Self defense or murder? Judge keeps suspect behind bars

A judge decided a murder charge would remain for Vernon Rich in Thunderbolt on Thursday.

Rich is charged with murder after police say he killed Troy Wells after an altercation in September.

Despite the murder charge, Rich claims self defense. He told police he was taking a friend home from work.

When he arrived at his coworkers home, he told police her ex-boyfriend Troy Wells came outside and began attacking her.

He says Wells then came up to his car window and began assaulting him.

"Mr. Wells started swining his fist inside the car and Mr. Rich said one of the punches landed on his nose. As soon as that punch landed, Mr. Rich said he fired his weapon and struck Mr. Wells in the chest," Thunderbolt Police Officer Bertram Whitley said.

Police say Rich called 911 himself, and when police arrived on the scene, he turned over his gun and told them what happened.

The prosecution noted that Rich is much larger than the victim and that the victim was unarmed.

Rich's family left the courthouse in tears saying it was self defense and that he doesn't deserve to remain in prison.

The case will now be sent to a grand jury.

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