Jacksonville West-side Gun Crime Leads To Attempted Manslaughter Arrest

Jacksonville is a city that has many gun owners. However, when guns are put in conjunction with drugs, things sometimes go wrong. When these sorts of cases arise, it is imperative that one obtain an attorney that is experienced so that one’s rights are protected.

According to the Florida-Times Union, Tyler Woody Willis, a West-side man, shot his friend in the head with a shotgun after smoking marijuana. Willis said that he had dropped the shotgun and as it hit the floor, it went off, shooting his friend, William Brandon Hodge, in the head. Willis was charged with attempted manslaughter, discharging a firearm while under the influence of a controlled substance, and drug paraphernalia possession. 798766-shotgun.jpg

In Florida, the charge of discharging a firearm while under the influence of a controlled substance is covered under Florida Statutes 790.151. Under this statute, “using a firearm” means that a person must discharge a firearm or have a firearm readily accessible for immediate discharge. Furthermore, “readily accessible”, means that the person must have the gun ready and loaded in their hand while under the influence.

In many Jacksonville gun crime cases, the accused has been caught red handed: the gun is in the person’s hand, they are intoxicated, and the gun accidentally goes off, fitting with the statute. However, in the case of Tyler Willis, Willis was not holding the gun.

An experienced Jacksonville gun crimes attorney would be able to provide a series of defenses for Willis and others in similar situations, so that either the charge could be dropped or at minimum lessened.

Many times police will assume that the defendant, no matter what the situation is, that the person they arrest intentionally did whatever action they were arrested for. However, not always does the accused wantonly commit the act; many times, the act was by its very nature, an accident.

Willis told police that the shooting was an accident and that the gun hit the floor, shooting his friend William Hodge in the head. Police disagree with the series of events Willis told them because of how the gun hit the floor and the built-in safety mechanism in the gun. However, none of the police’s ideas about how the crime happened can be confirmed; the safety mechanism may not have been functioning properly.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source: Jacksonville teen shot in head is in stable condition; 18-year-old arrested