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State Attorney’s Office will not file charges against Marine vet in shooting case

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Prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office have declined to file charges against a man who shot and wounded another man on a dirt road in Weirsdale a few months ago.

Assistant State Attorney Toby Hunt, in a one-page memorandum outlining his reasoning for not moving forward with the case, cited that the defendant, Ronald L. Jones, has a “Stand Your Ground Claim, as the State has no ability to disprove that either the victim did not intentionally ram his truck into the defendant’s vehicle or that the victim’s following the defendant too closely caused the two vehicles to collide.”

If a charge had been filed against Jones, it would have been aggravated battery with a firearm.

On the morning of Feb. 24, Marion County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the 15300 block of Southeast 180th Street, just yards from the Lake County line, in reference to a shooting.

When detectives arrived, they were told there was a confrontation between Jones, of Lake County, and Wall, of Weirsdale. They were told that Jones had shot Wall several times. Wall was taken to a hospital for treatment. Jones had fled the scene.

Jones told the Star-Banner that he acted in self defense. He alleged Wall was following him and rear-ended his vehicle, then got out and tried to enter his vehicle. He said he fired several shots at Wall and hit him three times. Jones said he called 911 and a dispatcher told him not to leave. He said he drove away because he saw vehicles approaching and did not know what might happen.

A man who lives nearby said he saw a man standing over another man and firing shots. He said the man being shot at twice asked for help and that a vehicle drove up and someone took him away.

Jones said he and Wall were in close quarters when he shot Wall but he was not standing over him.

Hunt, in describing his reasoning for not pursuing the charge against Jones, said “the defendant could argue, and the State cannot disprove, that the defendant enjoys the presumption of reasonable fear under the Stand Your Ground law.”

Wall’s mother, Michelle Adams, said Jones had no reason to shoot her son and that they did not know him. She said she and her son were drinking coffee at home that morning when they saw a drone flying overhead. She said he wanted to know who was operating the drone and why, so he left in his truck, following the drone. Then, she said, he was following another vehicle and later heard gunfire.

Jones said that days before the shooting, his 2004 Yamaha motorcycle was stolen from his front yard and he thinks Wall was one of the people who took it.

Adams said her son did not steal the motorcycle.

In his statement, Hunt said while the state “does not condone the actions of either party, the State is ethically obligated to file only charges that it reasonably believes will result in a strong likelihood of conviction.”

Jones said he is glad they are not filing charges against him but is surprised they are not filing any charges against Wall because, he said, “Wall assaulted me.”

He said Wall rammed into his vehicle three times.

“I eliminated the threat, and he was a threat to me,” Jones said.

Jones said he is disabled veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and that “one hit to my head could have killed me because of head damage.”

Adams called the decision “disappointing.”

She said it is not fair and she is disappointed that someone can shoot another person who is defenseless.

— Contact Austin L. Miller at 867-4118, austin.miller@starbanner.com or @almillerosb.

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(c)2017 the Ocala Star-Banner (Ocala, Fla.) — www.ocala.com

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