Judge denies 'stand your ground' motion for Brevard man accused of shooting at deputies

John DeRossett says he thought deputies were kidnapping his niece, attorneys say

John DeRossett.
John DeRossett.

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Brevard County circuit judge has denied the motion to dismiss attempted murder charges against a Port St. John man who is accused of shooting at Brevard County deputies when they attempted to arrest his niece during a prostitution sting.

John DeRossett has been in custody since the shootout with sheriff's deputies at his Port St. John home in August 2015. He told investigators he had no idea the men pulling his niece, Mary DeRossett Ellis, from his home were sheriff's deputies. Instead, he said, he feared she was being abducted. 

One deputy was shot and survived.

DeRossett faces three counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. 

His lawyers argued a motion last month to dismiss charges against the 68-year-old under the controversial "stand your ground" law.

Circuit Judge Robin Lemonidis denied that motion Thursday after considering the evidence and testimony presented during the hearing last month.

Lemonidis wrote in her decision that when DeRossett fired a "warning shot" he exercised deadly force without having reason to believe his life was in danger.

"It was not reasonable for the defendant to believe that there was imminent threat from the individuals," the judge wrote about the attempt by deputies to arrest DeRossett's niece.