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Grand Jury Clears Shooter In Firewood Dispute, Cites State’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

Parkville, MO – A Platte County grand jury on Wednesday determined that a 22 year old who fatally shot two men after a dispute involving a firewood delivery was justified under Missouri’s “stand your ground” law.

“Missouri’s ‘stand your ground’ law means people do not have to retreat before using force to defend themselves if they are in a place they have a right to be,” Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, according to WDAF.

“And while people can never use deadly force merely to protect property, they can use deadly force if they reasonably believe deadly force is necessary to protect themselves against death or serious physical injury,” Zahnd continued.

The incident occurred on Feb. 10 when 34-year-old Kalob Lawson and 44-year-old Jonathan Lutz were selling firewood in Platte County, WDAF reported.

Investigators said that Lawson and Lutz were paid $200 to deliver a cord of firewood to a home and that the homeowner paid them and then left before the wood had been completely unloaded.

Shortly after the homeowner left, the men stopped unloading wood and left the home, WDAF reported.

The homeowner’s 22-year-old son told investigators that he noticed Lawson and Lutz hadn’t delivered the amount of wood that had been paid for so he jumped into a truck and followed them.

Court documents said that when the son caught up with Lawson and Lutz on the side of a highway, he got out of his truck and asked “Are you just going to rob my dad?” WDAF reported.

When Lawson and Lutz got out of their truck, the son saw that Lawson had a 9mm pistol.

Court documents showed that the 22 year old said the men walked toward him and then Lawson raised his handgun and pointed it at him, WDAF reported.

The son told investigators that was when he reached into his car, grabbed a gun, and opened fire on the men.

Court records showed that he shot Lawson in the chest and face and Lutz in the abdomen and shoulder, WDAF reported.

After the shooting, the 22 year old went home, called 911 and reported what had happened, according to the Associated Press.

Lawson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lutz was transported to the hospital via ambulance where he later died, WDAF reported.

“This is a tragic case in which two people died in a dispute over a mere $200 of firewood, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families,” Zahnd said when he announced the decision. “Ultimately, however, after carefully considering the facts and hearing from multiple witnesses, the grand jury found no crime had been committed in the shooting.”

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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