Judge dismisses homicide charges against a man who ran down burglar and stabbed him to death
A bag of stolen car radios — swung during a confrontation — amounted to a lethal threat to a man who chased down a thief and stabbed him to death, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom said in a written ruling this week dismissing the murder charges, according to the Miami Herald.
Last week’s ruling drew widespread attention at a time when critics are assailing Florida’s self-defense law in the wake of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood captain.
Police painted the defendant Greyston Garcia as a vigilante who chased Pedro Roteta for more than a block before stabbing him during a confrontation on January 25.
But Bloom, in her order, said that under the law, Garcia “was well within his rights to pursue the victim and demand the return of his property . . . the defendant had no duty to retreat and could lawfully pursue a fleeing felon who has stolen his property.”
According to the Herald, Bloom acknowledged in her order that Garcia did not call police or 911, but went home and fell asleep. He later sold two of the car radios and hid the knife. Those actions, however, did not sway the judge in ruling in favor of his self-defense claim.
Miami-Dade Chief Assistant State Attorney Kathleen Hoague, who trains her office’s lawyers in self-defense cases, told the Herald her office would appeal the decision because “we feel the judge abused her discretion.”
“The law does not allow for you to use deadly force to retrieve your property. She, in effect, is saying that it’s appropriate to chase someone down with a knife to get property back,” Hoague told the Herald, who stressed that a jury should weigh the merits of the case.
To read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/27/2717572/miami-dade-issues-ruling-in-stand.html