(Fresno Bee) A Fresno man who fatally wounded a thief while protecting his backyard medical-marijuana garden last year was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter Tuesday.
[The victim, Stanley] Wallace and the others parked the two vehicles on Durant Avenue just west of [the patient, Phayvanh] Dydouangphan’s home, then the group began to tear down the fence to the garden. Awakened by barking dogs, Dydouangphan saw the intruders and, armed with a shotgun, fired a warning shot over their heads. Pandemonium broke out and the intruders quickly left in their van and pickup. But during the escape, Dydouangphan shot Wallace in the head as he sat in the passenger seat of the pickup, prosecutor Michael Frye said. He died two days later. Frye contended Dydouangphan didn’t have a right to shoot Wallace, because Wallace didn’t pose a threat. He said the defendant gave police the shotgun and told an officer: “They rob. I shoot.”
But Criego said Dydouangphan also had told police the thieves had guns. Criego said someone in the fleeing truck displayed a firearm “in a menacing fashion,” causing his client to fear for his life.
While medicine rippers are the lowest form of small-time criminal scum, right below bike thieves and pickpockets who target the elderly, you cannot run out to their escape vehicle and shoot them in the head. The patient was within his rights to defend himself and his property and when the warning shot drove the criminals away, that is where the encounter should have ended. The rippers, low as they are, did not threaten the patient’s life. Nobody, not even rippers, should die over marijuana.
Once again, however, there would be no rippers if marijuana weren’t so hard to come by and so expensive it’s worth ripping. Nobody brings a crew and tears down fences to rip off tomatoes from one’s home garden. Nobody stages elaborate and dangerous home invasion robberies to go after the case of beer in the fridge. Legalize marijuana for the healthy people who enjoy it and the patients never need worry about rippers again.