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Monclair shooting uses Stand your Ground defense
ESCAMBIA COUNTY -- ESCAMBIA COUNTY -- Florida's controversial 'Stand Your Ground' law is now being used in a Pensacola case, and murder charges are being dropped.
Last April, Earl Moultrie was arrested for a deadly shooting on Medford Avenue in the Montclair neighborhood. He was charged with second degree murder.
At the time it was too early to tell if the shooting was in self-defense. Now an Escambia County judge has dismissed the murder charge citing Stand Your Ground.
Adrianna Hurst remembers the day well her neighbor Earl Moultrie, 36, shot and killed Landi Benitez.
"They made it seem like it was a gang related activity because this area is known for gangs so they felt like it was that, when he was really defending himself and his family" said Adrianna Hurst, neighbor.
Hurst was one of several neighbors who testified as witnesses in the case.
Those witness statements is what helped dismiss Moultrie's murder charge.
"It made me feel good because a lot of us didn't think the stand your ground law would work for him because he had been in for so long" said Hurst.
At the time, Moultrie's family also claimed Stand Your Ground.
"Now my brother-in-law is sitting there facing homicide for protecting his house, and his six kids" said Yolanda King, Moultrie Family Member.
Moultrie claims Benitez and his friends, threatened to kill him and his family while in his front yard.
The judge believed Moultrie was justified to use deadly force because he didn't have a duty to retreat.
As a result, he should be immune from criminal prosecution.
"I think he did the right thing. I would have defended my family too" said Michelle Streeter, Neighbor.
Michelle Streeter lived next door to Moultrie when the shooting happened.
Her husband also testified in the case.
They both are glad the stand your ground law worked out in Moultrie's favor.
"I'm glad he's back home with his kids, and his girlfriend and he can get his life back to normal and hope there won't be any more problems with the same related ones that are out there" said Streeter,
Neighbors are happy this case has been solved and they can have some closure.