Stephanie White, center, mother of Jarelle Glenn, celebrates his release after a judge dismissed murder charges against him Monday at the Lee County Courthouse.
Fort Myers, Florida (News-Press) -- Jarelle Glenn was jubilant Monday at his exoneration from a
second-degree murder charge under the Stand Your Ground Law and looked
to start a new life.
"A new life, a new
life in Christ," he said, after a judge ruled Monday that he acted
"reasonably" when he shot and killed Tommy Johnson II in 2011, because
he feared for his life and the lives of two companions.
is the reason why I'm free today," Glenn said after leaving his orange
prison jumpsuit and chains behind and walking out of the courtroom a
free man. He hugged his attorney, Tracey Redd, beaming.
Justin Aho, a friend of Johnson, didn't hear an answer to his prayers
in Judge Frank Porter's ruling. He walked out of the courtroom, stunned,
stared straight ahead and couldn't speak for a few moments. Then he
said the judge's decision sends the wrong message.
just think that this ruling basically makes 80 percent of the country
think that in the state of Florida it's easy to get off with murder,"
Stand Your Ground Law allows somebody in fear of his or her life the
right to use deadly force. The law came under national attention last
year when George Zimmerman, a Sanford neighborhood watch volunteer,
considered using it to justify killing unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman ended up using a standard self-defense argument, and was found
26, had been charged with shooting Johnson, 25, during a confrontation
outside the apartment he shared with Demetris Beckworth - Glenn's
ex-girlfriend and Johnson's sister. The confrontation stemmed from a
fight Glenn and Beckworth had the night before the shooting.
paraphrased from his written ruling as he went step-by-step through the
chronology of the shooting and his reasons for finding that the Stand
Your Ground Law applies to the case.
the night of the shooting, Glenn was tracked down by Beckworth through
her GPS and was threatened with physical harm by Beckworth's cousin and
others through text, phone call and verbally, the judge said.
When Glenn went to the apartment he shared with Beckworth to get his
clothes, he was confronted by Johnson, his brother and others among a
group of eight men. Glenn and two companions, who remained in a vehicle,
heard the popping of a trunk, and feared someone in the group was
getting a gun, the judge said.
Johnson and two of the men advanced aggressively, holding their
waistbands as if they were about to draw guns. It was found later that
Johnson wasn't carrying a gun, but "the fact no weapon was found on the
deceased does not negate the impression he or his friends possessed
one," Porter said.
court finds that the defendant proved by a preponderance of evidence
that he acted reasonably" when he shot Johnson, he said.
are obviously thrilled at the outcome," Redd said. "We think it's the
right decision. Obviously the emotions are mixed. Both men's lives have
been changed forever, and our heart goes out to the decedent's family."
Nothing changes the fact that Glenn killed his friend, Aho said. "I pray God will give me the strength to forgive him for this."