DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A man charged with killing a neighbor, plans to use Georgia's stand your ground law as his defense. Police said the shooting is clearly a case of murder.
George Johns III, 33, faces a murder charge after DeKalb County police said he shot and killed Darrell Ford, 45, on Seven Oaks Circle in Conley on Thursday.
"Are you a murderer?" Channel 2's Tom Jones asked Johns as he turned himself in at the DeKalb County jail Sunday morning.
Johns did not answer the question.
"My lawyer is Jackie Patterson. He will answer all my questions," Johns eventually said.
Johns' attorney said his client is no murderer.
"My client had no choice but to defend him himself," Patterson said while escorting Johns into the jail.
DeKalb County police said this incident began Thursday when Johns and another man engaged in a verbal dispute with Ford on Seven Oaks Circle in Conley.
Officers said that's when Johns shot Ford multiple times. Officers say Ford was not armed. "All indications are that the suspect was the only person that was armed during this encounter," DeKalb County Police Spokeswoman Mekka Parish said.
Patterson said Ford had a gun and was about to use it.
"This is a textbook example of Georgia's Stand Your Ground Law," he said.
Patterson said the incident began after a neighbor's pit bull severely injured Johns' 10-year-old stepson. He said the neighbor and his friend, Ford, began taunting Johns after the dog over the incident.
Patterson said Ford came on Johns' property and threatened him.
"If my client didn't get the draw on him first my client would probably be dead today," he said.
Police said the shooting took place off Johns' property in the street. Michael Lockhart, the dog
owner, also said he saw Johns shoot Ford in the street.
Lockhart said Johns had been trying to fight him since his son came into his yard and was bitten by his pit bull. Lockhart said he had told the child not to come in his yard, but the child did anyway.
He showed pictures of Johns standing in the street threatening him.
After Johns hugged family members before going to jail, police said this is clearly not a stand your ground case.
"The suspect is the only individual that was armed during this incident," Parish said.
Neighbors said Johns and the dog owner had been going at it for a number of reasons. Ford's girlfriend said he was trying to be the peacemaker.
Police said they are still investigating what prompted the deadly shooting.