A New Orleans homeowner booked with aggravated battery for shooting a man on his property was acting in self-defense, his attorney claimed in a Wednesday court hearing where the man’s bail was set at $50,000.
The noon shooting occurred just feet from Delima’s wife and sent a shocked Entergy crew converging on the scene.
Two vastly different narratives have emerged about what happened.
On one side, Delima’s lawyer, Jesse Beasley, claims that his client was defending himself against an unknown man he suspected of burglarizing his property. But the victim of the shooting told police he was simply urinating in Delima’s yard when Delima let loose as many as 10 shots.
As Delima approached the property he is renovating on Louisiana Avenue, Beasley said, he spotted the man in his yard. As Delima approached, “he observed the person with something in his hands, with either burglary tools or a weapon.”
Fearing for his safety, Delima started shooting, according to Beasley, but he “did not intend to cause serious bodily harm to this individual.” Beasley also noted that after shooting the victim, Delima stayed on the scene and asked onlookers to call the police.
There was one major problem with Delima’s story, according to Assistant District Attorney Michael Henn.
The victim was wounded not one but three times, including once in the buttocks, which meant he had to have been turned away from Delima when at least one of the shots was fired.
“The victim didn’t have any weapons on his person,” added Henn. “(He) was more or less running away.”
Louisiana law generally allows people to use force, even deadly force, when they have reason to believe they are in danger of serious injury or death.
“We certainly anticipate using a justification of defense — whether self-defense, defense of others or the castle doctrine,” said Beasley. “Everything’s on the table.”
The “castle doctrine” says that a person can use force to defend himself against an intruder, especially when he has reason to fear death or serious bodily harm to himself.
Two witnesses said at the scene Tuesday that they were shocked by Delima’s treatment of the wounded man once he had been shot.
Larry Gaskins, who also was interviewed by NOPD Detective Drew Deacon, said he ran up to the scene of the shooting and saw Delima kick the victim while he was on the ground.
Interviewed by a detective at the hospital, however, the victim did not state the shooter kicked him.
Another man, a member of an Entergy crew working across Louisiana Avenue, said he heard 10 shots in rapid succession.
He said he saw Delima train his gun on the wounded man and warn him, “You move again, I’m going to kill you.”
The victim admitted to police that he was urinating in Delima’s yard before the altercation began.
Delima’s wife told Deacon in a statement that she and her husband saw the victim walk into the alleyway near their house and decided that he might have been responsible for several recent burglaries on their property.
Delima climbed over the fence to their property and then she heard gunshots, the wife said.
Delima himself requested an attorney before a detective could finish advising him of his Miranda rights against self-incrimination, according to a police report.
Beasley said his client is a Russell Construction employee who has no prior criminal record. Both Delima and the victim list home addresses just blocks away from the scene of the shooting.
Beasley said he anticipated that Delima would be bailed out of jail Wednesday night.
“He’s fearful that there’s going to be retribution,” said the lawyer. “He needed to get out of jail as soon as possible.”