Judge denies college student’s self-defense bid in killing of South Miami man

A former Miami Dade College student who stabbed a South Miami man to death lost his bid for immunity under Florida’s self-defense law.
A judge on Thursday ruled that James Arauz, 23, did not act in self-defense when he stabbed Vincent Pravata in October 2009. Arauz claimed that Pravata, who acted as a mentor and had penned a letter of recommendation for an internship, made sexual advances and chased him around the man’s house.
Arauz’s defense attorney can still argue self-defense before a jury. Trial is set for May 13.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Yvonne Colodny pointed out that Arauz, after stabbing Pravata, meticulously cleaned up the crime scene, stole the man’s credit card and went on a shopping spree seemingly to impress a girlfriend.
And Arauz never called police and lied to detectives and others about what happened, the judge said.
“Taken in their totality, these actions do not reflect someone who had simply been trying to protect himself from death or seriously bodily injury,” Colodny wrote in her five-page-order. “Rather, they reflect a consciousness of guilt and an attempt to avoid legal consequences.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/03/14/3285657/judge-denies-college-students.html#storylink=cpy
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No bond for security guard in strip-club shooting

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law is in the news yet again:

The strip-club security guard accused of shooting two men in the parking lot remained in the Miami-Dade jail Monday without bond.

Lukace Kendle was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. One man was killed and another was wounded in the shooting.

The 26-year-old Homestead man is being held at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, 7000 NW 41st St. He is being represented by Stephen Harper of the Miami-Dade public defender office. He did not return three calls on Monday.

The June 1 shooting unfolded when Kendle, who worked security at Club Lexx, came across two men parked beside the building, 12001 NW 27th Ave. in North Miami-Dade. He told police he felt threatened by the men and shot them.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/11/2844320/no-bond-for-security-guard-on.html#storylink=cpy
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Prosecutors in George Zimmerman murder trial want some evidence sealed

Prosecutors handling the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman filed a motion late Wednesday asking the judge to seal parts of the evidence.

Among the items Duval County Assistant State Attorney Bernardo de la Rionda wants kept from the public: the results of a test police conducted on Zimmerman the day after he killed Trayvon Martin. The results have already been provided to the court under seal, de la Rionda said.

“Any testing performed and findings in this case have not gained such reliability and scientific recognition as to warrant its admissibility,” he wrote.

De la Rionda did not specify what the test was, but in an interview last week Zimmerman’s father told The Miami Herald that his son had passed a “voice stress test.”

“It’s like a lie detector, but more reliable,” Robert Zimmerman said. “I told him, ‘If you are comfortable and have been truthful, go and do it. If at any time you are uncomfortable, just say: ‘Am I afree to leave?’ So he did it.”

De la Rionda also wants to seal two CDs of audio interviews with a witness identified as “W9.” She is the same person who called police anonymously just two days after the killing to say Zimmerman and his family were racists.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/23/2814613/prosecutors-in-george-zimmerman.html#storylink=cpy
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Several George Zimmerman witnesses change their accounts

Evidence released last week in the second-degree-murder case against George Zimmerman shows four key witnesses made major changes in what they say they saw and heard the night he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford.

Three changed their stories in ways that may damage Zimmerman. A fourth abandoned her initial story, that she saw one person chasing another. Now, she says, she saw a single figure running.

They were reinterviewed in mid-March, after Sanford police handed the case off to State Attorney Norm Wolfinger. The case changed hands again when Gov. Rick Scott passed it on to a special prosecutor. Zimmerman was arrested April 11 on a charge of second-degree murder.


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Miami-Dade chief medical examiner takes stand in Aventura murder trial

Miami-Dade’s chief medical examiner took 18 months to finish his probe into the death of Eleonora “Lina” Kaufman, found crumpled on the floor of her Aventura home with strange markings on her neck.

On Monday, Dr. Bruce Hyma told jurors he stood by his delayed ruling – homicide by “mechanical asphyxia” – which came after interviews with paramedics who attended to Kaufman and a litany of tests on her blood and organs.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/21/2810831/miami-dade-chief-medical-examiner.html#storylink=cpy
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Jury selection on Monday for murder trial of Aventura developer

Jury selection gets under way Monday in the trial of Aventura developer Adam Kaufman, who is accused of  murdering his wife five years ago.

The case has attracted national attention. CBS’  48 Hours, NBC’s  Dateline and Court TV are all in a Miami courtroom to cover the trial.

The case began on November 2007 when police said a hysterical Kaufman called 911 and said that he had awakened after a night of sleep to find his wife, Lina, in the bathroom, unconscious, her neck draped over a bar on a magazine rack.

More than a year and a half later, Aventura police charged Kaufman with murder.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/06/2786851/national-media-in-miami-courtroom.html#storylink=cpy
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George Zimmerman in court today; Trayvon Martin’s mother says shooting ‘an accident’

Saying she believed the shooting death of her 17-year-old son was “an accident,’’ Sybrina Fulton revealed on NBC’s Today Show her opinion in the case for the first time Thursday.

“I believe it was an accident,’’ Fulton said. “I believe that it just got out of control, and he couldn’t turn the clock back.’’

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/12/2744193/george-zimmerman-charged-with.html#storylink=cpy

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