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Marine veteran free years after failed ‘stand your ground' petition

State attorney drops 2nd-degree murder charge against Callie Adams

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A U.S. Marine veteran was charged with murdering her husband nearly six years ago, but now, she is a free woman. 

The state attorney's office has dropped the second-degree murder charge against Callie Adams.

Adams was arrested in the July 2011 shooting death of her husband after the two got into a fight in Jacksonville's Arlington neighborhood. 

The former Marine and mother claimed it was self-defense, and tried to unsuccessfully have the charge dropped through a "stand your ground" hearing. Now that does not matter, as the state attorney has dismissed the murder charge against her.

COURT DOCUMENT: Callie Adams disposition statement

"I had to focus on my kids. I had to focus on my life. I had to focus on the fight ahead of me. I knew it was going to be a fight. (I) did not have a choice," Adams said.

State Attorney Melissa Nelson told News4Jax on Friday that her decision was the right thing to do in the case, which she has been investigating since she took office.

But for Adams, who has been out on bond and wearing an ankle monitor, the decision means she is a now a free woman.

"I thank God every single day that this is over -- every day -- because it could have went another way," Adams said.

News4Jax has followed Adams through the "stand your ground" hearing, in which she described what happened nearly six years ago at an Arlington gas station after she and her husband got into an argument at a nearby bar. 

Adams testified that she got in her car to leave when her husband, Rodney Adams, hit her several times. She said she pulled out a gun she was carrying, but he jumped in the back seat and got his hands around her throat, and that's when she fired two shots, killing him.

Police said he had a blood alcohol level of 0.19, more than two times the legal limit. 

"Afterwards, it was pure shock. And (the) other (was) hurt. I was hurt because he had done what he did. I was hurt because he was gone," Adams told News4Jax on Friday. "You go through anger, the grief. (You) go through sadness. You go through depression. You go through lots of different things."

In 2014, the "stand your ground" petition was denied, because of what the judge called inconsistent statements made by Adams and conflicting witness accounts, that the judge said should be decided by a jury.

The case had dragged on in the courts until the May 30 ruling. Nelson said dropping the charge was the right thing to do.

"Since February, I have undertaken a thorough review of the entire matter. I have spoken to every relevant witness and law enforcement," Nelson said. "I have come to the conclusion that there does not exist a reasonable probability of conviction on the facts. For that reason, I have dropped the charges."

READ: Statement on behalf of Callie Adams

Adams' attorney, Rhonda Peoples-Water, agreed, saying that was the right thing to do.

"Sometimes, seeking justice means you're going to have an acquittal," Peoples-Waters said. "That is an important concept that we really got to make sure our judicial system in our community understands."

News4Jax tried contacting Rodney Adams' family in South Carolina, but was unsuccessful.

"You don't know what you are going to do in a moment. You are making the best decision possible at the time," said Adams, who now looks to a future of freedom.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.