Does Castle Doctrine apply in Elizabethtown road rage case?

Should self-defense law protect Fort Knox soldier who stabbed woman at gas station?

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) - When does Kentucky’s self-defense law apply? It’s a question many WAVE 3 News viewers have been asking following our story Tuesday involving a case of road rage in Elizabethtown.

The Castle Doctrine allows deadly force if someone comes into your home or a car you are in and if you fear serious bodily harm from that person. The law is designed to protect those who defend themselves in that situation.

Louisville Attorney Tom Clay, who’s not involved in the Elizabethtown case, saw the surveillance video and says he believes it speaks for itself.

“The video certainly should have been taken into consideration in any charging decision,” Clay said.

He said when he saw the gas station surveillance video, he was pretty certain he was witnessing something to which the Castle Doctrine would apply. Clay said it also appears police got it wrong when they charged Fort Knox Sgt. Kai Waters, 33, with felony assault.

“This video is very disturbing as far as showing a person who has been designated as a victim who appears to be the aggressor,” Clay said.

Waters told WAVE 3 News she was driving home from base back in February when a 58-year-old woman got behind her in the fast lane on Patriot Parkway in Elizabethtown, wanting her to move over. Waters claimed the woman bumped her car, so she called 911 and pulled into a gas station instead of going home, when the woman pulled in behind her.

“She ran over to my vehicle, pretty much slammed the door on me,” Waters said. “I told her, you know I’m on the phone with the 911 operator that can hear you.”

Waters claims the woman punched her face, so she grabbed a knife from her car and stabbed the woman’s leg. The fight spilled outside.

Waters said when Elizabethtown police arrived, they tended to the other woman and took Waters downtown to police headquarters.

The Castle Doctrine got a lot of publicity in Louisville several years ago when a judge ruled former Louisville baseball player Isaiah Howes was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Daniel Covington after he said Covington attacked him in his car at a stoplight.

Clay says in the Elizabethtown case, there’s video evidence.

“This vehicle, which is the subject of this road rage incident, was occupied by the Sergeant at the time,” Clay said. “This other individual came around and basically initiated physical contact with her.”

Clay said Waters is entitled to immunity under the law.

The prosecutor in Waters’ case said the grand jury will be given all the facts to make an informed decision.

As WAVE 3 News reported, the woman identified as the victim told us she would like to tell her side of the story but cannot because she’s a witness.

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