Stand Your Ground Reversal: Basketball court killer gets new trial

U.S. & World
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Nearly nine yeaRs later, despite a new husband and a new life in another state, the tragic death of Kanina Eurez’s widow at the hands of Trevor Dooley is still raw.

“It’s just a technicality,” she says defiantly. “[Dooley] was not exonerated in any way whatsoever.”

Eurez, busy raising a daughter who watched her father, David James, get shot and killed, still has a touch of rage beneath her voice when she talks about the case. 

“I want justice for David,” said Eurez.

“I want it for my daughter, who’s had to grow up her life without him. This is not fair to our family.”

Florida’s second district court of appeals ruled on Tuesday that improper instructions may have confused the jury, causing Dooley’s convictions for manslaughter and openly carrying a firearm to be reversed.

A third conviction for improper exhibition of a firearm was affirmed.

It’s the confusion over the impact of that third charge that caused the appeals court to find in Dooley’s favor. 



According to the appeals court opinion, the original trial judge, now Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, gave incorrect instructions to the jury that “improperly conflated, and thereby confused” jurors about the distinction in law that allowed Dooley to claim a Stand Your Ground defense. 

Dooley could not use that defense under then-Florida Statute 776.013(3), because he had “engaged in unlawful activity” when he “flashed the butt of his pistol at Mr. James in a threatening manner,” according to the opinion.

But Stand Your Ground was still a valid defense under FS 776.012, so the manslaughter and openly carrying a firearm convictions were reversed.

8 On Your Side reached out to the state attorney’s office.

“The State has 90 days to retry the case unless the defense waives. The 90-day clock starts once the case reaches our office, which has not happened as the opinion was released yesterday,” a spokesperson said. 

The attorney general’s office replied only “We are reviewing this ruling” in regard to 8 On Your Side’s request for comment. 

For Eurez, this ruling reopens an old wound.

She now lives in Tennessee. Her daughter, Danielle, is now a junior in high school. She is applying for a prestigious internship this summer at the CDC and debating to which colleges she wants to apply. 

She said at one point, she could have possibly forgiven Dooley, if he’d stuck with “his initial story” that the gun went off as an accident. 

But not anymore.

Eurez says while Stand Your Ground can be good, this case is a great example of why it needs to be changed.

“If you try to intimidate someone with your firearm, I don’t think that you should be able to then say you’re standing your ground.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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