Brevard man accused of shooting at deputies gets another 'stand your ground' hearing
Appeals court: State must prove man knew he was firing warning shot at deputies
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Brevard County man accused of shooting at deputies will get another chance to prove he was defending himself under Florida's stand your ground law after an appeals court overturned a Brevard judge's decision to dismiss his claim.
John DeRossett has been in custody since the shootout with Brevard County Sheriff's Office 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 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 in August to dismiss charges against the 68-year-old under the controversial "stand your ground" law. Judge Robin Lemonidis denied that motion in September.
On Thursday, the Fifth District Court of Appeals overturned that decision and ruled that DeRossett is entitled to a new 'stand your ground" evidentiary hearing.
"I'm confident that once the judge applies the standard that appellate court has put forward, that she will find that he is legally entitled to immunity," DeRossett's attorney Michael Panella said.
The appeals court found that the court "did not apply the correct burden of proof," adding, "The court shall specifically address whether the State can establish, by clear and convincing evidence...that DeRossett knew or should have known at the time that he fired his warning shot, that he was shooting at law enforcement officers..." or that he "was using his home to further criminal activity."
A date for the new hearing has not been scheduled.
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