Victim: Benjamin Johnson
The accused: Harold McDaniel


Benjamin Johnson

White male

Age at time: 32

Weapon: unarmed


Harold McDaniel

White male

Age at time: 26

Weapon: machete


Defendant photo: Florida Department of Corrections

Case type:
Roommate dispute

Other Private Property



Case year:

Location details: Inside defendant's mother's home in North Fort Myers, Lee County, on Oct. 03, 2007

What happened: Harold McDaniel came home after midnight with a swollen eye and told his mother he'd been in a verbal and physical altercation with a former tenant, Benjamin Johnson. Shortly after, Johnson knocked on the door. McDaniel unlocked the door and his mother opened it. Johnson, who was drunk, began to walk into the house saying he wanted to get some things he had left behind. The mother pushed Johnson back, trying to prevent him from entering and McDaniel struck Johnson twice with a machete, cutting him in his scalp and forearm. McDaniel said he was defending himself and his mother. Johnson claimed he had a right to be in the home because he was still paying rent and the mother had let him enter. McDaniel said Johnson had forced his way into the home. McDaniel was arrested on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The outcome: A Lee County judge denied McDaniel's "stand your ground" motion after an evidentiary hearing on March 10, 2008. The case went to trial and a jury found McDaniel guilty. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. An appeals court later ordered a new immunity hearing, which resulted in McDaniel winning his freedom after two years in prison.

Investigating agency: Lee County Sheriff

Case decision made by: Judge

Trayvon Martin’s death became controversial because circumstances leading up to the shooting cast doubt on who was to blame. The Tampa Bay Times reviewed other “stand your ground” cases for similar circumstances. The Times relied on available information, some of which may not tell the whole story. When the situation was unclear, that was noted.

Yes No Unclear/

Did the victim initiate the confrontation?


Was the victim armed?


Was the victim committing a crime that led to the confrontation?


Did the defendant pursue the victim?


Could the defendant have retreated to avoid the conflict?


Was the defendant on his or her property?


Did someone witness the attack?


Was there physical evidence?


Source: Lee County Clerk of Court, Nov. 17, 2010.

Source: Lee County Sheriff's Office, April 27, 2012.

Source: Naples Daily News, Feb. 14, 2010. Link to original source

Source: Second District Court of Appeal, Dec. 11, 2009.

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Case last updated: Aug. 10, 2013