Victim: Jason Bradley Payne (killed)
The accused: William T. Wilkerson Jr.

Payne

Jason Bradley Payne

White male

Age at time: 22

Weapon: unarmed

Victim photo: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

 
Wilkerson

William T. Wilkerson Jr.

White male

Age at time: 19

Weapon: gun

gun

Defendant photo: Florida Department of Corrections

Case type:
Fight at bar/party

Location:
In Defendant's Car

Initiator:
Victim

Witnesses:
Yes

Case year:
2007

Location details: Driveway during a party in Wellington, Palm Beach County, on Nov. 22, 2007

What happened: Jason Payne, 22, drunk and angry at another man for flirting with his girlfriend, ordered him to leave a birthday party. As he left, witnesses said, William T. Wilkerson flashed a gun and threatened to kill Payne. Payne followed him to his truck and punched out Wilkerson's truck window, prompting Wilkerson to fire his handgun three times. Two shots to the chest killed the unarmed Payne. Wilkerson drove away but was quickly stopped by an officer who happened to be nearby.

The outcome: Prosecutors went forward with murder charges, but a jury sided with Wilkerson's "stand your ground" defense and found him not guilty of murder. They convicted him of a less serious charge, discharging a firearm from a vehicle, for which a judge ordered him to serve four years. Wilkerson had already spent two years in prison while his case moved through the system.

Investigating agency: Wellington Police

Case decision made by: Jury

Trayvon Martin’s death became controversial because circumstances leading up to the shooting cast doubt on who was to blame. The Tampa Bay Times reviewed other “stand your ground” cases for similar circumstances. The Times relied on available information, some of which may not tell the whole story. When the situation was unclear, that was noted.

Yes No Unclear/
disputed

Did the victim initiate the confrontation?

Check

Was the victim armed?

Check

Was the victim committing a crime that led to the confrontation?

Check

Did the defendant pursue the victim?

Check

Could the defendant have retreated to avoid the conflict?

Check

Was the defendant on his or her property?

Check

Did someone witness the attack?

Check

Was there physical evidence?

Check

Source: Palm Beach Post, Feb. 24, 2010.

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Case last updated: Aug. 10, 2013