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Lilburn Slaying Suspect Bails Out of Jail

Phillip Sailors, a Lilburn man who is charged with murder, was released Wednesday afternoon.

Phillip Sailors, the Lilburn resident accused of shooting and killing a young man who pulled into his driveway, was released from jail Wednesday after posting bail.

According to jail records, Sailors bonded out of the Gwinnett County Detention Center at 3:34 p.m. Jan. 30. A judge granted Sailors a $10,000 bond Wednesday afternoon, according to defense attorney Michael Puglise.

Sailors, 69, is charged with murder in the death of Rodrigo Diaz, who is identified as a 22-year-old Duluth man in police reports.

On Saturday evening, Diaz and three friends pulled into Sailors' driveway on Hillcrest Road in Lilburn. The car's GPS took the friends to the wrong house, according to Diaz's family.

Sailors' attorney said that his client thought he and his wife were about to become victims of a home invasion or assault when he fired the fatal shot.

After Diaz died from his injuries the following morning, Lilburn Police arrested and charged Sailors with murder.

It is the first homicide in the city since 2005.

Richard Waterworth January 31, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Mr. Sailors is a former Christian missionary and church member devoted to helping people. His neigohborhood where he has lived for 33 years has become drug invested with dangerous drug activities, causing him and others in the neigborhood alarm and fear for safety. It's a night and he has no idea of these people's intentions. Perfectly normal to feel threatened after confronting the intruders and they're not leaving. His small calibre 22 pistol makes a lot of noise, but rarely inflicts death. Obviously, the intruders were aggravating the situation by not leaving, and behaving in a threatening manner for Mr. Sailers to even fire a warning shot in the air. Further aggressive behavior by the intruders caused Mr. Saliers to feel threatened enough to fire in their direction to protect himself and his wife. A normal act of self defense on his own property at night in a high crime area any of us could have easily taken done under the circumstances.
Mariana Diaz February 01, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Rodrigo Diaz might not have been missionary, but he was a young noble sole that was only trying to find his friends house. By your argument your trying to imply that in the neighborhood nobody can commit a mistake and park in the wrong parkway because they are just going to be shot to death. If he was so threatened by the presence of the car why was not his first action to call 911? and lock the doors and wait until they feel threatened move!. it is in deep ignorance to believe that Mr. Sailors is innocent; it is not normal to shoot in the air and then shoot the driver that is trying to leave, nobody in a normal psychological capacity would agree to a murder of young man trying to find an address. This only shows the incapacity of people holding arms. Justice has to be made.
A February 02, 2013 at 12:38 AM
asshole!! no more words for your comment, or maybe one more IGNORANT!!!
Joseph B February 09, 2013 at 10:31 AM
I am a concealed carry holder and huge supporter of the second amendment. The alleged gunman in this case had no grounds whatsoever to fire a weapon at this unfortunate young man. The young adults had no weapons. A .22 LR cartridge has enough power to kill at over one US mile (5280ft) 'Rarely inflicts death' Are you kidding me??? Actually, .22 LR is commonly used by criminals due to the improbability that the bullet will be retrieved intact enough for ballistics analysis. Richard is severely mistaken about his ideas of self defense. What was the alleged gunman defending himself from, might I ask? From a car pulling into his driveway at night? That is not the presentation of lethal force that would give a man the right to defend himself. Oh wait, he was defending himself from someone who showed up at his house in a region 'drug infested with dangerous drug activities' Obviously, it was so dangerous that no murders had been committed in 8 years.
Joseph B February 09, 2013 at 01:15 PM
I am posting this comment again because it is so often misunderstood AND results in tragedy. Most states including Georgia, do NOT allow the use of deadly force if someone 'feels' threatened. GENERALLY, you may use JUST ENOUGH force to repel an attack, or JUST ENOUGH force to protect your property. Georgia law, like most other states, DOES allow one to use deadly force for self-defense if one is threatened by deadly force (or grievous bodily harm, or forcible commission of a felony). HOWEVER, you first have a duty to retreat IF possible. Now, this duty to retreat is where the 'castle doctrine' law comes into play. If you are INSIDE your property AND you are threatened with deadly force, grievous bodily harm, forcible commission of a felony, or if the perp FORCIBLY breaks into your home, you no longer have a duty to retreat and can immediately use deadly force for self defense. It is a tragedy that people with superficial and uneducated ideas about law and legal principles believe the castle doctrine means you may use deadly force if you only 'feel threatened' anywhere on your property. So please I beg anyone with a firearm to realize 1. you must be presented with deadly force (or forcible felony, etc.) and 2. you have a duty to retreat IF POSSIBLE *UNLESS* you are IN your property (if castle doctrine state) OTHERWISE IT IS MURDER/MANSLAUGHTER!!! THERE MAY BE OTHER LEGAL ISSUES TO CONSIDER Source: Hundreds of hours of self-defense and defensive firearms courses and seminars.
Tammy Osier February 09, 2013 at 01:38 PM
JB - that's why I think it is so important, with all the attention over gun laws, that people get themselves educated!!!
Joseph B February 09, 2013 at 03:14 PM
I want to emphasize also that my statement is a generalization erring on the safe side of state laws that vary quite drastically from states like District of Columbia where there is no specific castle doctrine or stand your ground laws to Texas where a man slew a burglar he saw fleeing from his neighbor's house and the homicide was ruled justifiable. States like Georgia and Pennsylvania are in the middle where there is no specific duty to retreat from anywhere you have a legal right to be when attacked with deadly force. Remember though, that if you had a way out that was safe and still killed someone, not only does it weaken the self-defense argument, but there may be civil liabilities also. In addition, situations where defending another person can be similarly complex; such as if you defend someone who has no legal right to be somewhere, or is committing some other crime like drug possession that may not be apparent, but is then discovered by police. Trespassing is the most often part not understood. You can never justify homicide for trespassing anywhere in the US, there must be at least felony property crime in play in states like Texas; but most states require immediate danger to life or some other violent crime such as rape, etc. One final note, read and consult MULTIPLE sources. DO NOT take the opinions of any police or peace officers, they are specifically prohibited from providing legal advice. And please, please, PLEASE don't take your drinking buddy Bubba's word.

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