In Oklahoma, there is such a thing as justifiable homicide, in which the killing of another person is not against the law. However, there are specific circumstances under which a homicide is considered justified, and "disrespect," is not one of them.
An Oklahoma City man has been charged with murder for allegedly shooting a man with whom he argued earlier in the day. Adam Bernard Jones, 30, reportedly argued with Kiah Dykes, Sr., 44 on May 27, an altercation that was confirmed by a witness to the argument and by Dykes's girlfriend, who claimed she knew of the verbal altercation that day.
Around 1:00 a.m. on May 28, police responded to the scene of a shooting at an Oklahoma City apartment complex. There, they found a coherent but seriously injured Dykes. He reportedly told police that "Adam" shot him. He was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.
One witness claims to have seen both the argument and the shooting, and this witness identified Jones as the shooter. Dykes's girlfriend likewise reported that her boyfriend identified Jones as his shooter. Police arrested Jones and reportedly found messages on his phone stating, "I had to shoot him, he disrespected me twice."
Jones was arrested on complaints of first degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm. His felony status comes after prior convictions of burglary, drug possession, kidnapping, and concealing stolen property.
Clearly, "disrespect" is not a criteria for justifiable homicide, and Oklahoma law is specific in determining the conditions under which it is legal or excusable to take the life of another. According to 21 OK Stat § 21-733 homicide is justifiable in the following circumstances:
1. When resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to commit any felony upon him, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person is;
2. When committed in the lawful defense of such person or of another, when the person using force reasonably believes such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to terminate or prevent the commission of a forcible felony; or
3. When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed; or in lawfully suppressing any riot; or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.
In other words, homicide is justifiable when it is committed in an effort to protect oneself or others from serious bodily injury or death as a result of a violent felony attempted by the person killed. Homicide is not typically considered justifiable if it is committed in the defense of property or if it is committed after the threat of violence has been neutralized or diverted.
While Oklahoma has permissive gun laws, it is important toknow the laws surrounding the use of lethal force. Such knowledge can mean the difference between being cleared of any offense and going to prison forlife.