Victims: Stephen Bunting (killed), John Lott (killed)
The accused: John T. Dorsey

Stephen_Bunting

Stephen Bunting

White male

Age at time: 20

Weapon: unarmed

Lott

John Lott

White male

Age at time: 19

Weapon: unarmed

Victim photo: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

 
Dorsey

John T. Dorsey

White male

Age at time: 20

Weapon: gun

gun

Defendant photo: Palm Beach County, 2012

Case type:
Fight at bar/party

Location:
Other Private Property

Initiator:
Victim

Witnesses:
Yes

Case year:
2006

Location details: A keg party in Loxahatchee, Palm Beach County, on Aug. 25, 2006

What happened: John Dorsey showed up at a keg party and got into an argument with a group of young men who approached Dorsey as he was leaning against his SUV. John Lott, 19, punched Dorsey in the face and Dorsey pulled a gun and shot him and 20-year-old Stephen Beau Bunting, who had been egging his friend on. Dorsey jumped in his car and left; he said he was acting in self-defense. Though both victims were unarmed, they had a reputation for violence. Lott had a roll of coins wrapped in black electrical tape in his pants pocket.

The outcome: Jury found John Dorsey guilty of two counts of 2nd-degree murder and he was given two life sentences. But an appeals court in 2011 ordered a new trial and said the evidence could only support charges of manslaughter, which carries a lighter sentence. "The evidence showed an impulsive overreaction to an attack, warranting convictions for manslaughter but not second degree murder," the appeals court wrote. In July of 2012, Dorsey was convicted on two counts of manslaughter and could face a maximum of 60 years in prison.

Investigating agency: Palm Beach County Sheriff

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: Fourth District State Court of Appeal, Oct. 19, 2011.

Source: Palm Beach Post, Aug. 27, 2006.

Source: Palm Beach Post, Oct. 20, 2011. Link to original source

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Case last updated: Aug. 10, 2013