Explaining South Carolina's Stand Your Ground Laws

Columbia,SC(WLTX) -Atrial for anIrmo manaccused of killinghis wife and friend isputting the spotlight on South Carolina's stand your ground law.

Brett Parker is accused of killing his wife Tammy and his friend Bryan Capnerhurst on April 13, 2012. But his attorney is now claiming self-defense has now filed a motion claiming Parker acted under South Carolina's Protection of Persons and Property Act, commonly known as a "stand your ground law."

News19 spoke with University of South Carolina law professor Ken Gaines, an expert on the stand your ground laws.

"If the defendant is where he has a right to be, then he can invoke the stand your ground rule and does not have a duty to retreat under those circumstances," Gaines told News19.

Gaines says the South Carolina laws are fairly clear because a defendant has the right to defend him or herself if they feel threatened. But that's only a piece of the law, he says.

"Another aspect is that the defendant has to be engaged in legal activity. In other words you can't be engaged in illegal activity or be the cause of the diffculty and turn around and claim self-defense.

Court papers show Brett Parker is also facing federal charges for operating a gambling ring. Parker's lawyer tells News19 Brian Capnerhurst was at Parker's Ascot Estate home collecting a gambling related debt.

Gaines was asked if he saw the new filings as a stalling tactic.

"I mean anything can be used as a stalling tactic," Gaines said, "but one man's stalling tactic is another man's strategy."

Brett Parker's trial is scheduled to begin the week of May 6th.


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