Judge upholds manslaughter charge in Bluffton shooting; denies dismissal as self-defense

July 29, 2011 

A judge denied a motion today to drop a manslaughter charge against a Bluffton man accused of shooting his neighbor.

The lawyer for William Shane Moreland, 31, of Bluffton argued today in the Beaufort County Courthouse that Moreland acted in self-defense and should be granted immunity under the state’s “Castle Doctrine,” which recognizes that a person’s home is his castle and he can protect it. Moreland is charged with manslaughter in the Nov. 19 shooting death of his 50-year-old neighbor Thomas Mullins Jr.

Judge Thomas Cooper ruled today that there was no evidence that Mullins tried to forcibly enter the home, so it did not meet the requirements of the Castle Doctrine.

According to court records, Mullins knocked on Moreland’s front door in the Palmetto Pointe Townes neighborhood at about 9 p.m. after an ongoing dispute involving Moreland, his girlfriend and Mullins. Moreland came outside through the home’s garage and allegedly shot Mullins once, killing him.

Moreland was released from jail Nov. 30 after posting bond. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison.

For more on this story, return to islandpacket.com and see Saturday’s Island Packet.

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