A judge ruled that a Tulsa man didn't have the right to stand his ground when he shot a process server.
Former candidate for governor Christopher Barnett, 36, could be seen on video in a heated argument with a process server on his front step last July. The video shows the pair exchange words before the server begins to leave. While leaving, the two continue to argue. A plume of smoke suddenly fills the frame while the server doubles over and runs off Barnett’s front lawn.
Barnett claimed the shooting was justified under the state’s stand your ground law, because he thought he saw a gun in the server’s front pocket and feared for his life. While testifying Thursday, he said he didn't realize the man was a process server because it was so late at night.
But prosecutors said the process server never pulled out a weapon. They also argued Barnett had interacted with process servers before and had researched whether it was legal to shoot one.
According to the law, "A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force."
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The server is not seen attacking or advancing toward Barnett in the video, and the judge said Barnett could not use the law to say he was defending himself.
Oklahoma's stand your ground law isn't often tested in courts, and the ruling could affect how the state’s suit of self-defense laws are used in court. Those laws include stand your ground, but also the castle doctrine, which is meant to protect homes or businesses. The so-called "make my day" law allows bystanders to get involved in situations where they perceive their life or someone else's life to be in danger.
Barnett’s case also comes after Oklahoma recently passed one of the more expansive open carry laws in the country. The law allows Oklahomans to carry firearms without training or certification.
Barnett also faces four counts in a separate case of threatening a mass shooting at the University of Tulsa and threatening multiple staff members there.