Woman cleared in fatal shooting of husband

FOX 35 has obtained documents from the Marion County State Attorney's Office which outline why Michelle Dinkins-Penland will not face charges in the shooting death of her husband, under the Stand Your Ground law.

“I didn't mean to kill him,” Dinkins-Penland told FOX 35. “I did shoot him to protect myself, my son and my mother."  That was the difficult decision she said she made on March 22, right inside their Ocala home.  Dinkins-Penland explained, "I was absolutely terrified. Absolutely terrified."

According to the investigation into the shooting, witnesses told police that Penland was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, due to his time spent in the military.  On her son's fourteenth birthday, Dinkins-Penland said her son went out to throw away a pizza box.  She continued, "My husband saw him on the patio, and told him to 'Get the 'F' out of my face,' and hit my son."

She said she and her mother tried to push their way out to the patio to break up the fight.  FOX 35 obtained a photograph showing Dinkins-Penland with a black eye, the night of the shooting.  "He threw my mom down, punched me in the eye,” she explained. “And went back after my son, and that's when I shot him."

Official documents said Dinkins-Penland and her husband, Mark, had been together six years and were married more than a year.  Marion County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Lauren Lettelier said an investigation into witness testimony showed that Penland had been very violent toward his wife's teenage son.  

According to documents, Dinkins-Penland gave law enforcement a recording, taken sometime before the shooting, which showed Penland threatened over and over to kill the boy.  In one instance, the documents state Penland punched her son and cracked two of his ribs.  "To me, it was just a horrible situation to make the choice of my child surviving, or shooting my husband," said Dinkins-Penland explained.

On Monday, the Marion County State Attorney's Office announced they would not be pursuing charges in the case.  In a motion filed by the State Attorney, it states that "she [Penland] is entitled to the no retreat provision found in the Stand Your Ground Law.”   She also has a permit to conceal-carry her .38 revolver, according to authorities.

Dinkins-Penland said she felt like this was a victory for domestic violence victims. "Now, other victims of domestic violence can feel like they can protect themselves and their families," she said.  “We have suffered a great loss, and I  think the only winners in this case are the victims of domestic violence.  Hopefully my situation will show other victims that it's ok to protect their families when necessary."

In terms of what is next for her and her family, she said that her teenage son is doing well, and they all hope to move past this tragic event.