi had no history of violence, no criminal record. He'd never even gotten a speeding ticket. He called the police himself.

At his trial for first-degree, meaning intentional, murder, Saafi's lawyer argued it was really self defense. The jury found him guilty of second-degree murder.

Back in Arizona, Kagel only knew what he read about his son's death -- news stories online and anonymous reader comments on adn.com declaring the shooting of his son justified. Josh deserved to die, they said. He was an addict. A meth-head. Saafi "should have emptied the clip."

Such viciousness from strangers made Kagel think the world was a broken place.

Addiction was only part of Josh, he said. He was also tender-hearted, a goofball brother who called his sister at 3 a.m., a charmer who got smiles out of police officers.

The family wondered what Josh's killer felt. Was he sorry? Kagel's daughter, Shayna, visited Saafi in jail. He couldn't look at her. Couldn't speak.

In the courtroom Friday, it was time for Kagel to talk. Saafi should get a serious sentence, he told the judge, long enough to teach him the value of human life.

"My wish for you is that you not throw your life away out of a stubborn refusal to accept responsibility for your actions," he said to Saafi.

Then it was Saafi's turn. He accepted the decision of the jury, he said quietly. He prayed every day for the family to forgive him. He was sorry for the heartache his actions had caused.

From his seat in the gallery, Kagel believed Saafi was sincere, believed he would be burdened for life by what he'd done.

Suddenly, locking Saafi up for most of his life seemed a waste. Then two young men would be destroyed, Kagel explained later. He knew Josh wouldn't have wanted it.

Judge Michael Wolverton called a recess. When court reconvened, Kagel asked if he could make one last statement.

He'd changed his mind, he told the judge. Please give Saafi the minimum sentence, he said.

"We do forgive you," Kagel said to Saafi. "For reasons we don't understand, we love you; we do."

Saafi nodded. Behind him, his father Henry Saafi wept.

Wolverton listened. He wasn't used to hearing victims speak so eloquently on behalf of a defendant, he said. It rarely happens.

He would take Kagel's wishes to heart and adjust his sentence to the minimum -- 10 years in prison, Wolverton said.

Saafi clearly acted in a fever of adrenaline and fear, protecting his family, the judge said. It's unlikely he'd ever do something like it again. Just to be safe, he added 20 years of suspended time that can be imposed if Saafi strays.

Wolverton wished Saafi luck. Uniformed guards led him out of the courtroom through a metal door.

Kagel and Saafi's father stood and looked at each other. Strangers before that day, they embraced -- father of the murdered and father of the murderer, their faces wet with tears.

"It's the single greatest thing I've ever done in my entire life," Kagel said.

WildbadshootAlaska TM

Frank Ettin
July 12, 2008, 10:53 AM
There's no way we can second guess the jury based on a short newspaper article. It was a two week trial. The jury heard and saw a lot we will never know anything about. And of course, the jury could also be wrong. There's just know way to assess this with such limited information.

However, this sort of thing should remind us that whether or not it's a "good shot" might not always be so obvious.

Playboypenguin
July 12, 2008, 11:38 AM
I might sound insensitive, but my biggest problem with that article is the line...
Josh -- a smart, compassionate boy who kept losing his fight with addiction after his mother's suicide

I get so sick and tired of addicts and a-holes being portrayed as victims. Apparently they are all upstanding citizens and the most angelic of people when not under the influence too.

I do not drink or do drugs. I do not remember ever having to "battle" to not stick a needle in my arm or a crack pipe to my lips. I simply remember making the choice to not be a loser.

bikerbill
July 12, 2008, 03:51 PM
At the end of the day, it's just another tragedy ... one man dead, another's life ruined by, perhaps, a moment of flawed judgment ... We still don't have the crucial facts -- distance, was the knife drawn or not? -- but it sounds like justice was done, both in the conviction and the less-than-maximum sentence ... and it has to give you pause ... when you arm yourself, you assume a huge responsibility ... I believe I'm prepared to make the right decision under stress -- I've taken half a dozen classes, practice often, visualize situations where I might be forced to present my gun and use it -- but when the adrenaline is flowing and people are screaming, any of us might make a mistake ...

David Armstrong
July 12, 2008, 03:57 PM
I might sound insensitive, but my biggest problem with that article is the line...

Quote:
Josh -- a smart, compassionate boy who kept losing his fight with addiction after his mother's suicide

I get so sick and tired of addicts and a-holes being portrayed as victims. Apparently they are all upstanding citizens and the most angelic of people when not under the influence too.
I fail to see that is portraying the boy as a victim. It is more of a morality note about how easy it is to fall under the influence of drugs and the affect they can have on even the best of people.
I simply remember making the choice to not be a loser.
Many who drink or do drugs have not chosen to be a loser. In fact, many that drink or do drugs are considered very powerful and influential people in our society. I think you paint with way too broad a brush.

Playboypenguin
July 12, 2008, 04:03 PM
Many who drink or do drugs have not chosen to be a loser. In fact, many that drink or do drugs are considered very powerful and influential people in our society. I think you paint with way too broad a brush.
My remarks where about this specific individual and those like him. I stick by what I said. You can go ahead an defend the lowlifes if you choose to do s, but do not expect me to enable your actions.

Sigma 40 Blaster
July 12, 2008, 09:26 PM
I think the article does tend to further victimize the guy who was shot by talking about his mother, his battles with addiction and so forth. There's plenty of humanity in the story by talking about the guy's daughter visiting the shooter in jail and the guy's father forgiving him and helping him get leniency.

Not to mention the overall big picture of a seemingly good meaning citizen who seems to have either gotten really angry or really freaked out with a handgun and the impact it has had on his life.

God forbid I'm the victim of a crime I hope my personal struggles and things I've overcome in life are used to add years to the aggressor's sentence. But that's what newspapers are for, I don't think that stuff was taken into account for sentencing.

Thanks WildAlaska for following up on this story, I was wondering how this was going to turn out. I wonder if the defendant ever got any expert testimony or could appeal with help from some SD experts like Mas Ayoob or the Personal Defense Network?

Wildalaska
July 12, 2008, 09:40 PM
I spoke to somebody involved in the investigation who must be, anonymous. The bottom line so far

1. The decedant was not a pillar of the community
2. Many folks involved were sympathetic to the defendant...but

Guess the best way to put it was...he kept shooting when he should have stopped.

Tough line between defense and offense...thats why carrying a gun is such an awesome responsibilty

WildimstryingtogetmoreinfoAlaska TM

David Armstrong
July 13, 2008, 02:35 AM
My remarks where about this specific individual and those like him.
They are equally flawed in concept, whether they be the broad generalizatio you originally tossed out or the narrower parameter you are attempting to use now. As you have no knowledge of what this person's life was like anywhere outside of the little snippets offered by the media, such a judgement is questionable at best.
You can go ahead an defend the lowlifes if you choose to do s, but do not expect me to enable your actions.
As there is ample evidence that many who drink and use drugs are not lowlifes by any rational standard, I doubt there is any enabling for you to do at all.

Playboypenguin
July 13, 2008, 02:47 AM
Nice attempt to play games and incite reactions but I am afraid it is not going to work. This guy was a loser. If you want to defend him and other people like him that is your choice. Go ahead and defend all the drug addicts and alcoholics you like...maybe even let them move in with you and help them straighten themselves out. Good luck with that.

Sigma 40 Blaster
July 13, 2008, 10:45 AM
Guess the best way to put it was...he kept shooting when he should have stopped.

That's what I gathered from the newspaper story. It looked more like a revenge or prevention thing than a self defense thing (motive of the actor is a BIG deal). The story said he continued to shoot even when the guy was on the ground.

I can see that if the guy had a handgun or something and would not drop it but it's hard to justify shooting an un-armed guy on the ground while he's down. I think 2-3 shots COM this guy would have not been charged at all, walked or worst case got a considerably lighter charge. He's fortunate to have received 10 years.

obxned
July 13, 2008, 11:16 AM
Had anyone on the jury ever been around someone high on methamphetamine, the verdict would probably have been different.

David Armstrong
July 13, 2008, 12:23 PM
Nice attempt to play games and incite reactions but I am afraid it is not going to work.
No games, no incitement. I just think that when someone makes questionable statements or makes declarations that are not supported by facts they should be pointed out.
This guy was a loser.
That might be so. But that also is not what you originally said.
If you want to defend him and other people like him that is your choice.
Now it seems you are the one wanting to play word games and such. Nowhere have I suggested that I want to defend him or others like him.
Go ahead and defend all the drug addicts and alcoholics you like.
Again, you make a claim that is not accurate. You made a number of statements that in total disagree with the facts and reality of the world, you were called on it, and now you are trying to attribute actions or concerns to me that I have not expressed in order to distract from that.

Hornett
July 15, 2008, 01:07 PM
Josh jumped Saafi, threatened to kill him.

Saafi went in the house and got a gun. He unloaded seven bullets into Josh, pumping shots long after Josh's body hit the ground.

This may be rhetoric by the journalist, but if it happened like it says, I am afraid that I would have voted to convict also.
It makes it sound like Saafi went into the house after he was assaulted, came out with a gun and shot Kagel without any warning or any other interaction.
That's a bad shoot to me.

IMO, the tone of the article was slightly anti Saffi. For instance, Kagel was frequently referred to as Josh While Saafi was hardly ever called by his first name.
Maybe just because Osaiasi is so hard to spell...

BikerRN
July 15, 2008, 01:47 PM
Reading this thread brings to mind one point.

When the shooting is over, even the worst monster laying dead at your feet is somebody's child, loved one, parent, son, daughter, father or mother. Remember what Ted Bundy's mother said to him just before he was executed?

Biker

pax
July 15, 2008, 03:03 PM
Guess the best way to put it was...he kept shooting when he should have stopped.


Kind of gives a strong argument against the "shoot them to the ground" rhetoric.

pax

jackmcmanus21
July 17, 2008, 09:21 AM
unfortunately, we'll never know the truth when it comes to reading about an incident from a second hand source. Stories like this can be bias. I think he was right to defend himself, I don't think it was right to keep firing though.

Glenn E. Meyer
July 17, 2008, 09:57 AM
I think Kathy the issue (pure speculation without seeing all the evidence) is that the defendant kept shooting when the deceased was on the ground and 'stopped'.

The forensics might have shown that the most damaging shots were fired when he was down.

brickeyee
July 17, 2008, 10:20 AM
Kind of gives a strong argument against the "shoot them to the ground" rhetoric.

Shoot them till they are no longer a threat.

This is not just "shoot them to the ground" but appears to be 'shoot them ON the ground.'

spacemanspiff
February 7, 2009, 04:42 PM
http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/682293.html

MURDERER WHO WAS GRANTIED LENIENCY DIES

Less than seven months ago, Osaiasi Saafi was in court on a murder charge, looking at 25 years. Then, a twist: The family of the young man he shot and killed asked the judge for leniency. They didn't want to see two young lives wasted. He got the minimum for second-degree murder: 10 years.

Now Saafi, age 31, is dead too.

The prison inmate died Friday at Alaska Regional Hospital after surgery earlier in the week for a neurological problem, said Richard Schmitz, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections. He had family with him.

A childhood friend, Ma'o Tosi, said Saafi's parents had questions about how such a young man went so quickly. They didn't yet want to talk publicly about it, he said. They didn't even know anything was wrong until Thursday, he said.

"They're still having a hard time with everything," said Tosi, who was with the family at the hospital.

Saafi's lawyer, Rex Butler, was out of town on Friday when he heard the news. He was upset.

"What? Are you kidding me?" Butler said. "That doesn't make any sense to me." He said he was aware that Saafi had a neurological problem but thought it was under control. He said he would try to find out more.

Saafi was serving his sentence at Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward but was transferred to a mental health unit at Cook Inlet Correctional Center in November for observation and testing, Schmitz said. He had been exhibiting behavioral problems.

A brain scan in January found an abnormality, a mass of some sort, Schmitz said. Saafi had surgery on Tuesday and came out of it, but then rapidly deteriorated, he said.

Schmitz said he didn't know when Saafi's family was notified of his condition but said generally, the prison system lets inmates decide when to contact family about illness, even a serious one.

Before Aug. 28, 2005, Saafi had no history of violence, no criminal record, not even a speeding ticket. He stepped in that day to protect his cousin from her husband, Josh Kagel, as they fought on Airport Heights Drive.

Kagel was high and threatened Saafi. Saafi came out of the house with a gun, fired into Kagel seven times. At the trial, Butler argued that it was self defense. A jury called it second degree murder.

At the sentencing, Kagel's father and sister saw something in Saafi. They asked the judge to show him mercy, give him the lightest sentence possible.

"The feeling that my dad and I had when we left the courtroom that day was unexplainable and empowering," Shayna Kagel said Friday. She thought that Saafi had a chance to make something of himself one day, maybe work with troubled teens like his friend Tosi.

She's upset about his death. She feels for his family. She's glad she forgave him.

Saafi was supposed to get out in 2012.