Orville (Lee) Wollard is serving a 20 year mandatory minimum sentence for protecting his family against a violent individual in his Florida home by firing a warning shot. Nobody was injured or hit. But unless Governor Rick Scott grants him clemency, Lee will be in prison until he's 73.
In the spring of 2008, Lee and his wife Sandy opened up their home to their teenage daughter's 17-year-old boyfriend, who reportedly had nowhere to stay. Shortly thereafter the couple found out that he was stealing prescription pain medication from the home, and had on a prior occasion hit their daughter. Lee and Sandy eventually told the boyfriend that he should make plans to leave their home. One day, seeing the boyfriend outside the house with his daughter, Lee asked him again to leave, and the young man attacked him, ripping out stitches from Lee's recent surgery. The boyfriend left with Lee's daughter, and Lee was in too much pain to do much else.
Some hours later, Lee was awakened by his older daughter's calls for help - the young man was inside the younger daughter's bedroom and loud noises were heard from outside, as if objects were being thrown. Scared for his family’s safety, Lee took his pistol into the hallway area, where at that point he saw his younger daughter crying, and the boyfriend punching a hole with his fist in the living room wall. Lee ordered the boyfriend to leave. The boyfriend, with clenched fists, came closer to Lee, who at that point shot a bullet into the living room wall to scare him. No one was hurt and this finally caused the boy to leave the house.
Several weeks later, the boyfriend went to the police and said Lee had fired a gun at him. That same day, Lee was arrested and charged with aggravated assault without intent to kill.
Believing he was within his rights to defend his family, Lee rejected a plea deal for five years of probation and pled not guilty. The jury rejected Lee's self-defense claim and found him guilty of possessing and discharging a firearm, triggering Florida’s 20-year mandatory minimum for aggravated assault with a weapon.
Judge Donald Jacobsen disagreed with the sentence but felt he had no choice, saying: "This [sentence] is obviously excessive…if it weren’t for the mandatory minimum…I would use my discretion and impose some separate sentence, having taken into consideration the circumstances of the event, but I think I am duty-bound to apply the law as it has been enacted by the legislature."
The officer who prepared Lee's sentencing score sheet also begged the government to recognize the extenuating circumstances of the case. Additionally, the investigating officer stated that he believed Lee's daughter and the boyfriend had used this incident solely to get back at Lee for trying to keep them apart.
Unless Governor Rick Scott grants him clemency, Lee will be in prison until he is 73 years old.
This sentence has destroyed a family and we hope you will sign this petition to ask Governor Rick Scott to grant Lee Wollard clemency.
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