Here's the thing about Florida's "stand your ground" law: It doesn't cover beating the burglar to death with a baseball bat when you find him later in a Walmart parking lot.
A jury decided yesterday that 28-year-old John Henry did just that, convicting Henry of second-degree murder with a weapon -- which can earn him a maximum sentence of life in prison.
According to a police report from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, 37-year-old Isaias Arroyo was in the parking lot of a West Palm Beach Walmart around 7 p.m. on May 16, 2007, putting transmission fluid into his vehicle.
That's when someone driving a four-door Mitsubishi pulled up behind Arroyo's car, and Henry got out of the passenger's-side door.
Henry opened the trunk, pulled out a baseball bat, and began "savagely" beating Arroyo, according to the report.
Arroyo attempted to run -- making it to the entrance of the store -- before falling to the ground and taking more cracks from the bat.
Arroyo was hospitalized and died four days later from multiple blunt-force trauma, according to the cops.
By May 25, police made contact with the driver of the Mitsubishi after a witness to the beating gave the cops his license plate number.
The man told the cops Henry was looking for Arroyo because Arroyo had broken into his house twice in one day.
First Arroyo broke in and stole a DVD. Arroyo returned later that day, broke into the house again, and stole Henry's wallet from his pocket while he was sleeping on the couch -- making off with $250 cash and Henry's ID.
The man told the cops Henry had tried to find Arroyo that day but couldn't.
Then, while Henry and the Mitsubishi owner were driving down Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard on May 16, they spotted Arroyo driving.
They followed him to the Walmart store, and that's when Henry got out and told his friend to pop the trunk because he wanted to "talk" to Arroyo.
There wasn't much talking -- Henry beat Arroyo with the baseball bat, got back into the car, and told his friend that Arroyo "got what he deserved," the report states.
Police originally planned to charge Henry with first-degree murder, but that charge was reduced to second-degree murder by the time Henry went to trial.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
His sentencing isn't yet scheduled, but as we mentioned, the maximum sentence is life in prison.