A Florida man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a warning shot at a man who threatened his family.
While no one was injured in the shooting, Lee Wollard, 59, of Devenport, was found guilty in 2008 of aggravated assault, shooting a firearm inside a building and child endangerment, the Daily Mail reports.
The incident occurred when Wollard, a biologist who used to work at Sea World, was taking a nap but was woken by a fight between his 16-year-old daughter Sarah and her 17-year-old boyfriend.
He and his wife Debbie had taken the boy in because he was homeless, but it quickly turned into an unhealthy relationship.
Wollard says he grabbed his loaded .357 after he heard a loud noise and his daughter cried for help.
“It’s a heck of a gun, yes,” Wollard told CBS News in an interview. “You even wing someone with a .357, they’re in deep trouble.”
He said the teen lunged at him and punched a hole in the wall, which the young man denied.
“So I fire a warning shot into the wall, [and] I said, ‘The next one is between your eyes,’” Wolard told the network.
In Florida, aggravated assault involving a firearm comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years. Wollard declined a plea offer of probation and no jail time because he was convinced he was innocent.
“It never dawned on me that I would lose, because I hadn’t done anything wrong,” he said. “I’d protected my family, and I didn’t even hurt anybody.”
If you kill another person in Florida when “standing your ground,” then you may face no charges at all.
Wollard is due to be released from prison in July 2028, when he is 73 years old. But he believes it is a “bargain.”
“As bizarre as it sounds, if this is what the State of Florida requires of you to make sure your family is safe, I’m willing to do it,” he said. “It’s a bargain. I’ve got three family members, my two daughters and my wife, and they’re alive. They’re alive because of this. It’s a bargain. Twenty years is a bargain.”