Case against man charged with killing 2 people outside gas station headed to trial
AMBRIDGE, Pa. – The case against the man accused in the shooting deaths of two men who he said were part of a group that attacked him at an Ambridge gas station last month will move forward.
Brandon Lee Richardson, 31, was surrounded by supporters Friday during a preliminary hearing.
The judge heard testimony from two Ambridge police officers who told the judge they saw multiple shell casings, blood and a bullet hole in a silver sedan.
The prosecutor played surveillance video for the judge that the defense attorney said showed Richardson being jumped while standing at the back of his car and being beaten, kicked and punched.
Richardson’s attorney, Steve Townsend, said his client fired only after the group of five walked away and two came back and continued the assault. Brandon Everett and Lamar Seymour died in the shooting.
According to Townsend, Richardson didn’t know the people who allegedly jumped him, and everyone involved was at a bar in the evening, but nothing happened there.
Richardson, who Townsend says has stage 4 prostate cancer, was held for trial on all charges.
Pennsylvania Use of Force: Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Sec. 505
Use of force in self-protection.
(a) Use of force justifiable for protection of the person.—The use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.
(2) The use of deadly force is not justifiable under this section unless the actor believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat;
In late 2017, the Superior Court issued an absurd opinion regarding the interaction between Act 235 and PUFA. It held that an individual who is Act 235 certified is not entitled to carry a firearm to and from work, absent a license to carry firearms, regardless of the language in Act 235 that requires a private security guard carry his/her certificate when “on duty or going to and from duty and carrying a lethal weapon.” Although the Court stated that Act 235 and PUFA are not inconsistent, the opinion seems to indicate otherwise.
You might think that a person is exempt under Section 6106(b)(6), which declares:
(b) Exceptions. — The provisions of subsection (a) shall not apply to:
(6) Agents, messengers and other employees of common carriers, banks, or business firms, whose duties require them to protect moneys, valuables and other property in the discharge of such duties.
Well according to the Court you would be dead wrong. Why, well that question is a bit harder to answer as the Court stated that the EXCEPTIONS under Section 6106 are merely affirmative defenses. What does that mean? It means that the Commonwealth can and will arrest you if you have an Act 235 clearance, no firearm permit, AND you working in the scope of your employment. It doesn’t make any sense, but they are effectively saying that it would be a lawful arrest and at trial you could defend yourself by asserting Section 6106(b)(6) as an affirmative defense.
Think about the exception in Section 6101(b)(1): Constables, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens, or their deputies, policemen of this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions, or other law-enforcement officers.
Police officers, sheriffs etc. are not required to obtain concealed weapons permits for employment. Therefore, under the Court’s reasoning, a police officer who is carrying a firearm and does not have a concealed fireman permit should be arrested and have to prove he was acting as a police officer at trial.
If you are in law enforcement or have an Act 235 clearance, I strongly suggest that you obtain a license to carry under PUFA.