Former FSU football player denied ‘Stand Your Ground’ defense in murder trial – NBC 6 South Florida
A former Florida State University star football player will not be able to use the state’s “Stand Your Ground” defense in his first-degree murder trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.
NBC affiliate WPTV-TV reported the decision after Travis Rudolph, 26, walked into a West Palm Beach courtroom last week to testify at a hearing. Rudolph faces one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder for the Lake Park shooting in April 2021.
Rudolph appeared in a courtroom in November 2021 when hearings began, where his lawyers argued Rudolph used self-defense after ‘fearing for his life’ and claimed he was coerced into open fire following a confrontation outside his home.
At the November hearing, Rudolph’s ex-girlfriend, Dominique Jones, said she argued with him before the shooting after finding out he had cheated on her. A police affidavit reportedly said one of the four victims told police he had been in contact with Jones.
The man and three others drove to Rudolph’s home where he was “immediately combative and confrontational” according to the affidavit.
After physically fighting for several minutes, Rudolph reportedly returned home and grabbed a gun and ran behind the car before shooting him.
One person at the scene was injured and taken to hospital. A passenger in the car was shot and killed while the driver and another passenger were uninjured.
Detectives said witnesses told them Rudolph was holding a gun shortly after reporting hearing the gunshots. Rudolph refused to speak to detectives, according to the affidavit.
Rudolph was a high school star in West Palm Beach before signing with the Seminoles, where he played for three seasons and finished his career with 18 touchdown receptions and helped lead FSU to an Orange Bowl victory to finish the 2016 season.
Rudolph was Florida State’s leading receiver in 2015 and 2016 and left the team early to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. He was not drafted but eventually signed with the New York Giants, then the Miami Dolphins. He also spent time with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. The team released him on Wednesday.
Rudolph gained national attention in 2016 when a video of him having lunch with an autistic student during a team visit to a middle school in Tallahassee went viral. Rudolph’s father died a year later after a gun was accidentally discharged at a West Palm Beach strip club.
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