Defendant, victim's daughter testify in Valrico manslaughter hearing

TAMPA - Trevor Dooley said in court Thursday that he was being attacked and choked when he shot and killed David James in September, 2010.

Dooley is charged with manslaughter in James' death.

That day, James and his 8-year-old daughter Danielle were playing basketball on a neighborhood court in Valrico. A teenage skateboarder was skating on the other side of the court.

Dooley, who lives across the street, saw the skateboarder and yelled at him that he was not allowed to skate on the court. James stuck up for the teenager, yelling to Dooley to show him the sign saying he was not allowed to skate.

A verbal altercation between Dooley and James ensued. That altercation at some point became physical, and ended when Dooley -- who has a concealed weapons' permit -- took his gun out and shot James.

Both sides disagree on the altercation though. The prosecution argues Dooley showed James he had a gun, and that is when the altercation became physical. They portray Dooley as the aggressor.  

The defense argues it was James who attacked Dooley, and Dooley only took the gun out in self-defense.

They want a judge to dismiss the manslaughter charges against Dooley, based on Florida's ‘Stand Your Ground' Law, which allows you to respond with force if you feel threatened.

Dooley testified Thursday at a hearing on that subject. He told the judge he "felt threatened" and "was being choked" by James, who he said "was killing" him. He fully admitted to firing the shot that killed James.

His attorney also tried to portray Dooley as an older, smaller and physically weaker man than James, who feared for his safety.

The defense also called James' daughter, now 10 years old, to testify. She saw the altercation and shooting take place.

She said she did not see Dooley's gun until he took it out during the altercation. She also said her father was "on top" of Dooley at one point "to keep him down so he could actually get the answer" about where the sign was.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ashley Moody took the testimony under advisement. She will ultimately make a decision about whether to dismiss the manslaughter charges against Moody.

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