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Old February 24, 2008, 02:40 AM   #1
Wildalaska
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Good Shoot or Bad Shoot?

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."

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Old February 24, 2008, 03:12 AM   #2
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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.
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Old February 24, 2008, 07:39 AM   #3
Mas Ayoob
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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
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Old February 24, 2008, 08:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
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
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Old February 24, 2008, 08:24 AM   #5
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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.
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Old February 24, 2008, 08:35 AM   #6
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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.
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Old February 24, 2008, 09:49 AM   #7
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means, motive, intent.

If they are ALL not present you are going to have a problem.
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Old February 24, 2008, 09:54 AM   #8
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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.
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Old February 24, 2008, 10:16 AM   #9
ActivShootr
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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.
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Old February 24, 2008, 10:35 AM   #10
12-34hom
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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.

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Old February 24, 2008, 10:35 AM   #11
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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...
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Old February 24, 2008, 11:02 AM   #12
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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.
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Old February 24, 2008, 11:04 AM   #13
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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.
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Old February 24, 2008, 11:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
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).


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Old February 24, 2008, 12:04 PM   #15
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Keep us posted, Ken.

At least Spacemanspiff wans't shot when found passed out on the floor...
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Old February 24, 2008, 12:12 PM   #16
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"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.
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Old February 24, 2008, 12:30 PM   #17
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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?)
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Old February 24, 2008, 03:30 PM   #18
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Old February 24, 2008, 04:58 PM   #19
Mas Ayoob
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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
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Old February 24, 2008, 06:24 PM   #20
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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.
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Old February 24, 2008, 06:52 PM   #21
Wildalaska
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Here is the docket for what its worth (it doesnt have facts, just events)


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.


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Old February 24, 2008, 07:28 PM   #22
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Dogs

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.
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Old February 25, 2008, 12:33 AM   #23
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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.
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Old March 8, 2008, 09:55 AM   #24
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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.
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Old March 8, 2008, 03:56 PM   #25
Kenpo
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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.
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