A Florence County teen has been cleared of murder due to South Carolina’s “stand your ground” defense/Castle Doctrine. 

Solicitor Ed Clements said Wyatt Shane Altman was cleared in the 2017 shooting death of Johnsonville 18-year-old Dylan Hanna

Altman’s lawyers argued that Altman was within his rights to shoot the victim, said Clements. The case has ended unless the Attorney General’s office appeals it. 

Deputy Solicitor Todd Tucker handled the case. 

According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s website, the Castle Doctrine is defined in the “Protection of Persons and Property Act”:

The stated intent of the legislation is to codify the common law castle doctrine, which recognizes that a person’s home is his castle, and to extend the doctrine to include an occupied vehicle and the person’s place of business. 

This bill authorizes the lawful use of deadly force under certain circumstances against an intruder or attacker in a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle. The bill provides that there is no duty to retreat if (1) the person is in a place where he has a right to be, including the person’s place of business, (2) the person is not engaged in an unlawful activity, and (3) the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent death, great bodily injury, or the commission of a violent crime.

 A person who lawfully uses deadly force is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action, unless the person against whom deadly force was used is a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his official duties and he identifies himself in accordance with applicable law or the person using deadly force knows or reasonably should have known the person is a law enforcement officer.

Deputies with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting on Durant Cemetery Road in Johnsonville in July, according to Major Michael Nunn, with the FCSO. 

When deputies arrived, the victim was being transported to the hospital for a gunshot wound, but according to the coroner, the man was pronounced dead the next day.

Florence County Coroner Keith Von Lutcken later identified the deceased as Dylan Hanna of Johnsonville.