Judge: Man can't use 'stand your ground' defense at trial

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man who faces trial next month in the fatal shooting of two teens he found inside his garage won’t be allowed to use the state’s new “stand your ground” defense, a judge has ruled.

Montgomery County Judge Timothy O’Connell said in a ruling earlier this week the “stand your ground” law that took effect in April cannot be applied retroactively to the slayings of Devin Henderson and Javier Harrison in Dayton in August 2019, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Victor Santana, 65, is scheduled for trial June 7 on multiple counts of murder and felonious assault.

According to authorities, Santana shot the two 17-year-olds when he found them smoking marijuana inside a vehicle in the detached garage. Santana also shot that day at a third teen, who survived, authorities said.

Defense attorney Michael Pentecost filed a proposed jury instruction asking O’Connell to tell the jury about self-defense. Pentecost has indicated that he will argue that Santana acted in self-defense at trial.

Ohio’s “stand your ground” law no longer requires someone to retreat before they can shoot someone in self-defense.