US man given 40 years in 'stand your ground' murder case

Image caption,
Rodriguez had maintained that his life was in danger on the night he shot his neighbour

A US man has been sentenced to four decades in prison after being found guilty of murdering his neighbour.

Raul Rodriguez, from Texas, shot teacher Kelly Danaher after an argument about a noisy party.

He had argued that a state law known as "stand your ground" allowed him to shoot the 36-year-old.

A similar defence is also being used by a Florida neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot dead unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February.

The "stand your ground" doctrine grants individuals scope to use deadly force if they feel seriously in danger.

In a video he recorded on the night of the shooting, Rodriguez can be heard telling police that his life was in danger.

"These people are going to go try and kill me," he says, and adds "I'm standing my ground here" before shooting dead Mr Danaher and wounding two others, AP reports.

Prosecutors said that former fireman Rodriguez was the aggressor as he was carrying a gun when he went on to his neighbour's drive and could have safely left at any time.

The case has been closely watched in the US because the self-defence doctrine used as a defence by Rodriguez is similar, though not identical, to that being used by George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch volunteer facing trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Florida police did not arrest Mr Zimmerman for six weeks after the shooting because he said he opened fire in self-defence.

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