FORT PIERCE, FLORIDA — An armed citizen is again a free man after a judge threw out his case, but not before the man spent 2 years behind bars.
Two years after Jason Dames was jailed for fatally shooting a man at a Fort Pierce restaurant, a judge threw out his case after ruling the killing was justified under the state’s “stand your ground” law.
Dames, 33, was charged with second-degree murder with a firearm in connection with the Sept. 1, 2018 homicide of Jackie McMiller, 38, of Fort Pierce, which records show occurred at a restaurant at the southwest corner of North 25th Street and Avenue D in Fort Pierce.via tcpalm.com
A stand your ground hearing found that Dames was justified in the shooting, citing medical conditions that Dames has, creating a reasonable fear that he could be more susceptible to injuries and death during the attack.
“The basis for this entire incident was a medical condition that gave (Dames) a reason to believe he could die when he was attacked,” his attorney said. “And the lead detective never looked into it.”
Dames is blind in one eye and has a shunt in his head, which leaves him vulnerable in the event of a head injury, [his attorney] said.
“The detective knew of this because he (Dames) cooperated and told her this,” his attorney said. “That’s why he was scared for his life and she never consulted a doctor before arresting him.”
In his order, Roby detailed McMiller’s assault on Dames, including strikes “in the head and face with rabbit punches and direct upper cuts” causing Dames to fall backwards in a defensive position. He also noted McMiller, at 6-foot 3-inches tall and 316 pounds, was much larger than Dames.
Citing video of the incident, Roby stated Dames is seen retreating from the “multiple barrages of punches to the head and face” until he falls to the ground several feet away.
Feeling dizzy and fearful of passing out and being further attacked Dames “reached into his pocket and pulled out his lawfully concealed pistol to keep Mr. McMiller from continuing his onslaught against him,” Roby wrote. “Dames then fires his handgun and shoots to defend himself from a continuation of the attack by Mr. McMiller.”
According to arrest records, McMiller aggressively approached Dames after exiting a car in front of Chinese Thai To Go, also known as the Rice Hut, and soon began punching Dames in the head, who’d been walking with his cousin before the altercation.
In a statement to police, Dames said he didn’t know McMiller, but he knew his female roommate was friends with him.
It’s sad to hear that Dames spent two years of his life in jail, but justice seems to have prevailed in this instance. No one ever wants to shoot another human being, but when your life is threatened in a serious way, it’s one of the few remaining options in order to survive.