Attorney: SC 'Stand Your Ground' defenses increasing - - Columbia, South Carolina

Attorney: SC 'Stand Your Ground' defenses increasing

Kierin Marcellus Dennis (Source: Lexington County Detention Center) Kierin Marcellus Dennis (Source: Lexington County Detention Center)

Attorney Jack Swerling has tried "Stand Your Ground" cases several times and most have been successful.

He says the case of a fatal stabbing in Lexington could fit the bill, but there will be a lot of questions.

Lexington Police say 17-year-old Da'Von Capers was stabbed by 18-year-old Kierin Dennis during a fight near the Cook-Out Restaurant in Lexington.

Now, Dennis' attorney, Todd Rutherford, says his client felt threatened, and it's a "Stand Your Ground" case.

Attorney Jack Swerling, who does not represent Dennis, says "Stand Your Ground" takes self-defense to the next level.

"Now, under the ‘Stand Your Ground' rule, certain things are presumed. For example, if you're in a car and someone is trying to enter the car, there's a presumption that you're in reasonable fear of imminent death or bodily harm," says Swerling.

"Stand Your Ground" has been in play in South Carolina since 2006.

"I would say now we're seeing a big increase in these claims being made that your conduct is protected by this statute," says Swerling. "Eight years ago it was not that well-known, and so it takes time for people to catch up and realize that this is absolute immunity if you can come within that statute, and you can't be prosecuted."

Rutherford says Dennis never got out of his car. He claims Capers stuck his hand into the car and Dennis felt like he had to defend himself.

Swerling says it's not a guarantee "Stand Your Ground" will work.

"The question is going to be whether-or-not the person was forcibly entering the vehicle," says Swerling.

Rutherford successfully defended a high-profile Stand Your Ground case in 2013. His client, Shannon Anthony Scott, was cleared of murder charges following the 2010 shooting death of Keenan High School student Darrell Niles.

Scott fatally shot Niles from his front yard after his daughter was followed home and threatened by a group of girls in an SUV.

Niles, who was sitting in another vehicle when he was shot, was unarmed.

As for this current case, Rutherford does not know his chances for successfully defending Dennis with the "Stand Your Ground" defense.

"It's always hard to tell, but my client has the right to defend himself," says Rutherford.

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