Defendant in murder case claims “Stand Your Ground” law

The defendant in a 2017 Rogers County murder argues that the act fell under the “Stand Your Ground Law”

Around Nov. 21, 2017, Michael Eugene Spears, 53, was arrested in connection to the murder of Mark McKinney.

Police reported at the time that McKinney was a visitor in Spear’s home when an altercation ensued that resulted in McKinney being killed with a sword.

Recently, Spears appeared in Rogers County District Court after his attorney filed a motion to dismiss, citing the Stand Your Ground Law.

Oral arguments were heard, but ultimately the judge overruled the motion to dismiss.

District Attorney Matt Ballard, on behalf of the state filed a response to the motion to dismiss.

“[Spears] has failed to demonstrate he used lawful self-defense when he stabbed Mr. McKinney to death with a sword and his motion to dismiss should be overruled,” Ballard writes. “The law regarding self-defense in Oklahoma is straightforward and only applicable in limited circumstances. Truly justifiable homicides are few and far between once all the facts of any given circumstances are taken into consideration.”

Ballard states that the statute Spears was attempting to use to “immune himself of consequences for his killing of Mr. McKinney has been addressed recently by the Court of Criminal Appeals in several cases.

Ballard outlines three such cases.

“The defendant’s attempt to justify his actions as self-defense is extremely suspect. The defendant repeatedly stabbed Mr. McKinney with a sword, including stab wounds in the back. Mr. McKinney was unarmed when the defendant stabbed him to death,” Ballard writes. “The physical evidence demonstrated the victim was very likely on the floor as he was being repeatedly stabbed. The defendant failed to immediately notify law enforcement of the death of Mr. McKinney.”

According to Ballard’s response, Spears gave varying accounts of what had occurred in the time leading up to Mr. McKinney’s death during the preliminary stage of the investigation.

Spears is quoted in telling investigators “he did not intend to kill Mr. McKinney” and that he “thought the sword was in its sheath when he used it against him.”

Ballard concluded, “These are not the actions or words of a person who truly believes what they did was lawful and justified; rather these actions are demonstrative of the defendant’s consciousness of guilt and an attempt to cover-up his unjustified killing of Mr. McKinney.”

He says that as he does not believe Spears was acting in self-defense, he is therefore not entitled to the conditional immunity of the “Stand Your Ground Law.”

Additionally, Spears’ attorney filed a motion to quash.

“The second motion heard in court, a motion to quash, was essentially that they wanted to amend the charges. Spears was charged with robbery, and the motion was a legal challenge that it could not be robbery because they had stolen from the victim after he was already deceased. Essentially, they wanted the charge amended to larceny,” said Claremore Police Department’s Deputy Chief Steve Cox. “The judge overruled that motion and said the robbery charge would stand. The case is now awaiting trial.”