Michigan State University and ex-NBA star Adreian Payne, 31, was shot and killed after he accompanied his girlfriend to her female friend’s home where a domestic violence incident was underway.
The suspect in the case, Lawrence Dority, has pleaded not guilty, according to The Detroit Free Press. He has been charged with first-degree murder with a firearm and was arrested at his home, which was the scene of the shooting. Dority waived his right to an arraignment.
Per the Free Press report, Payne’s girlfriend’s name has been redacted from the affidavit, but she allegedly described the relationship between Dority and her friend, Tatiana Mesa as one where the couple argued often. She added that she “has previously responded to be a ‘mediator’ to prevent any physical violence.”
The shooting was witnessed by Dority’s father who dropped his son off at the home where Payne and his girlfriend were in a car waiting. The two men reportedly argued and Dority claims that he was intimidated by the size difference. Payne was 6 feet 10 and 244 pounds; Dority’s court file lists him as 5-8, 150.
The man also told police that Payne made threatening gestures including reaching near his waistband. However, he was unarmed. Further, a witness said that Payne was not acting in a threatening way at all. After shooting Payne, Dority called 9-1-1 and his father provided the former athlete with medical aid.
Florida is a Stand Your Ground state where the law states, “A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
Orange County Sheriff’s chose to file charges against Dority, in part, because he left the scene and returned with a gun, further, because they felt that Payne was no immediate threat in the situation.