Victim: Joe Burke (killed)
The accused: David Trombley


Joe Burke

White male

Age at time: 43

Weapon: wrench


David Trombley

White male

Age at time: 27

Weapon: pipe

Defendant photo: Pasco County, 2006

Case type:
Fight at bar/party

Other Private Property



Case year:

Location details: Vagabond Mobile Home Park in Dade City, Pasco County, on March 13, 2006

What happened: David Trombley got into a drunken fight with his neighbor Joe Burke. Burke was injured and died of a ruptured spleen 10 days later. That night he told police he had swung at Trombley with a wrench and Trombley responded by swinging a metal pole at him. The pole hit his stomach and he later went to the hospital. Trombley said he was defending himself and others, but prosecutors said Burke was too far away when he swung the wrench to be any real threat.

The outcome: Prosecutors pursued charges against Trombley, who pleaded guilty to unnecessary killing to prevent an unlawful act. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Investigating agency: Pasco County Sheriff

Case decision made by: Prosecutor

Trayvon Martin’s death became controversial because circumstances leading up to the shooting cast doubt on who was to blame. The Tampa Bay Times reviewed other “stand your ground” cases for similar circumstances. The Times relied on available information, some of which may not tell the whole story. When the situation was unclear, that was noted.

Yes No Unclear/

Did the victim initiate the confrontation?


Was the victim armed?


Was the victim committing a crime that led to the confrontation?


Did the defendant pursue the victim?


Could the defendant have retreated to avoid the conflict?


Was the defendant on his or her property?


Did someone witness the attack?


Was there physical evidence?


Source: Tampa Bay Times, April 7, 2006. Link to original source

Source: Tampa Bay Times, May 19, 2006. Link to original source

Source: Tampa Bay Times, Jan. 29, 2008. Link to original source

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Case last updated: Aug. 10, 2013