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


Donald Pettit

White male

Age at time: 52

Weapon: unarmed

Victim photo: South Florida Sun-Sentinel


James Patrick Wonder

White male

Age at time: 65

Weapon: gun


Defendant photo: Broward County Sheriff's Office

Case type:
Road rage




Case year:

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/

Did the victim initiate the confrontation?


Was the victim armed?


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


Did the defendant pursue the victim?


Could the defendant have retreated to avoid the conflict?


Was the defendant on his or her property?


Did someone witness the attack?


Was there physical evidence?


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.

Click here for more information about how we compiled these cases. Know of something we missed or have a photo to share? Submit a case here.


Case last updated: Aug. 10, 2013