While on active duty with the Unites States Air Force and stationed in Tampa, Florida, in 2010 Michael Giles, a native of Atlanta, Georgia was invited by a friend to a party in Tallahassee, Florida. Shorty after arriving at their destination the group found themselves in a volatile atmosphere. Several brawls broke out at the party involving various groups. This caused the entire club of patrons to be pushed outside by security. In the midst of the chaos Michael was separated from his friends, the only two people he knew in the area. Witnesses on the scene described the brawl that had continued in the parking lot as mayhem, dangerous, and even deadly. Several individuals in the crowd were overheard mentioning shooting and the fraternities fighting began calling in reinforcements.
Soon several cars pulled up and the two groups broke into another huge brawl. Witnesses stated there were between 20-40 people fighting. Michael tried his best to avoid the crowd and the groups of men fighting when all of a sudden he was rushed by a crowd of people from the front. He tried to move but his unknown attacker struck him from behind, at which point he fell to the ground. With so many people fighting around him and his attacker close by, Michael fired his weapon to get away from the fighting.
Later during trial his attacker admitted to not knowing Michael. Several witnesses stated that Michael was just standing to the side not provoking anyone, or causing a commotion. They testified that his attacker had been acting erratically the entire night and was responsible for several of the fights that had broken out previously. A close friend of Michael's attacker even stated that she was worried he would seriously injure or kill someone if he did not stop. His attacker admitted in open court "I wanted to badly hurt the next person I saw". He admitted that Michael did nothing provoke him.
Michael had a legal right to carry and conceal. He has been trained to handle a fire arm by the United States Airforce and was in an area he had a legal right to be. He was attacked, and defended himself. He feared that the angry mob would turn on him and he would be killed or seriously injured. He fired a warning shot to get away from his attackers, and is now serving a 25 year sentence in Florida. The only bullet found showed no evidence of hitting anyone. The state ignored witnesses statements of multiple gun shots being fired during the fight.
Believing he was within his rights to defend himself Michael, he was never offered a plea deal from the state, and was yet convicted to a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison. His Judge stated that he felt the evidence presented did not justify a 25 year sentence and if he could, he would give him an alternative sentence. But due to the current mandatory minimum law he was forced to give Michael the 25 years. The officer who prepared Michael's sentencing recommendation reported that she felt Michael should be sentenced to probation due to his clean criminal record, him defending himself, lack of a violent history, & his dedication to serving in U.S Airforce. The state rejected her recommendation and pushed for the 25 years.
36 · ·