'Stand your ground' law at center of Phoenix shooting

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The states in blue have laws allowing citizens to use deadly force without attempting to retreat when threatened outside the home. By Andrew Michalscheck The states in blue have laws allowing citizens to use deadly force without attempting to retreat when threatened outside the home. By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Sanford, Fla. became the focus of millions of Americans earlier this year when teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

While Zimmerman was eventually charged with second-degree murder, he went several weeks without being arrested due to the state’s "stand your ground" law, which allows citizens to use deadly force when they feel threatened.

Many people have criticized Florida for adopting such a law, but what many may not realize is that at least 21 states have similar stand your ground laws on the books.

One family here in Phoenix lost their son in a similar manner, and believes Arizona’s version of the "stand your ground" law is preventing them from receiving justice.

“I look at the Trayvon Martin case, and what happened to my son is almost the same thing,” Daniel Adkins told “USA Today.”

Adkins’ son, Daniel Jr., was shot and killed in a Taco Bell parking lot this spring.

Adkins Jr., 29, was mentally disabled and lived at home. On the evening of April 3 he was out on a walk with his dog when he crossed in front of a car driven by Cordell Jude, 22.

Jude, who was accompanied by his pregnant girlfriend, told police that he had to slam on his brakes in order to avoid an accident. Jude said Adkins Jr. went on to yell at him and swing what looked like a bat or pipe at the driver’s door.

While the girlfriend confirmed Jude’s story, the police report said nothing hit Jude or his car.

Jude proceeded to pull a handgun from his pants, and believing that Adkins Jr. was about to swing again, he shot him once in the torso.

When police arrived they did not find a pipe, bat or any other weapon.

Jude claimed that he feared for his life, his girlfriend’s life, and the life of their unborn baby. He later told police that he didn’t think Adkins Jr. would have killed them, but that he was trying to hurt them.

Police have recommended second-degree murder charges against Jude, but they continue to investigate the case.

In the meantime, the Adkins family is left to wonder if Jude will ever be arrested and punished for shooting their son.