Stand Your Ground laws exist in more than twenty states across the United States, including South Carolina. In the Palmetto State, a person is protected from prosecution if they reasonably believe their life or someone else’s life is in danger and they neutralize the threat with deadly force (or other types of force). That being said, you would think that shooting someone and then burning their body in an attempt to cover up the murder would not fall under the umbrella of Stand Your Ground protection — unfortunately, a judge in South Carolina disagrees and a murderer is now out on bail.
In March, James Edward Loftis, 39, was arrested after he shot and killed his taxi driver, Guma Oz Dubar, 46, and the driver’s friend James Cody Newland, 32. Loftis refused to pay the driver after he gave him a ride home from a strip club. Loftis told police two different accounts of what happened that night, which is odd for someone who was just protecting himself. He told detectives that he invited the two men into his home, but in another statement said they barged into his home.
After firing eight shots at the men, killing them, Loftis dragged their bodies outside, dug a hole, placed them into a shallow grave, threw his bloody clothes in with them and set them on fire. During the bail hearing, Deputy Solicitor Bryan Alfaro said,”They were essentially just slow-cooked inside the grave site.”
Loftis also cleaned his house with bleach in an attempt to get rid of all of the evidence. However, he did leave some convenient evidence for the police to find, a size 12 footprint by the door and blood on the door jam. His attorney, Stephen Harris, claims that this evidence proves he acted in self-defense and he shouldn’t be punished for panicking afterward:
He’s a human being. He freaked out and thought he was going to prison, so he tried to hide the bodies. Nobody knows how you’re going to react when you kill two people.
Yep, it is totally normal to clean up all of the blood and then slow cook the bodies. Seems reasonable right?
Apparently, Circuit Judge Markley Dennis thinks it does and granted the murderer a $250,000 bond.
The decision to grant him bond is mindblowing. It’s more evidence of just how screwed up the justice system is in this country. He did everything he could to cover up his crime, including changing his story to police and he is now allowed to roam the streets before his trial. Let’s all hope he doesn’t decide to “stand his ground” before he goes in front of a jury.
Featured image via WYFF4