Man who Killed Thief is Freed Based on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law
Written by Moses & Rooth on April 13, 2012
A Florida judge has dismissed a murder charge against a man who chased and fatally stabbed a car radio thief in Miami’s Little Havana area in January. In the wee hours of the night the accused man discovered two people in his truck stealing his car radio. Alarmed, they ran off. Carrying a knife, he chased one of them. When he caught up with the thief, the thief tried to hit him with a bag containing three stolen car radios, weighing about four to six pounds. The radio owner ducked the blow and mortally stabbed the thief.
Over the next hours, the accused man failed to report the incident, but police eventually found him and questioned the man about the incident. He ultimately admitted to his role after viewing a surveillance video showing the confrontation, leading to police charging the man with murder.
Reviewing the facts, the judge stated that the accused man was justified in chasing the thief to try to recover his property. She was convinced that the accused felt threatened when the thief swung a heavy bag of metal objects at him.
Citing Florida’s 2005 Stand Your Ground law, she determined that the law protected him from being charged with murder under the circumstances. Under that law, a citizen does not have a duty to retreat when threatened but can lawfully use force when attacked – which can be applied as a defense in a wide variety of cases ranging from shootings to domestic violence.
The man was represented by a public defender who welcomed the judge’s decision. The judge gave credit to the public defender’s office’s hard work in protecting their client’s constitutional rights.
This case has likely received extra attention in the wake of the highly publicized and controversial killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by an armed neighborhood watch member. The neighborhood watch member has similarly invoked Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in defending his actions.