Statements shed 'new light' in Orange Beach shooting

by Paige Malone

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) - The attorneys for an Orange Beach man accused of shooting a tourist in what police said was road rage are telling a different story.

Steven Pinson is charged with attempted murder. In August, District Judge Michelle Thomason set his bond at $500,000 and ordered him to wear an electronic monitoring device.

"Mr. Pinson, based on the circumstances of the case, I believe that there is a risk in you having a lower bond. I believe that you are a danger to this community," said Thomason.

Since this hearing, Pinson has been released on bond and his ankle bracelet has been removed.

Pinson is accused of shooting Damon Hembree of McCalla, Ala. after an argument on Perdido Beach Boulevard.

Pinson is represented by Tommy Spina and Steve Salter. They said the events that unfolded that day in August speak more to self defense, rather than attempted murder.

"What happened; happened. It's an unfortunate event. He's happy Mr. Hembree is progressing with his recovery but Mr. Pinson is not a danger to society," said Spina.

Pinson's attorneys said witness statements taken at the crime scene claim Hembree approached Pinson's car and that Pinson made it clear he had a weapon.

"He had asked Mr. Hembree to get back in the vehicle and Mr. Hembree continued to curse him, to make disparaging remarks about him. (Hembree) told him he was going to place that gun in a place where the sun don't shine for lack of a better term. He wasn't afraid of that gun and ultimately left Mr. Pinson with no alternative at that point but to do what he did because he was afraid of being seriously injured," said Spina.

The attorneys said these statements are not just from Pinson.

"Other than just a few minor nuances, the facts don't vary from what Mr. Hembree says versus what Mr. Pinson says versus what witnesses say," said Spina.

Pinson is a retired conservation officer. This is another key fact for his defense team.

"He knows the vital spots in the body and had a fully loaded seven shot semi automatic pistol. He fired a single shot into a non lethal part of the body. And that doesn't make it not serious, but I think it represents there was no intent to kill," said Salter.

All of this will be considered by a Grand Jury. Pinson's attorneys are considering a rare move; asking the district attorney to let Pinson speak to the grand jury members face-to-face.

"My opinion is fact driven. In this instance, there are facts that we believe the grand jury should consider before it's determined."

The defense team said the grand jury only needs prove there is probable cause to go forward. They said the possibility they won't is slim.