HOUSTON — A man who contended that Texas’s version of a stand-your-ground law allowed him to fatally shoot a neighbor after an argument about a noisy party was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years for murder.
Raul Rodriguez, 46, had faced up to life in prison for the 2010 killing of Kelly Danaher.
Rodriguez, a retired firefighter, was angry about noise from a birthday party. He went over and got into an argument with Danaher, 36, and two other men.
In a 22-minute video he recorded on the night of the shooting, Rodriguez can be heard telling a police dispatcher ‘‘my life is in danger’’ and ‘‘these people are going to go try to kill me.’’
He said, ‘‘I’m standing my ground here,’’ and fatally shot Danaher, a school teacher, and wounded the men.
Prosecutors called Rodriguez the aggressor who took a gun to complain about loud music and could have safely left his neighbor’s driveway in Huffman, about 30 miles northeast of Houston.
Defense attorneys argued that Rodriguez was defending himself when one of the men lunged at him, saying that Rodriguez had less than a second to respond.
At trial, prosecutors tried to show that Rodriguez had a history of not getting along with Danaher and other neighbors.
A neighbor testified that Rodriguez, who had a concealed handgun license, bragged about his guns and told her a person could avoid prosecution in a shooting by telling authorities you were in fear of your life and were standing your ground and defending yourself.
During the trial’s punishment phase, neighbors, former co-workers, and his former wife testified that Rodriguez was abusive, a bad neighbor, and that he once shot a dog.
Texas’s version of a stand-your-ground law is known as the Castle Doctrine.
It was revised in 2007 to expand the right to use deadly force.
The new version allows people to defend themselves in their homes, workplaces, or vehicles.
It also says a person using force cannot provoke the attacker or be involved in criminal activity at the time.