Is Defense Attorney David Appleton a Murderer?

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MCSO
Defense attorney David Appleton
Scottsdale defense attorney David Appleton fatally shot a father of three during an apparent road-rage incident earlier this month. Yesterday, we learned that the second-degree murder charge against him has been dropped -- for now.

"We've asked the Scottsdale Police Department for some additional investigation before making a final charging decision," Jerry Cobb, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, told New Times yesterday.

Click here for all the details about the road-rage incident that left 50-year-old Paul Pearson dead.

In short, here's how the shooting went down: Pearson and Appleton got into an argument at an intersection in north Scottsdale. Pearson followed Appleton to a nearby parking lot, got out of his car, and walked up to Appleton's vehicle. Appleton, who'd already retrieved his pistol from his glove compartment, claims Pearson then choked him, despite the fact that police say there's nothing to indicate a choking ever took place. Appleton then fired one shot, killing Pearson.

Appleton's attorney, Richard Gierloff, tells New Times his client has the law on his side and the shooting was a "justifiable use of force."

Based on Arizona law, he might be right -- according to Gierloff, Arizona has a law (which hasn't been adopted by any other state in the country, mind you) that states a person is authorized to "use deadly physical force to prevent somebody from entering your car, or drag you out of your car, and there's no duty to retreat in either of those situations."

However, Pearson was unarmed -- and aside from that fact that Appleton could have simply put his foot on the gas to get away from Pearson (rather than his finger on the trigger), the attorney's got a bit of a history in terms of road rage, which includes two other incidents this year where police determined Appleton was the aggressor.

Appleton could still face a murder rap. Gierloff, however, says he doesn't expect any charges to be filed against his client.

We want to know what you think: is David Appleton a murderer?

Cast your vote below.



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40 comments
Galee33
Galee33

None of these Anonymous commentators have had the nightmare of encountering David Appleton!!!  He is the aggressor and a murderer!!!  God knows... I encountered David Appleton 3 years ago with my 2 year old when he got out of his car and stated I cut him off. He cussed and was pounding on my window while I had 911 on the phone.  I will never forget his face or his car.  He has had various road rage incidents recently compared to Mr. Pearson never having any.  Mr. Appleton never even assisted Mr. Pearson after shooting him when 911 operator told him to wrap a towel around wound.  This states Tom was on driver side when police said Tom was on passenger side window while on phone with cousin. How can Tom choke David while on phone with cousin?????

Doctormicki
Doctormicki

I live in the area of the shooting and pass by everyday the corner of Pima and Pinnacle Peak. Today it took me 1-2 minutes to get from Pinnacle Peak to Thompson Peak where the incident began. It is about 1 mile. Apparently, Appleton was behind Pearson at the first intersection. He stated he was angry because Pearson basically stopped at the probably yellow light and  Appleton couldn't run it. Somehow the shooter got ahead of Pearson, a married Scottsdale father of three girls. So in one minute Appleton felt threatened because it was within one mile or 1-2 minutes. Is that enough for a grown man to think he had to kill Pearson. He pulled into a spot where there were no cars and no witnesses. If he was so scared don't you think he would have gone around the corner where there were other poeple and cars? Appleton's  statement to 911 is so phony you know he sat there and made it up before he called. As a psychologist I can read right through it and so should the cops. Do you think a grown man could be choked to  death in a car seat when he could get out the other side? Appleton was an accident waiting to happen with his gun ready to fire. This is murder.  Dr. Marilyn

su
su

This is clearly a murder....

truthfully
truthfully

http://www.azcentral.com/video...

The 911 tape says it all--  this creep didn't even leave his car to get a towel for the victim lying on the ground as the 911 operator asked him to do multiple times to hold pressure on the wound.  He didn't even leave his vehicle, most likely, until the 911 operator asked him, assuming he did.  Instead of helping the victim, as the 911 operator pleaded with him to do, this creep waited for his victim (also the witness) to die.

Jnovara
Jnovara

Mr. Appleton was obviously released for a reason.  And, the other individual "followed him" into a parking lot, so he was obviously the one looking for an altercation as Mr. Appleton apparently "drove away" from it with and the other individual followed him.  The other individual appears to be the one who was looking for trouble.  And since he was obviously "attacked" by the other driver, I think I would have done the exact same thing Mr. Appleton did in order to protect himself.  After all, HE has a family to think about too!  Most importantly, this should NOT be something that is so quickly judged in the media or via personal opinion.  

Tommie_Collins
Tommie_Collins

I don't understand why liberals would move to the wild west and try and turn it into every other Boston like shit hole on earth? WTF? If you don't like it, move the fuck to San Francisco. Let Arizona be Arizona.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

so, a lawyer can lie their ass off and get away with murder. Maybe I should study AZ law and learn how to get away with murder legally.

Mike Sherertz
Mike Sherertz

Incredible!!  You give one-sided inflammatory facts and then propose to try a man for murder?  This is much too serious a matter for your irresponsible flippancy.

waywest
waywest

"that states a person is authorized to "use deadlyphysical force to prevent somebody from entering your car, or drag you out ofyour car, and there's no duty to retreat in either of those situations."

 

I wonder if the defense attorney was aware of this law.Since he was obviously carrying a gun I'd assume he was aware of all the gun lawsbeings he's a defense attorney. Was he out hunting and poor Mr. Pearson endedup becoming easy prey? This was his third road incident in just the last year?Stay on this one, Phoenix New Times, something stinks to high heaven.

Justice For David Appleton
Justice For David Appleton

Supporters of Dave Appleton, please like our Facebook page and post your messages of support for a man going through a very hard time for having to defend his life. http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

For those of you who have tried, convicted, and hung Appleton in your mind, are you really so small minded as to only look at one side of the story? Have you asked yourself any questions to challenge what the heavily biased news media is shoving down your throat?

Like why won't Scottsdale PD release the 911 tapes? They usually release them very quickly, and they refuse to provide them to anyone. They hate lawyers, and they don't want to release anything in support of them?Why did Scottsdale PD say that there wasn't any evidence at first and then all of a sudden find some evidence that was very apparent to them a week later? Even I saw the news video of Appleton being arrested and saw that his shirt was ripped all the way down to where his entire chest and stomach were exposed. And to those of you who say Appleton ripped the shirt himself, WAIT until the DNA evidence comes back. 

Why would a defense attorney with 30 years of experience who knows how your life is ruined after having to use deadly force to defend your life (even if you don't go to jail) shoot someone if he didn't have to? He's seen countless lives ruined in the same scenario. He knows more than anyone that you don't just get to walk away from using deadly force to defend your life - even if you are completely in the right like he was.

Do you really think that a man who won't even eat dead animals or be in the same room as animals being cooked for his own moral and ethical reasons would kill a HUMAN out of cold blood?

Have you put yourself in Appleton's situation? You are a 60 year old man of small frame and stature. A larger man 10 years younger than you comes up to your car window and starts to choke you. Within 10 seconds, you could be unconscious. Look up sleeper hold videos on YouTube. When you choke someone with their shirt, it cuts off both carotid arteries to the brain. You are incapacitated in seconds. You are trapped in your seat belt and can't move. You've lost all muscle control because of lack of blood flow to the brain and cannot drive away. You are about to die. You have a family and friends who depend on you. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Wouldn't someone who called the cops in previous incidents where there was an unsafe driver or where he was the VICTIM of road rage call the cops in this scenario if he was able to?

People with firearms training like Appleton know that you have to shoot more than once to kill. Why did he only shoot one time? Why did he call the police IMMEDIATELY to have Pearson rushed to the hospital instead of driving away? He wanted to save Pearson's life!!! 

GET THE FACTS WHEN YOU CAN. IF YOU CAN'T GET THE FACTS, THINK FOR YOURSELF BEFORE JUDGING OTHER PEOPLE. YOU WILL ONLY KNOW HOW BIASED THE POLICE AND MEDIA ARE WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS TO YOU!

Justice For David Appleton
Justice For David Appleton

This is a ridiculous poll. You can't ask a poll question after giving a bunch of inaccurate, slanted information infused with your own opinion. Maybe you will be a real journalist someday, James King. #1 There was evidence of self-defense found. That's why the charges were dropped. http://www.kpho.com/story/1607... #2 Appleton was not the aggressor in other road rage incidents. #3 If you did a simple Wikipedia search to do research on your "article," you would learn that most states have some form of the Castle law and that many of them include the car. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...

But you didn't do ANY research. You just read other news websites to form your own opinion that isn't based on any facts. Your opinion doesn't matter.

Snakmon
Snakmon

I don't know these guys but I know a guy that kinda looks like the dead guy and he was nice. I saw a guy on TV that looked like Appleton when I was a kid, and he was bad guy. He wore this little goofy black hat with a small brim. This guy would steal cattle off of the Cartwright ranch even though they didn't belong to him.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

he was released due to no evidence.which isn't the same thing as he didn't do it or didn't do anything wrong, or even was innocent.

Lodemup09
Lodemup09

Yes...I know when I'm in fear for my life I pull over behind a CVS store and wait for the aggressive person to walk up to my vehicle, grab me by the throat, and then shoot him.  Yep...makes perfect sense to me especially when you've had four other occassions of threatening to brandish a weapon at someone else who just happened to be "the aggessive person".  This creep wanted to shoot someone because he's got some serious issues when he's behind the wheel.  If he were afraid as he stated, he'd of took off when the guy got out of his vehicle or more appropriately never pulled over in the first place and dialed 911 like he's done so many other times.  I am a biker, I ride with my pistol on my side, and I am not afraid to use my gun to defend myself...when I really have to defend myselfe.  I've been around outlaw bikers and things like that...this man is a murderer plain an sim[ple.  Had I done what this creep did, I'd still be locked up.  I hope he gets charged with second degree murder...heck...it's as close to first degree murder as you can get without premed...I know this creep knew exactly what he was doing.  You pull over behind a store with your pistol out...you know you're going to shoot the person.  He freaked after having actually did what he's so wanted to do for years.  Freaking pussy murdering creep. 

Broski Love
Broski Love

I have to agree that Mr Appleton was defending his life and did what was legal and necessary at the time. Mr Appleton did not know if this man was armed or what might happen. What he did know was that someone followed him into a parking lot and assaulted him. That alone clearly demonstrates the aggression of the attacker and potential for who knows what.

The attacker could have been armed and if Mr Appleton had gunned it to get out of there, the person could have perceived that as a threat since a vehicle can be considered a deadly weapon in an assault and aggravates circumstances.

People like to talk about what they'd do in these situations but you never know until you're in one. I believe that Mr Appleton had no choice but to pull into that parking lot and be defensive. Had he kept driving he could have been ran off the road or both men could have caused a car accident and hurt others around them. Pulling into a parking lot to lose someone or evade a situation should not be a crime and isnt. Would you wait for someone to get out of their vehicle and then take off again for a nice chase to ensue? By the time you could be on the phone dialing 911 for officer assistance, the attacker could have you pegged and left bleeding.

This is Arizona, and anyone that would follow another person into a parking lot and attack them should know the risks are great and could end in death. I also believe that any past occurrences with the law over alleged "road rage" incidents were because Mr Appleton is pro-active in defending his beliefs and freedoms which isn't always accepted.

 

Lodemup09
Lodemup09

Yes...it's ridiculour alright.  It's pathetic that this mfer is out period.  They released the tapes and the other ones where he's been "afraid" and threated to brandish his weapon.  I've had a road rage incident or two in my life but never anything like what this mfer has had.  He's creating these issues and that was obvious on the 911 tapes.  I'm a biker, I ride with my pistol on my side...mainly so people in cars won't fucking tailgate me like idiots and I'd use my gun to defend myself in a situation where I had to.  I've also pulled my gun on a potential robber at a Wells Fargo when he threated to try and take my money...but I'd never pull over behind a store, wait for someone to get out, watch them walk over to me, let them choke me...if that bullshit story really happened, and then shoot them.  This man is a fucking pussy who has wanted to shoot someone for a long time...the tapes clearly show this man has issues.  Well, he got his wish.  I hope he gets to go to GP and gets to play around with some real badasses so he'll realize he's a fucking pussy who killed a father of three who made the mistake of thinking he was dealing with a man instead of a pussy with who baited him into a murderous wish.  What a fucking pussy...and those who support this mfer can kiss my fucking ass. 

Jack
Jack

Appleton is a murderer, look up the dictionary definition.  Your Soviet style propaganda is not influencing anyone.  If I were Appleton, I'd fire you.

James King
James King

Umm...actually I spoke to Appleton's attorney, read the arrest report and spoke to the county prosecutor's office. Didn't have to waste time reading other media reports -- I went to the source. Nice try, though.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

I didn't read the article, I don't have to. I voted YEAH not in AZ because that is the truth. In many other places he would be in jail as we speak awaiting his trial, if he couldn't afford the bail.

Pit Boss
Pit Boss

Appleton's attorney is here I see. How does a person get into three road rage incidents I one year without being the aggressor? If you have one in your lifetime you're in the minority.

Native Guns
Native Guns

Just like your opinion doesn't matter. But face it, most seemed to agree that your old hero is a murderer. Even on other news outlets. I'm not here to defend either man. But I like to see some Justice served on that old killer. We can't be going around and justifying shootings of this nature. Simply because this is a pro-gun state. Otherwise, this case would serve as a catalyst for copy cat defense and crimes. Even if the other person never threatened in the first place. You're allowing trigger happy gun toters go free like the one you are defending.

Follower_of_the_ONE
Follower_of_the_ONE

  Poor innocent baby, wrong place wrong time, he must have been so scared... that sucks, good thing he had a gun.  There is only one witness, Appleton, and there are indications that he is a problem child on the road.  As far as not being the aggressor in the OTHER road rage incidents.... highly doubtful that road rage incidents keep finding him ... there is a pattern of aggressive behavior.  As far as the Castle Laws... only with the bank foreclosures at a high rate can a man's car be considered his castle. 

  Justice for David Appleton... phooey ... I want justice for the wife and three surviving children of the man he murdered.  As of yet nobody has stepped up to defend the dead man, did he have a record of aggressive behavior on the road as well? 

Robin
Robin

biased is biased.....  and you have NOT reported the whole story, only your twisted version of it

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

well of course they are gonna try that stuff.

they always do.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

I have had a few psyho people stop their cars in front of me sayign I was speeding or some stupid shit. I laughed at them with my doors locked and windows rolled up. I mouthed get the hell out of the way or I will call the cops and each time (It happened twice) they drove away.

that being said, Ithink that the poster is David Appleton himself, and if that is the case I want to tell him himself to his face that he is a murderous piece of crap that hides behind a gun.

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