Application of justifiable homicide at issue
It falls under the three separate areas of the (justifiable homicide) statute as I see it.” Thomas V. aLONZO, Jason Rolls’ attorney
KROTZ SPRINGS — A staff sergeant with the U.S. Air Force plans to claim justifiable homicide when he stands trial next month for manslaughter in the May 2010 shooting death of his wife’s ex-husband, who, according to police statements, entered the couple’s Krotz Springs home without permission on their wedding day and assaulted them.
Jason Ivy Rolls is being held in the St. Landry Parish Jail in the killing of Michael Hall, a firefighter with the Krotz Springs Fire Department.
Jason and Twaila Rolls, both 27, had been married for only a few hours when Hall showed up at their home at 415 N. Levee Road, Krotz Springs.
According to a statement by then-Assistant Police Chief Chris David, Hall knocked on a locked — but apparently improperly closed door — and then entered the couple’s home.
In police statements, the couple stated that Hall attacked both of them, pushing down Twaila Rolls as he made his way to Jason Rolls, who was resting on a couch in another room.
Hall was 5 inches taller and weighed 75 pounds more than Jason Rolls.
When the two men met, Hall tackled Rolls, ripping his shirt as they fell to the ground, according to David’s report.
Jason Rolls grabbed for a nearby gun and shot Hall once in the chest, killing the unarmed man, the document says.
“The size difference may have been a factor in this incident,” David wrote.
Rolls, who claimed self-defense, was arrested at the scene. A grand jury charged him a little less than a year later with manslaughter, which carries a sentence of up to 40 years.
Jason Rolls’ attorney, Thomas V. Alonzo, called the killing “the clearest case of self-defense I’ve seen in 27 years of practicing law.”
Twaila Rolls, who was employed as a radio dispatcher with the Krotz Springs Police Department, said Hall broke into the couple’s home.
“He assaulted me and he attacked Jason,” she said.
In her statement to police:
Twaila Rolls said she first heard a loud banging at the front door. She looked out the window and saw what she believed to be Michael Hall’s vehicle parked outside. She then checked her phone and saw that she had eight missed calls from Hall, all of which occurred within an eight-minute time span. She said she called Michael Hall and then heard someone say “hello” from the front door, which she said she had locked.
She said as Hall started to come inside the home, she put both of her hands on his chest in an attempt to push him out of the doorway.
Jason Rolls told police he was in the process of getting up and moving backward as Hall entered the living room.
“Michael Hall tripped over the arm of the sofa, tackling Jason Rolls to the ground,” the report says.
Alonzo says he believes his client was entitled to defend himself.
“He’s in his home. His wife’s been attacked. Someone’s committed a felony by coming into his home … It falls under the three separate areas of the (justifiable homicide) statute as I see it,” Alonzo said.
First Assistant District Attorney Frank Trosclair Jr. issued the following statement regarding questions about the case:
“We do not engage in any out-of-court discussion regarding pending litigation, and to do so would not be appropriate under prosecutorial ethics,” Trosclair said.
Justifiable homicide is defined, in part, as a killing committed in self-defense by one who reasonably believes he is in imminent danger of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm, and the killing is necessary to save himself from that danger, according to the state law.
The statute further states that a person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be, shall have no duty to retreat before using deadly force … and may stand his or her ground and meet force with force.
“I think once (Hall) entered that living room, and the gun was on the couch, Jason was scared to death that he was going to get the gun,” Alonzo said.
“He was also scared to death that he was going to be beaten by this guy who was so much bigger than him.”
David wrote in his report that, “Jason Rolls met force with force in his altercation with Michael Hall. … Jason Rolls may have escalated his use of force against Michael Hall because Michael Hall had stated several times that he was going to ‘(expletive) him up.’ Jason Rolls said that he did not know how far Michael Hall was going to take that threat.”
Hall’s brother, Kevin Moreau, sees the killing differently.
“My personal opinion, my brother was unarmed and, to my knowledge, there was no struggle whatsoever. … So what possible reason do you have to shoot my brother?” Moreau said.
“I hope he gets capital murder charges,” Moreau said of Jason Rolls.
Moreau, who lives out of state, said he misses his brother “unimaginably.”
“He was a very, very, very good man … He made it to where he wanted to make it in his career. He was well on his way to his career when this nightmare opened up on him. My family is deeply, deeply grieved,” Moreau said.
Twaila Rolls and Michael Hall had three children together, including two biological children and one adopted.
Their divorce was finalized in April 2010. She said the two of them “had a lot of conflict during their custodial exchanges with the kids.”
“At that point, he was really angry and he was trying to do anything he could to hurt me,” she said.
Twaila Rolls now lives on Barksdale Air Force Base where she has been since May 2010.
She says her husband, who she describes as a “very funny, outgoing and very caring man,” has been in the Air Force for nine years and has served four tours overseas.
He was also “awesome” with her three children, Twaila Rolls said.
Jason Rolls had put in for a recruiting job in Louisiana before the killing.
“He was excited,” she said.
Jason Rolls had initially been released on bail, but it was revoked in October after a judge ruled that he had violated conditions of bail by traveling with his brother to a gun show, Twaila Rolls said.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin June 4.
Alonzo said his client has declined to accept at least one plea deal involving negligent homicide.
“He’s not going to plead to a felony,” Alonzo said, adding that his client loves the military and wants to remain enlisted. “He’s been very adamant about that.”