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Former FSU receiver Travis Rudolph invokes stand your ground law in murder case

Rudolph said in a court filing last week that he acted in self-defense when he fatally shot one man and hurt another.
Travis Rudolph, a former FSU receiver, said through a court filing that he acted in self-defense in an April shooting that left one man dead and another critically injured.
Travis Rudolph, a former FSU receiver, said through a court filing that he acted in self-defense in an April shooting that left one man dead and another critically injured. [ GREGORY PAYAN | AP ]
Published Aug. 26

Travis Rudolph, the former Florida State and NFL receiver, is asking for the murder charge and three others against him to be dropped because he acted in self-defense in an April shooting.

Rudolph’s attorney, Marc Shiner, outlined the self-defense claim in a court filing last week that gives Rudolph’s first public account of the incident.

Related: Original story: Former FSU receiver Travis Rudolph arrested on murder complaint

According to the filing, the incident began when Rudolph’s girlfriend accused him of cheating on her. She hit Rudolph on the head with a tequila bottle, broke his phone and destroyed a video game system. The woman told two people — whose names are redacted — that Rudolph slammed her to the ground. She texted that they should go to Rudolph’s home and “shoot his s--t up.” She also told Rudolph’s sister that she was sending someone over to kill Rudolph.

Around midnight, four men arrived at the Palm Beach County home where Rudolph was living with his mom and older brother. Rudolph believed that at least one of the visitors was in a gang. He put his AR-15 near the front door before going outside.

Rudolph and his brother fought the other men — the court filing said Rudolph was attacked, but one of the men previously told authorities that Rudolph initiated it. Regardless, Rudolph’s account said the incident escalated when one of the four men pointed a firearm at his brother. Rudolph then ran inside and returned with his weapon.

The four men ran to their Cadillac. Two of them — one in the front passenger’s seat, one outside the car — pointed weapons at Rudolph and his brother, according to the court filing. That’s when Rudolph fired 38 total rounds at them, killing one and injuring another.

The court filing alleges that the injured man threw his gun away to try to hide the evidence, but police found it. It also said that the hand and fingers of the fatally shot man were “in a position that is consistent with holding a gun.” A second weapon was not found.

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Rudolph faces one charge of first-degree murder with a firearm and three charges of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm. He asked for all charges to be dismissed because he acted in self-defense and because of Florida’s stand your ground law. A stand your ground hearing is set for Nov. 8, according to court records.

Rudolph was FSU’s leading receiver in 2015-16 before spending time with the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins and in the CFL.

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