More fun news about people you can shoot in the US

From Think Progress:

A Texas jury acquitted a man for the murder of a woman he hired as an escort, after his lawyers claimed he was authorized to use deadly force because she refused sex.

Ezekiel Gilbert shot Lenora Ivie Frago in the neck on Christmas Eve, after she denied his requests for sex and wouldn’t return the $150 he had paid her, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Under Texas law, an individual is authorized to use deadly force to “retrieve stolen property at night,” and Gilbert’s lawyers cited that provision as justification for Gilbert’s action, reasoning that Frago had stolen $150 from him by taking his money without delivering sex. In a police interview played for jurors, Gilbert “never mentioned anything about theft,” a detective told the San Antonio Express-News. Frago, who was 21, was critically injured and died several months later.

That’s it. If anyone needs me I’ll be hiding under my bed with a stack of comic books trying not to read anything on the internet ever again. Because actual news is just too damn depressing.

5 thoughts on “More fun news about people you can shoot in the US

  1. That this happened at all is incredibly, terribly, awful–but, it’s very, very important (so that misinformed misogynists don’t start taking this as license to kill sex workers and escorts) that we understand the case better. We don’t know why the jury acquitted, but even though his lawyers did cite Texas property law, that wasn’t the whole story. According to Texas law, to be convicted on murder the state has to prove that you intentionally or knowingly, killed, or caused serious bodily injury that resulted in death.

    Gilbert shot at Frago as she was driving away–and he claimed he was aiming for the tire and had no intention of hitting her at all. So, even if there were no such property law in Texas, if the jury believed he only killed her by accident as he was trying to shoot her car tire, by law, they could have acquitted him of murder.

  2. Philodaria raises an important point, and there’s a related one: prosecutors in the United States have a rather strong freedom to pick and choose their cases and the sorts of charges they file, and there’s a host of biases and incompetence that results from this. What I find puzzling about both this case and that-other-case-that-everyone-is-talking-about is that neither perpetrators have been convicted of *manslaughter*.

  3. Yes, thanks for the details. I had heard the short story, too. When I was growing up in Texas, it was well-known, even to a lot of children that if a man came home and found his wife in bed with another man, that he was legally entitled to shoot and kill them both. If it was legal for a woman to shoot and kill her husband and another woman I never heard it mentioned. I don’t think that that law lasted through the seventies (yea feminists!)

    Back in the day in mean, hard, and aggressive “Cow Town” (Fort Worth) when women were all “emotional” and men were all “logical” and that was a biological factoid (I couldn’t believe adults actually believed)— I wondered why none of the grown-ups thought men’s anger was emotional and that when their anger was always on hair-trigger alert that they were “hysterical.”

    Someone takes pay without providing a service then it’s o.k. to shoot at them because—- ? Because that’s logical? Because a man’s $150.00 is worth more than a sex worker’s life?

  4. Matt, I need to look more at the Texas case, but in that-other-case-everyone-is-talking-about, it would seem that the likely reason the defendant was not convicted of manslaughter is that the evidence that the defendant (as opposed to the deceased) was the aggressor was very weak and the evidence supporting self-defense was relatively strong.

  5. You know I used to live in texas, loved living there. But dang, when you look at it short sighted, some one got shot for stealing from some one. And another thing, you pay lawyers money to gey you out of trouble, its not the law you jave to so mich try to change, it has to be the lawyers you should change.

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