Blind Florida Man Who Killed Buddy Gets His Guns Back

Was exonerated under Stand Your Ground
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2014 12:11 AM CST
Updated Feb 25, 2014 3:03 AM CST
Blind Florida Killer Gets His Guns Back
John Wayne Rogers, who has been legally blind since an accident in 2001, is seen in this booking photo.   (Seminole County Sheriff's Office)

A blind man in Florida who shot and killed a drinking buddy in March 2012 has been reunited with his guns after winning immunity from prosecution last month under the state's Stand Your Ground law. The judge in Sanford—the city where George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin—on Thursday said he had no choice but to give John Wayne Rogers his guns back, WESH reports. "I have to return property that was taken under the circumstance," Judge John Galluzzo said. "I have researched and haven't found case law to say otherwise."

The 40-year-old former Marine was reunited with his Glock handgun and the Remington assault rifle he shot friend James DeWitt, 34, with from a distance of no more than 18 inches, but the state decided his ammunition was "too old and dangerous" to return. After the hearing, Rogers—who the Orlando Sentinel earlier reported fired 15 rounds from a handgun at his cousin during another drunken night four years ago—told reporters he wants to be armed because it is his "constitutional right. I have been through enough, and I would like to retire." Rogers lost his sight in a 2001 work accident, and had insisted he needed the guns for protection. (More John Wayne Rogers stories.)

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