The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

'Stand Your Ground': Miami Judge Decides Fatal Stabbing Was Self Defense

With Florida's "stand your ground law" in the spotlight, we want to point to a decision taken yesterday by a Miami-Dade county judge in the case of Greyston Garcia, who was facing second-degree murder charges.

Here's what we know about the case, according to The Miami Herald:

Back in January, Garcia, 25, saw Pedro Roteta, 26, trying to steal the radio from his truck, which was parked outside Garcia's Miami apartment. Garcia grabbed a large knife, ran downstairs and chased Roteta for at least a block. The incident was caught on tape and showed that Garcia stabbed Roteta to death. At the time Roteta was carrying a bag with stolen radios "but no weapon other than a pocketknife, which was unopened in his pocket and which police said he never brandished."

The Herald reports that a judge threw out the charges against Garcia, citing the state's "stand your ground" law. As we reported earlier this week, the law did away with "the English Law concept of 'duty to retreat' from a situation that is dangerous outside your home." The Florida Supreme Court also decided that it should be a judge, not a jury, who decides whether to grant a suspect immunity based on the law.

The Herald adds:

Miami police Sgt. Ervens Ford, who supervised the Garcia case, was floored when told Wednesday of the judge's decision. Ford called the law and the decision by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom a "travesty of justice."

"How can it be Stand Your Ground?" said Ford, a longtime homicide investigator who on his off-day on Monday plans to attend a rally in the Trayvon case in Sanford with his two teenage sons. "It's on [surveillance] video! You can see him stabbing the victim . . ."

Bloom granted Garcia, 25, immunity under the 2005 law after she decided that his testimony about self-defense was credible. The judge did not issue a written ruling, but is expected to do so in the next few days.

The state attorney is expected to appeal the case.

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