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Driveway murder suspect released on bond

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Phillip Sailors -- the Lilburn man charged with killing a lost 22-year-old turning around in his driveway -- was released from the Gwinnett County jail Wednesday afternoon.

Detention center records show the wife of 69-year-old Sailors, who was arrested Sunday and charged with malice murder, posted $11,200 bond before her husband was released at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Sailors' attorney, Michael Puglise, confirmed the release of his client, who was originally being held without bond.

The murder charges against Sailors stem from a deadly incident Saturday night at his home on Hillcrest Road.

Lilburn police have not issued an official report detailing the event, but accounts from both Puglise and friends of the victim, 22-year-old Rodrigo Aba Diaz, more or less match up.

Shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, Diaz and his Mitsubishi 3000GT -- along with his girlfriend and two friends -- reportedly pulled into Sailors driveway after GPS directions took them to the wrong place. Fearing the worst, Puglise said, Sailors exited his house and fired shots at Diaz.

As the car was pulling away, a bullet from Sailors' .22-caliber Ruger revolver struck Diaz on the side of the head. The 22-year-old later died at Gwinnett Medical Center.

Puglise has asserted that his client -- a war veteran and Christian missionary retired from a career with BellSouth -- acted out of fear for he and his wife's safety. A wall not far from the home sports gang graffiti, and Sailors' mother-in-law, who lives next door, had recently been robbed, the attorney said.

Lilburn Police Chief Bruce Hedley has said the case remains under investigation.

"To preserve the integrity of the case," he said in a statement earlier this week, "I will not be releasing further information concerning this incident."

Comments

jackson11 1 year, 2 months ago

I still can't figure out how "the reasonable man" concept is going to explain the defendant's way out of this. Not under those circumstances. We still have an innocent victim who is not coming back to life. I'm seeing a manslaughter conviction at the least, followed by a wrongful death lawsuit. Not good for anyone, especially when you're 69 years old. You cannot afford to be wrong in such situations, as the consequences of your actions can be serious and permanent.

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news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

Details have been released to the public in the manner they have for a reason. Media and law enforcement want ourage at the shooter and sorrow for the dead. You said it best with "innocent victim", the media is telling people what to think. They know the kneejerk reactions of the public will create a scenario for more of the real truth to come out. Very few details about "the reasonable man" and selective bits about the 2 teens and deceased adult.

Sailors will pay for the death of this Diaz. Unfortunately, we must be prepared for more public outrage because many will not like the outcome. The facts will be even less important to the public.

This is the future of our country.

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 2 months ago

How do you know the 22 yr old is innocent ? I havent heard all the facts...You must have why dont you let us in on them....You must have an inside source.

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NewsReader 1 year, 2 months ago

Sad indeed...by all accounts, this man was an otherwise descent human being. He will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

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GregRodgers 1 year, 2 months ago

So Sad...

This kid is dead and an otherwise law abiding citizen has ruined his own life.

But hey, guns are a right. I mean, everyone should have one because of course in situations like these everyone will be able to use them responsibly.

I mean no one is going to just pull out a gun, not be able to quickly ascertain the situation and squeeze the trigger and kill a man just because right?

Oh wait...that's exactly what Mr. Sailors did.

People can buy guns and take lessons on how to shoot all they want, but when the situation comes up you need to be sure when you pull that trigger. This is why we have trained individuls (COPS) that handle guns and situations.

The internet is filled with stories about law abiding people who accidentally kill loved ones:

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/08/nation/la-na-nn-father-kills-son-outside-a-gun-store-20121208

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/20068424/police-father-accidentially-shoots-son

But yeah...we do not have a gun problem in this country.....Just utter nonsense!!

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notblind 1 year, 2 months ago

If you subtract any shooting involving a criminal, then guns are way down the list on things that injure and kill people in America. Medical professionals kill and injure far more people than guns do. Ditto for cars and tobacco. Where's the outrage ??

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GregRodgers 1 year, 2 months ago

Hmmmm? Deflect from the fact that more people are killed by guns in this country than any other country in the world. Look...only people who are selfish would keep bringing other stuff up that deflects from the problem. 33 people everyday die in this country from gunshots.

As I type this....there is a school shooting in southwest atlanta. Criminal or not there are too many guns out in society. Too much access to weapons. Thousands of guns stolen (See Dacula store and Freight Train in Atlanta).

Our country is gun crazy. To many lunatics have their hands on or near triggers.

BTW ...there was outrage against tobacco. The US Gov. sued the tobacco companies and won millions of dollars that when back to states to care for those who suffer from the effects for smoking. The tobacco companies have change labeling and so forth. Only idiots continue to smoke when its now known what is in a cancer stick and what it will do to you down the road.

As for Medical Professionals, hmmmm....seems they save far more many people each year from all sorts of things including gunshot wounds. Just ask Gabby Giffords....

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 2 months ago

that student was shot in a gun free zone....Did that work...what law can we have that would have solved that....Please respond and let me know.

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 2 months ago

Greg 228 per day or 83,425 per year women in this country are raped in this country....FBI crime report dated 2011..I dont want my wife raped but i am not here to get every mans wheezer cut off to stop the crime either..Maybe that would be the answer would u like to be first and let the rest of us know how much pain there is.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/violent-crime/forcible-rape

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BuzzG 1 year, 2 months ago

GregRodgers, the papers are full of stories of people who were killed waiting for the cops to arrive. Usually the cops arrive just in time to put a tag on your toe and fill out the paper work.

I had a bunch of crazies camp out on my front steps shooting into the air late one night. I called the cops and it took them 27 minutes to get to my home. By that time the crazies had run out of ammunition and already were in another county. Had they turned their guns on me, I would have been cold long before the cops got there.

It is a sad reality, but it is never a good thing to ignore reality.

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news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

I saw one TV report where Sailors wife did call 911, but nothing in print that I can find. Sad reality is that too many people call 911 for non-emergencies and frivilous reasons and clog the system for real calls. If in fact the wife did call 911, it probably took the other "gunshot" calls for law enforcement to react. Unfortunately "location" has a big influence on response and the amount of other criminal activity that is taking place at the same time.

The police and emergency responders do the best job they can, but our country is steadily in decline and this is what we have. SMH

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 2 months ago

Until Gwinnett County 911 stuck their nose in the business of Lilburn we had a direct line to the police dept. We could call and they would be there in 2 minutes...Now you have to go thru gwinnett 911.....i need say no more

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GregRodgers 1 year, 2 months ago

So are you saying that crazies camp out every night on doorsteps and that is why we should have so many guns out in the hand of people who do not know how to shoot them or at best tried them on a range.

The papers are also littered with stories about how guns are stolen. They are stolen from stores, homes, and taken from people who try to use them only to have the gun taken and used against them.

Your point is what?

Trying to figure it out.

We may have a 2nd amendment right to bear arms (which was really meant for militia's to fight wars 200 years ago) but it does not mean every person needs to have one. People are simply not trained to handle weapons in a situation like Sailors.

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LilburnLady 1 year, 2 months ago

I wish the media would allow our justice system to work and stop speculating on what happened when all of the facts have not been released. I have heard all manner of things that the carload of young people were supposedly going to do. One report says they were going "Ice skating". Well the only ice skating rink in Gwinnett County is 10 miles away and closes at 10:00 pm, the approximate time that they were in the man's driveway, so that doesn't make any sense at all. Then we hear through a TV interview that one of the neighbors supposedly recognized the car as one that had pulled into her driveway a few nights before (GPS problems again?).

The first news story in the GDP says Sailor went outside the first time unarmed, because he and his wife heard a "ruckus" out in the driveway. If you look at the front of Mr. Sailor's house, it is up on a big hill, high above the street, with a very long driveway. I find it hard to believe that if someone was "just turning around" in his driveway next to the street, that he would have even noticed it. There are a lot of questions still to be answered not only about Sailor's actions, but also about the actions of the people who were trespassing on his property that night. I really find it hard to believe that someone who fought in the Viet Nam war and was trained in combat use of a weapon would just walk outside his front door and start shooting because someone was "innocently" turning around in his driveway. Let's let the police, the courts and the attorneys do their jobs, investigate the facts and then pass judgment when we know the whole story, which by the way, noone has reported yet.

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jackson11 1 year, 2 months ago

Well said. It is true and correct that a comprehensive analysis will be completed and everything is a factor. What will ultimately be decided is whether or not Mr. Sailors' actions meet the standard of the law for justifiable use of a firearm for self-defense. I see that as a tough one.

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Mack711 1 year, 2 months ago

Agree that is what we have a court system for. But the media has tried, conviceted this man with out all the facts. He has not even been asked his side of the story nor has he given his side completlely to amyone. There is more that we do not know than we know.

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dudley4141 1 year, 2 months ago

LilburnLady, what you have stated makes a whold of sense, If I was turning aroung in someones driveway I would not pull all the way up, I would pull in a short way then back out and go in the other direction.

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LilburnLady 1 year, 2 months ago

The other thing I don't get is that Sailor was reported to say that he saw "people getting into a car" outside his house. Turning your car around (as far as I know) doesn't involve getting out of the car. Another thing, the girl's father said she called him around 8:00 pm and said she was going home. Did she ever make it home? Why would she lie about her whereabouts to her father? We don't know. One of the occupants of the car says that Sailor came out of his house, yelled "Get off my property" and then went back inside. Then he came out a minute later with a gun and fired it into the air. At what point during this process would a normal person decide to leave? After being yelled at? After seeing the gun? But apparently, it took a gunshot to make the driver decide it was time to back out. Then, the driver decides (while he's backing out) to respond to the gunweilding homeowner by rolling down his car window to APOLOGIZE? If someone has ordered you off their property at gunpoint, late at night, would you feel it appropriate to try to apologize to that person?

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GregRodgers 1 year, 2 months ago

LiburnLady...sounds as if you are blaiming the victim while not stating the survivors account of what happend.

They went to the wrong house period.

I've done the same thing before and no one shot me.

I would hope most people would not shoot, but it seems you feel that Sailor may have had a point.

Sad state of affairs really. A kid is dead...and it appears as if it was for no good reason. Just a angry scared guy to quick to reach for a gun.

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news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

They went to the wrong house period

Period? You should go to the police since you were there and know all the facts.

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 2 months ago

Greg i think you live in the wrong state...California would be more your style...Flowers in your hair sitting in San Francisco.just laid back...Thats mans drive is probably 200 feet long...where were they going to turn around in his back yard. Wsb tv said the witness in the car said they saw a man peer out of the window. They just sat there in the driveway for a while..then they said the man came out of the house with a gun and fired a warning shot. then another witness in the car said that he came out then went back in and got the gun...Now which witness in the dead mans car is telling the truth..

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LilburnLady 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm not blaming the victim. Mr. Sailor was charged with malice murder and taken to jail as he should have been. Mr. Sailor is not without fault at all in this. All I'm saying is that a lot of people (yourself included) have already made up their minds that the victim was completely innocent and have accepted the other people in the car's version of the events without questioning. I'm just pointing out that there are a LOT of unanswered questions and a lot of those questions and answers will most certainly come out in an investigation and trial. The media needs to be unbiased here and not play this one way when none of us really knows what happened.

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GregRodgers 1 year, 2 months ago

Fact...no one in the car was arrested Fact....no one in the car had weapon. Fact...the car was pulling out when the kid was shot. Fact...neither Sailor or his wife ever mentioned that the kids from the car tried to gain entry to the home. The Sailors claim they feared someone was trying to break in. The kids simply rang the wrong doorbell.

The fact that the kids where leaving when one was shot is enough. You can shoot a person inside your home. You cannot shot a person who is fleeing. It appears that the kid was in his car behind the wheel when he was shot.

So yes....Sailor is guilty in my book.

BTW...here is what the police say:

"The police report indicates that the vehicle was leaving Sailors’ property when Diaz was shot. Lilburn police said they found his red Mitsubishi at the end of the driveway. Diaz was slumped over the steering wheel, blood covering his face and, the incident report states, struggling to breathe."

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news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

Fact ... this posting of Facts According to GregRodgers will come back to bite you. SMH

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GregRodgers 1 year, 2 months ago

SMH...is right.....

We shall see news2you

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 2 months ago

No S*** Greg seems to have alll the details...I havent heard the one about the door bell yet...I did hear the witness statements and one different from the other...Greg u are a genius. I hope if i ever have a jury trial you are on vacation out of the country.

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LilburnLady 1 year, 2 months ago

Fact...no statements from Sailor or his wife regarding what happened prior to the shooting have been released by the police to the public except for Sailor admitting that he heard a "ruckus" outside his house, that he shot the man and his attorney's statment that he thought the car was accelerating towards him when he shot. So how do you know that they thought someone was trying to break in? Have you read the unreleased portion of the police report? Unless you are someone who has seen the report, you don't know what they thought.

Fact....the kids rang the wrong doorbell? Nothing released by the police or reported in the news has mentioned the kids ringing the doorbell....where are you getting your information about that? You see what I mean about rushing to judgment? The kids say they were turning around in the driveway. You say they got out of the car, went to the front door and rang the doorbell. Which one is it? You don't know and neither do we.

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GregRodgers 1 year, 2 months ago

Try reading more than the GDP...

The police information is correct. It contradicts the lawyers statements.....

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news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

Are you a LEO with access to the reports on this particular crime?

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 2 months ago

LILBURN, Ga. —

Lilburn police are investigating the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old man.

Police said they were called out to a man's home on Hillcrest Drive on Saturday night.

A group of friends said they were going to pick up a girl who lived in the area to go ice skating around 10 p.m. when their GPS system sent them to the wrong home.

The friends said they pulled into the driveway and saw a man peer out the window. They said they waited in the car for a bit and then the man, Phillip Sailors, 69, came out of the home with a handgun, firing a round into the air.

“The guy came out. He went in again and he came out with a gun in his hand and he shot into the air,” 15-year-old passenger Yeson Jimenez said.

The friends said that's when they tried leaving the house, and said Sailors pointed the gun at the car and shot Rodrigo Diaz, 22, who was driving the car. An arrest warrant said Sailors had a .22-caliber pistol. The passengers said Sailors never asked what they were doing there.

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 2 months ago

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/warrant-23-year-old-man-fatally-shot-while-driving/nT8rm/

read the link Greg. Tell me which passenger is telling the truth and which is making something up.

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MissDaisyCook 1 year, 2 months ago

Mr. Sailors being released on a murder charge is significant; him being released on a $11,000+ indicates the prosecution does not think much of the murder charge. The police often over-charge a case and leave it up to the DA to take the heat for indicting on a more appropriate, lesser offense, if any. We'll see.

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InTheKno 1 year, 2 months ago

GwinnettResident, you need to check your facts. It was the Lilburn Police Department that wanted deperately to give up their own disptach and have the County 911 Center handle it.

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