UPDATE 9/20/11 @ 6:30 p.m.
LOGAN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Jesus Canul, better known as Jesse, was released from home confinement Tuesday after a murder charge against him was dismissed.
It has been a case of twists and turns that all started Aug. 22 in the Walmart parking lot in Logan.
Police say Canul shot and killed David Abbott after Abbott robbed him at knifepoint.
“I want him to go back to his natural life,” Jayne Napier, Canul’s neighbor, said.
Napier is one of many who have tirelessly supported Canul since he was arrested last month.
“It feels good to be free,” Canul said Tuesday after his home confinement bracelet was removed.
Canul also addressed his supporters in a statement read by his attorney Mark Hobbs.
“I wish to thank all those individuals who supported me through the last few weeks. I appreciate those who turned out for the rallies and those who contributed to my defense fund,” Hobbs read.
Many say they aren’t stopping those contributions. That's because the murder charge can still be refiled.
“I like to think that this case is over, but I don't have that kind of control,” Hobbs said.
“I am worried,” Napier said. “I'm hoping and praying that everything goes OK.”
“I'm so glad that he was released. I'm glad these charges weren't pinned against him because that's not Jesse,” Nancy Noe, Canul’s neighbor, said.
Canul says he knows just what to do with his free time.
“Go back to work,” he said.
Canul will be able to go back to his old job -- working at a restaurant in Logan.
As for the long-term future, his attorney says it's hard to say when and if his case will go to a grand jury.
Jesus "Jesse" Canul was recently charged with murder after killing a person who robbed him in the Walmart parking lot in Logan.
Logan County Prosecutor John Bennett tells WSAZ.com that he dismissed a murder charge without prejudice against Jesus Canul. That means the charges could be refiled at another time.
Bennett says he dismissed the charges so he could spend more time investigating the case.
Canul was scheduled to be in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing. Because the investigation is ongoing, Bennett says the case would have had to have been delayed again.
He says he can still bring the case to a grand jury at any time.
However, some of Canul's supporters see this as a positive sign for them.
"The way I see it, they don't have enough evidence," says Harley Flemings, one of Canul's neighbors.
Canul was charged with murder last month. At the time, Canul told police he had just cashed his paycheck and was walking through the Walmart parking lot in Logan when David Abbott threatened to cut his throat, demanded cash and took off with his wallet.
Canul says Abott was running away when he shot and killed him.
Since then, many people have rallied in support Canul, saying he acted in self defense.
"He's been through enough. Enough's enough," says neighbor Sissy Napier.
Napier has been collecting signatures from people in the community, calling for Canul to be released and for prosecutors to drop the charge.
"He's always been a great friend, and it breaks my heart to know that he's not even up here anymore," says neighbor Nancy Noe.
Canul has been out of jail on home confinement for several weeks. His bond was set at $40,000. A neighbor put her house up, and another man donated some money, so that Canul could be released.
Now, that he's coming home, some of his neighbors worry about people who may retaliate against Canul.
"I'm scared for him. I hope nobody hurts him. I hope everything's OK with him," Napier says.
Canul's attorney says he's expected to be at the Day Report Center Tuesday afternoon to have his monitoring device removed. He's also expected to speak publicly about the case for the first time.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.
Jesus “Jesse” Canul is charged murder after shooting a man who robbed him in a parking lot.
The arrest has fired up the community over the meaning of self-defense.
Some of them came together to help Canul post bond.
"We know Jesse. We're friends with Jesse. We've known him for years. And, given the circumstances he was in, 99 percent of Americans would say they're going to do the exact thing he did," says Kimberley Bryant who put up her house to help Canul make bond.
Earlier this week, a judge set Canul’s bond at $40,000.
Another man put up some cash to hit that total.
"To know that this happened, it's going to affect him the rest of his life," says Bryant.
Last week, Logan police say Canul shot and killed David Abbott after Abbott robbed him.
Friends started gathering signatures to protest shortly after his arrest, calling the murder charge outrageous.
"I got a permit, and I do carry a gun. That could have easily been me. And, the people of Logan county that know me, I would hope they would back me," says Sissy Napier.
Where Canul lives along Stratton Street, neighbors say his case has brought them together in a way they hadn't experienced before.
"Maybe it'll show the robbers, people will stand up," says Rodney Sells.
Even though he’s out of jail, Canul is not going home for now.
Friends say he's staying in a safe house, worried about potential backlash from people who think he was wrong.
"There's a fear there, so it's best for him not to be at home," says Bryant.
Napier adds, "If you would have just seen the look on his face, he was petrified."
So, his supporters are standing by him, saying they're standing up for the right to defend themselves.
Canul was supposed to be in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing. That's been put off until September 21.
It happened last week at the Walmart in Logan.
Police say David Abbott threatened to cut Jesus Canul's neck and demanded cash. Abbott took his wallet and was leaving when Canul took action. He is accused of shooting and killing Abbott.
Canul was back in court Monday for a bond hearing, but the real story took place outside the courtroom.
Dozens rallied the streets of Logan in support of Canul.
“He is somebody that when he gets behind, he's coming up to me and going, 'Is there anything I can do to help make the rent,’” Kenneth Sells, Canul’s landlord, said.
Canul worked several jobs to afford staying in his apartment, but now he lives in jail where the price to leave is $40,000. That’s what the judge set his bond at Monday.
“He tells him 'You better back up. You better back up,' and the guy don't back up until he gets his wallet out. Then when he gets his wallet out and he sees that gun, he takes off running. That's when Jesse shot him, as soon as he took off,” Rodney Sells, a witness, said.
That's where the debate of self defense comes into play. Canul is facing murder charges because Abbott was already running away when he was shot. However, Canul’s supporters disagree.
“I don't care if he did walk away, he still has a right to defend himself,” Alice Miles said.
“He was abused right from the beginning when the guy attacked him, and we should remember that he is the first victim involved here,” Eugene Mazzocchi said.
“He defended himself. Who would he had done it to next? It could have been our children, our moms, dads. It could have been anybody,” Connie Cooke said.
Canul will be back in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing.
Jesus Canul is scheduled to have his preliminary hearing.
Just before Canul's hearing, dozens rallied in support, claiming Canul acted in self defense and should be found not guilty.
Logan Police say last week David Abbott threatened to cut Jesus Canul's throat and took his wallet. As Abbott walked away, Canul pulled out a gun and shot him.
Abbott died before he got to the hospital. Police charged Canul with murder.
The alleged crime happened on August 22.
The dozens of people who rallied outside the Logan County Courthouse Monday wore t-shirts with "Free Jessie" printed on them. Others held signs that said anything from "Honk for Rights" to "Self Defense is not a crime."
Canul's hearing is still underway.
We have a crew in Logan. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the very latest information.
A restaurant worker from Logan County is charged with murder for shooting the man who robbed him Monday outside the Logan Walmart.
Logan Police say David Abbott threatened to cut Jesus Canul's throat and took his wallet.
As Abbott walked away, Canul pulled out a gun and shot him.
Abbott died before he got to the hospital. Police charged Canul with murder.
But, Abbott's family says this case didn't have to end this way.
In an exclusive interview with WSAZ.com, Abbott's brother says he doesn't excuse what his brother did in robbing someone, but says this shooting was totally unjustified.
Eugene Abbott says his brother "lost his life for a mistake he made."
Police charged Canul with murder even though they confirmed Abbott robbed him.
"Mr. Canul did not have to use deadly force to execution-style shoot my brother in the back of the head," says Eugene Abbott.
Since Monday, we've received more than 500 comments about this case on WSAZ.com
Some people have said things like, "This was not Jesus' place to take the law into his own hands."
But many more people have praised what Canul did saying it's a case of self-defense, and even calling him “a hero.”
Eugene Abbott has been reading the comments and says people are rushing to judgment on his brother.
"(Canul) could have easily went to (the police) and said he was robbed. My brother would have been arrested for what he did. He would not have had to lose his life the way he did," says Eugene Abbott.
He says his brother had mental health problems. He says he tried to get help but eventually turned to crime.
"He was not a bad person. He needed help. We tried to help him, but we were unable to," says Eugene Abbott.
Since Monday, he says his family's been torn apart.
The Logan County prosecutor is still looking into how self-defense plays a factor in this case.
Police say there are reasons to think it doesn't, but they're just not saying what they are.
More details may come out about where this case is headed when Canul is back in court next week.
But your overwhelming comments here on WSAZ.com say no -- that the shooting was more than justified.
WSAZ.com looked into the fine line between self defense and murder.
We found there is a line, but how fine it is -- depends. It depends what the law says about deadly force.
It also comes down to common sense, and what the facts may be of any individual case.
We went to the experts and the law books and asked 30-year NRA certified pistol instructor Chuck Yeager to demonstrate with WSAZ.com's Randy Yohe what he says all gun safety instructors teach -- that you only use deadly force if you are forced.
“I'd give you my wallet. It's in my pocket. Don't stab me," Yeager said. "Then, I would try to back up and put my hands in the air. And if you turn around and run away, I don't care. I can replace my wallet. Even though you're a criminal, your life is worth more than a wallet."
Cabell County Prosecutor Chris Chiles says there are two general rules in what's self defense and what's a criminal act.
“Who was the primary aggressor?" Chiles said. "And, was it reasonable for the person who acted to be in fear of death or serious bodily injury?”
A West Virginia law known as the Castle Doctrine says a person attacked in a public place is without a duty to retreat, if they are in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm -- and can only be saved by the use of deadly force.
Chiles say these are difficult cases, and each one depends on its own individual facts. He also says it's not uncommon in cases like this to let a grand jury of 16 impartial people decide charges rather than an officer or prosecutor.
As for the laws in Ohio and Kentucky, prosecutors tell us there's a duty to retreat. Once the attack ends, you’re not privileged to shoot.
But gun experts say if the attacker is still facing you with knife drawn as he or she retreats, deadly force can be an option.
The caution tape has been removed, the police cars are gone and everything is back to normal at Walmart in Logan. However, the crime that happened Monday evening has changed several lives forever.
“We all walked over to kind of check and make sure he was okay, but nobody could get close to him,” Josh Martin said.
Martin works across the parking lot at Reno's. He worked with Jesus Canul and was shocked to hear that his friend and co-worker had just killed another man.
“You never had any problems out of him,” Martin said. “He just came to work, did what he was supposed to. He was quiet, but he was still really friendly.”
Canul had just cashed his pay check when police say David Abbott followed him through the parking lot, held a sharp object to his throat and demanded the cash.
He ran off with his wallet, but only made it about 15 feet before Canul pulled out a gun and fired.
Some are wondering why he was even carrying a gun.
“He walked all the way here; four miles to work just to come and wash dishes,” Jonathan Curry, Canul’s friend and co-worker, said.
Friends describe Canul as a hard-worker, but say he also lives a hard life.
“He was kind of bouncing around from couch to couch and sometimes he didn't even have a couch to sleep on,” Curry said. “While he was homeless he got beat up a couple of times, robbed and that's really I guess why he was defending himself.”
There's still little known about Abbott. WSAZ checked with the courts in Logan County and there are no records of any previous robberies or other criminal charges against him.
Prosecutors are looking to see if either Abbott or Canul have criminal pasts in any other areas.
Canul's preliminary hearing is set for September 1st.
"There's family and kids...I don't understand it. It's kind of scary," says shopper Anthony Gaither.
Logan Police say Jesus Canul, 26, of Logan, was approached by David Abbott, 37, in the parking lot of the Walmart at Fountain Place.
Police say Abbott had a sharp object and attempted to rob Canul in front of the store.
But Canul turned the tables, when he shot and killed the man who was said to be robbing him.
Logan police say Abbott had been watching Canul as he put his money away.
Once outside, witnesses say they saw Abbott move in on the man.
Bert Davis, who watched the whole thing happen, says Abbott "wrapped him around his neck and said, 'Give me all your money, or give me your wallet or I'm going to cut your throat.' "
Davis says Abbott repeated that two or three times.
He finally got the wallet and turned to go. That's when his victim pulled a gun out.
Davis says Canul "cocked (the gun) back and pointed at that guy's head. And, he got three steps, and that boy shot him."
Police say Canul had a legal permit to carry a gun and confirmed the story about him being robbed.
After the shooting, witnesses say the two men went into the store.
Canul put his gun down on the floor and waited for police while witnesses tried to help Abbott.
"We rolled him over on his side, so he could breathe....just stayed with him until the ambulance got here," Davis says.
Police say Abbott was dead by the time he got to the hospital.
They've charged Canul with murder.
Police say, as far as they can tell, these men didn't know each other.
Without offering many details, police said just because Canul was robbed, does not mean this is a case of self defense.
"That's kind of the prosecutor's call. And, there are some facets of it that we don't believe self defense really carries in this," Logan Police Chief E.K. Harper said.
Canul could be in court as soon as Tuesday morning for a bond hearing. He's being held at the South Central Regional Jail.
Even while all of this was going on, no one else was injured and Walmart stayed open.
That's according to information in the criminal complaint.
Canul, 26, of Logan, said Abbott followed him into the parking lot. As Canul attempted to get inside a vehicle, he said Abbott pointed a sharp object at his throat and attempted to rob him.
Canul said Abbott also took his wallet from his pants, which led Canul to pull a gun from his waistband.
The complaint states Abbott, 37, of Chapmanville, "fled toward Walmart at which time the defendant shot the victim."
Abbott was taken to Logan Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Logan Police say Jesus Canul, 26, of Logan, was approached by David Abbott in the parking lot of the Walmart at Fountain Place. Police say Abbott had a sharp object and attempted to rob Canul in front of the store.
During the confrontation, Canul pulled out a gun and shot Abbott in the head.
Abbott, 37, of Chapmanville, was taken the hospital where he later died.
Canul is being charged with murder. He did have a legal permit to carry his gun.
Store employees tell WSAZ.com the shooting happened during an attempted robbery, but that's all they could share at this time.
We're told police are still on the scene.
We have a crew on the way to the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.