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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Kendall Man’s Stand Your Ground Motion Falls Short

A former Kendall bank executive who gunned down his ex-wife’s unarmed husband, lost his bid at immunity under Florida’s controversial self-defense law.

A judge Wednesday rejected Cristobal Palacio’s claim that he was defending himself against Paul Winter, who was shot six times — including twice in the back in October 2008— as Palacio’s 7-year-old twins watched in horror.

The judge’s ruling means that Palacio, 46, will face a jury trial next week for first-degree murder.

Palacio and ex-wife Jennifer Winter had undergone a bitter divorce that culminated in September 2007. Afterward, she married Paul Winter, a British-born graphic designer she met online.

Palacio claimed Winter spent months tormenting him, twice putting a gun to his face and frequently using profanity against him. The confrontations, Palacio claimed, took place during custody visits.

But Jennifer Winter testified Wednesday that her husband never owned a gun and was a peaceful “nerd” who avoided conflict. She also said her jealous ex-husband blamed Winter for their breakup.

Paul and Jennifer Winter had gone to Palacio’s home to drop off the twins for a week of court-appointed visit. Palacio claimed Winter charged at him in the driveway, reaching for what appeared to be a gun.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/17/2901711/kendall-mans-self-defense-claim.html#storylink=cpy
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George Zimmerman’s jail calls made public

George Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, is facing perjury charges for lying under oath about money he raised online, but bank records and jail phone calls released Monday show her husband called the shots behind an elaborate, if sloppy, scheme to hide money.

The records also show the second-degree murder charge was a big money-maker for Zimmerman: The day after his arrest, he transferred more than $75,000 in donations to his account in a single day. He used at least $10,000 of it to pay off credit card and other bills, the bank records show.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/18/2855731/zimmerman-jail-calls-made-public.html#storylink=cpy
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Miami-Dade judge dismisses Stand Your Ground Law road rage case

Another case falls victim to Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law:

A Miami-Dade judge this week dismissed an attempted murder charge against a man accused of pointing a gun at another man during a road rage incident.

Robert Moulton, 40, said he was defending himself under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which eliminated a citizen’s duty to retreat when confronted with deadly force. He said he pulled his gun only after another man, Steven Stewart, “savagely punched” him in the face as Moulton sat in his car in February 2009 in North Miami.

Initially, police claimed that a short time later, Moulton encountered Stewart in a parking lot and again pointed his gun at the man. But Moulton’s defense attorney, Emelia Diaz-Fox, said she proved the second encounter never happened.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/13/2848379/miami-dade-judge-dismisses-stand.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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‘Stand your ground’: a get-out-of-jail-free card?

Florida’s “stand your ground” law has allowed drug dealers to avoid murder charges and gang members to walk free. It has stymied prosecutors and confused judges.

It has also served its intended purpose, exonerating dozens of people who were deemed to be legitimately acting in self-defense. Among them: a woman who was choked and beaten by an irate tenant and a man who was threatened in his driveway by a convicted felon.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/02/2830091/stand-your-ground-a-get-out-of.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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Zimmerman’s lawyer: Donations to website totaled $200,000

The defense lawyer for George Zimmerman said Thursday night that his client had received about $200,000 through donations to his website.

Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, near Orlando, fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin of Miami Gardens on Feb. 26, after confronting the teen, whom he believed to be suspicious. Trayvon was not armed.

Sanford police cited Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law in not initially charging Zimmerman with killing Trayvon. Angela Corey, a special prosecutor appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, earlier this month charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.

Thursday night, Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that at first he had been told that Zimmerman had two accounts: one with $700, another with about $2,000.

But while trying to shut down all of Zimmerman’s Internet presence, his client asked him what to do with his PayPal accounts.

Days before Corey filed her charges, a website called TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com sprang up. The website, since removed, said visitors could use a PayPal link to donate money to Zimmerman.

O’Mara told Cooper that the account contained $200,000 and $204,000.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/26/2770539/zimmermans-lawyer-donations-to.html#storylink=cpy

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