Victim: Donald Pettit (killed)
The accused: James Patrick Wonder

Pettit

Donald Pettit

White male

Age at time: 52

Weapon: unarmed

Victim photo: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

 
Wonder

James Patrick Wonder

White male

Age at time: 65

Weapon: gun

gun

Defendant photo: Broward County Sheriff's Office

Case type:
Road rage

Location:
Public

Initiator:
Victim

Witnesses:
Yes

Case year:
2008

Location details: In a post office parking lot in Pembroke Pines, Broward County, on Aug. 05, 2008

What happened: James Wonder and Donald Pettit began arguing with each other in what authorities described as a road rage incident. Wonder pulled over into a post office parking lot and Pettit followed to continue the argument. Pettit, a federal customs agent, had his 12-year-old daughter with him and left his gun in his car when he got out to confront Wonder. Wonder did not call police after he shot Pettit and tried to hide his involvement by coloring his hair and renting a car.

The outcome: A grand jury indicted Wonder on manslaughter but indicated they believed the victim shared fault in the slaying. At the "stand your ground" hearing for immunity, the judge said the law did not apply. Judge Bernard Bober wrote that Pettit did not pose an imminent threat to Wonder and should not have been met with deadly force. The trial is pending.

Investigating agency: Pembroke Pines Police

Case decision made by: Judge

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: Miami Herald, Aug. 29, 2008.

Source: Sun Sentinel, Oct. 23, 2011. Link to original source

Source: Supreme Court of Florida review, May 26, 2011.

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Case last updated: Aug. 10, 2013