Oakley A northwest Kansas man who shot a former employee last summer won't have to go to trial on an aggravated battery charge after a judge granted him immunity under the state's "Stand Your Ground" law.
The trial for David Collins of Oakley was scheduled to start Monday, but Thomas County Chief Judge Glenn Schiffner granted him immunity from civil or criminal liability late last week. That caused the case to be dropped.
Oakley's attorney, Billy Rork, said the ruling might be groundbreaking in Kansas.
"I don't know of another case that's been granted," he told The Salina Journal.
The case stemmed from a confrontation on March 5, 2013, in which Oakley resident Desmond Bowles went to the home of Collins' father, Phillip Collins, even though he had been told to stay away from the property, Rork said.
Bowles, a former employee of the family's farm and ranch, "consumed multiple alcoholic beverages" and drove a three-wheeler to Phillip Collins' home, according to court records.
"There had been problems with him before, and he was told not to come onto the property," Rork said.
David Collins approached in a pickup truck and got into an argument with Bowles, who reached through the driver's side window, a court document shows.
"Collins pushed him away and grabbed his gun to scare Bowles. During the altercation, the gun went off," the document states.
A bullet from the .22-caliber handgun entered Bowles' left eye and exited through his left ear, costing him sight in his left eye, Rork said.
Bowles argued that Collins shot him from several feet away, but a defense expert testified the shooting was from 12 inches or less based on evidence of gun powder and other residue on Bowles' sunglasses.
"The firearm was one to two inches away," Rork said. "The judge found the victim's story wasn't believable."