Elgin Woman Will Not Be Prosecuted for Murder in Self Defense Killing
In January 2012, Sally Memmert was in her home when a mentally distraught woman, whom Memmert had tried to help in the past, broke in and attacked her. Memmert shot the woman, resulting in her death. The Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office charged Memmert with murder, but she argued it was self defense according to “stand your ground” law in South Carolina.
After years of debate and appeals, Circuit Court Judge Robert Hood wrote that Memmert is “immune from prosecution” on murder charges, which are very difficult to clear. Memmert’s history with the deceased young woman spoke of a troubled relationship that ended in unintentional violence. Memmert’s case is a classic example of the proper use of “stand your ground” laws for self defense.
Petra Boykin, then 29, came into Memmert’s life as a troubled young woman with two children, who had been kicked out of her parents’ home for violent behavior and mental problems. She also had a history of run-ins with law enforcement – in 2011, Boykin kicked and bit three Richland County Deputies who were trying to arrest her.
Because Memmert was a personal friend of Boykin’s mother, she offered to let the troubled young woman and her two children live with her in lieu of going to jail.
Boykin was a US army veteran, who suffered an unfortunate history of post-traumatic stress disorder, violence, depression, suicide attempts, drug abuse, and verbal threats against others. In the fall of 2011, Memmert allowed Boykin to live in her Elgin home. Memmert drove Boykin to appointments, babysat her children, and celebrated holidays with her. However, in early January 2012, Memmert asked Boykin not to let her son use the computer to play video games, causing Boykin to threaten her with a knife. Memmert, a gun owner, feared for her life while Boykin waved the knife in her face, and threatened to shoot Boykin. However, Memmert called 911, and Kershaw County deputies came to the home, and backed up Memmert while she asked Boykin to leave. Boykin left.
On January 17th, 2012, Memmert told Boykin that her clothes and some other personal possessions would be left on the front porch in bags. Boykin arrived at 3 AM the next morning to retrieve her personal effects. Instead of retrieving the personal effects from the porch, Boykin entered Memmert’s house. This woke Memmert up, and when she found Boykin in her home, Boykin attacked her – according to Memmert’s report, Boykin slapped, choked, and shoved her. Memmert informed Boykin again that she had a gun and would shoot, and when Boykin refused to stop, Memmert shot her in self defense.
Memmert “had never been beaten like that before, was afraid, and was getting hurt,” Hood wrote. “It was at this time, feeling like she had no other options, being afraid for her life, the Defendant pulled out the pistol and shot Ms. Boykin one time.”
South Carolina does have a “stand your ground” law for self defense, but it is rarely invoked during murder trials. “Overwhelming evidence showed Sally Memmert did everything she could to avoid what happened,” one of her defense attorneys said. “Although it is tragic because someone is dead, Sally clearly acted within her right of self-defense under the stand your ground law and should not have to stand trial.”
The Strom Law Firm Defends Those Charged with Murder or Assault in the Name of Self Defense
If you face criminal charges such as murder or assault and battery for attempting to defend yourself, especially in your own home, you do not have to suffer in silence. The South Carolina criminal defense attorneys at the Strom Law Firm offer a free, confidential consultation to discuss the self defense incident and see how we can help you. Contact us today. 803.252.4800