Both sides rest in 'stand your ground' trial of ex-firefighter who killed teacher

Both sides rest in 'stand your ground' trial of ex-firefighter who killed teacher

Credit: HCSO

Raul Rodriguez is charged with murder in the death of Kelly Danaher

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by Jeremy Rogalski / KHOU 11

khou.com

Posted on June 12, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 12 at 2:58 PM

HOUSTON—Closing arguments in the murder trial of Raul Rodriguez are set to begin Wednesday morning.

Rodriguez, 47, a retired Baytown firefighter, is accused of killing a New Caney ISD teacher in a dispute over loud music in their rural northeast Harris County neighborhood.

It happened in May 2010 outside P.E. teacher Kelly Danaher’s home. He was hosting a party that Rodriguez, who lives nearby, said was too loud.

Rodriguez, his attorneys claim, called police several times before confronting the party-goers with a flashlight, gun and video camera.

Jurors last week viewed a 22-minute video in which Rodriguez claimed he feared for his life, and acted in self defense when he shot and killed Danaher, and wounded party-goers Ricky Johnson and Marshall Stetson.

But today, prosecutors called a neighbor to the stand who poked holes in those self defense claims, and portrayed Rodriguez as trigger-happy.

Terri Hackathorn testified how Rodriguez often bragged about his arsenal of weapons and she recalled an "unusual conversation" she and Rodriguez had a couple of months before the shooting.

Hackathorn testified Rodriguez came to her home excited about a new gun he bought, and coaching her about Texas’ "stand your ground" laws.

"As long as you tell authorities you fear for your life, than you can shoot (any) son of a bi**h," Hackathorn said Rodriguez told her.

Jurors also heard emotional testimony from widow Mindy Danaher Tuesday morning. She testified how she had no idea the neighbor’s noise complaint had escalated to violence.

"Everybody was hollering ‘call 911, call 911,’ and everybody was freaking out," Danaher said.

She said she heard a gunshot and ran into the house. Minutes later when Danaher returned outside, she had found her husband’s body in the front yard.

"I just dropped. I wasn’t expecting him to be over there. I just dropped to the ground," a crying Danaher said.

The defense didn't call any witnesses.

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