Jurors hearing the case of a Toledo man accused of shooting at police who came to his home with a search warrant last year got a lesson in self-defense Thursday.
In closing arguments in the trial of Jamaine Hill, Dexter Phillips, an assistant county prosecutor, said Hill could not invoke the Castle Doctrine, saying it did not apply because the police were entering his home lawfully.
Mr. Phillips also argued that self-defense did not apply in the case because Hill created the situation that gave rise to the injuries he caused by illegally possessing and using a gun.
“He never should have had a gun,” Mr. Phillips said. “None of this would have ever happened if he had been obeying the law in the first place.”
Hill, 39, of 4103 Caroline Ave. is charged with seven counts of felonious assault for shooting Toledo Police Det. Jason Picking in the face Nov. 16 and firing in the direction of six members of the Toledo Police SWAT team attempting to enter his house with a no-knock search warrant.
Hill also is charged with having weapons while under disability. Because of a prior felony conviction from Wood County Common Pleas Court for drug trafficking, Hill was prohibited from having a gun.
Prosecutors maintain Hill was awake when the SWAT team arrived, that he knew it was the police and tried to shoot the first officer through the door as the team made entry. Detective Picking, who was not on the porch but out by the raid vehicle, was shot in the face by the second of Hill's five shots, the state contends.
Defense attorney John Thebes asked the jury to imagine for a moment that it was not the police on Hill's porch at 2 a.m. that day.
A window shattered over Hill's head while he was asleep just a day or two after he'd had surgery, Mr. Thebes said. Hill was on prescription painkillers at the time, heard his wife scream, grabbed his gun, and fired toward the door.
“He acted in his own and his wife's self-defense,” Mr. Thebes said.
He conceded that his client was guilty of having a weapon under disability but urged the jury to acquit him of the felonious assault charges.
“While [police] were acting legally, so was he, because in his mind, in his heart, he believed he was being threatened. He wasn't. We know that now. He made a mistake,” Mr. Thebes said. “...Sometimes it's nobody's fault.”
Check back for updates.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.