A shooting that resulted in a death in the Cherokee Village neighborhood has been ruled a justifiable homicide, according to the Lexington Police Department.
Joseph Nicewonger told police he shot Derek Fogle several times on July 23, during Fogle’s unprovoked attack on Nicewonger. The incident occurred outside Nicewonger’s residence on Cherokee Pond Court in the Cherokee Village neighborhood, according to Cpl. Cameron Mortenson, adding Fogle lived on nearby Cherokee Pond Trail.
“Detectives found that all elements of this investigation fell within the Stand Your Ground law and that during this incident, though tragic, Joseph Nicewonger acted lawfully in the protection of his personal safety,” Chief Terrence Green said in a news release.
At approximately 2:30 a.m., officers found a white male, later identified as the 31-year-old Fogle laying in the front yard of Nicewonger’s residence, according to Mortenson.
Fogle approached the residence, yelling at Nicewonger and chased him from his garage and into his yard before throwing Nicewonger to the ground and hitting him in the head repeatedly, Mortenson said.
Nicewonger, armed with a handgun he was transferring from his vehicle to his residence, shot Fogle several times, then called 911 and stood by in his yard until officers arrived, Mortenson said.
Fogle was transported by ambulance to Lexington Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries.
Mortenson said Fogle was experiencing an altered mental state and had physically attacked his roommate just prior to the altercation with Nicewonger.
Witnesses in the neighborhood said they had heard and seen Fogle causing a disturbance by yelling, knocking on doors and walking through several yards just prior to the assault and shooting, Mortenson said.
Toxicology results showed the presence of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Trazodone, Venlafaxine, and Desmethylvenlafaxine in Fogle’s body at the time of his death, Mortenson said.
Fogle had mental health diagnoses of depression, anxiety, and bi-polar disorder and that he had stopped attending counseling sessions with mental health several weeks earlier, Mortenson said.
At a glance
The South Carolina Protection of Persons and Property Act allows that when someone is attacked at their residence, in their vehicle, or at their business, that they can meet the attack with force, to include the use of deadly force if necessary to protect themselves or someone else from death or great bodily injury or to prevent the commission of a violent crime. There is not a duty to retreat.
Lexington Police Department