Former Port Richey mayor to argue stand your ground at trial

Pasco County

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — Port Richey’s former mayor will argue stand your ground when he goes to trial for attempted murder later this month.

Dale Massad is accused of shooting at Pasco deputies in February 2019.

Unlike most stand your ground cases, the judge will hear the motion and decide during the trial if stand your ground applies, Massad’s attorneys explained after a pre-trial hearing on Friday. The defense maintains Massad’s actions last February were due to fear for his life.

In the early morning hours of February 21, Pasco deputies with a SWAT team served a search warrant on then-mayor Massad’s waterfront home. At the time, he was under investigation for allegedly practicing medicine without a license.

Investigators say Massad fired two shots as deputies tried to enter the home.

In a motion filed this week, Massad’s attorneys argue he acted in self-defense, believing they were intruders.

“It is our position that he is absolutely innocent he was protecting his home his castle,” attorney Bjorn Brunvand said.

The judge ruled Friday to hear the stand your ground motion during the trial, to avoid any delays. Stand your ground motion hearings are typically held before a case goes to trial, to see if the defendant is entitled to immunity.

The defense is also fighting for the jury to be allowed to see the crime scene for themselves. The judge ruled Friday it’s not necessary at this point in time, but left the door open to revisit the issue.

“I still think it’s important for the jury to see where he lived and the surroundings to evaluate whether or not he was in fear,” Brunvand said.

The trial is scheduled to begin on February 24.

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