Attorney Jacob Noble told NewsChannel 5 Wednesday that his client, Andrew Coffee IV of Gifford, may be able to claim self-defense in connection to a March SWAT raid by the Indian River County Sheriff's Office that ended with the death of Coffee's girlfriend.
"He thought he was under attack and didn't know who these people were. There's a possibility he may have been acting properly under the Castle Doctrine," said Noble.
21-year-old Alteria Woods was killed that night. Noble concedes there was drug use at this home, but disagrees with the assertion from the sheriff's office that Coffee used Woods as a human shield during the shootout.
"If he used her as a human shield, how come he didn't get any shots in him? How come he was not shot?" asked Noble.
A grand jury indicted Coffee last week on several charges including attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and second-degree murder in Woods' death, even though none of his shots struck Woods.
The sheriff described what happened as an ambush on law enforcement.
Noble claims it was his client who was ambushed.
"When someone is sleeping in their home and surrounded by 30 people, the person in the bed is not considered the ambusher," said Noble.
The sheriff's office reemphasized Wednesday it has no doubt that Coffee fired the first shot, and it was his actions that led to Woods' death. In addition, the sheriff's office believes that Coffee had been tipped off to the search warrant the SWAT team was planning to serve.
Coffee's next court date is in September.
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