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Murder trial begins for coral gables student

Posted on July 22, 2011 12:00 AM EST

A former Coral Gables student is standing trial for his alleged role in the stabbing death of a fellow student. The murder trial stems from an incident that occurred at Coral Gables High School. In opening statements, the prosecution portrayed the defendant as a jealous and angry young man, while the Miami criminal defense lawyer representing the defendant portrayed his client as a young man acting in self-defense and was simply protecting himself. On September 15, 2009, the defendant purportedly stabbed the victim during a fight over a girl. Although the confrontation lasted only a minute, the defendant stabbed the victim five times, one of thrusts struck the heart and killed the victim.

The defendant is charged with second degree murder with a deadly weapon and could face life in prison if convicted by the jury. Based on the opening statements, the defense seems to intend to rely on self-defense in the case. The defense claims that defendant was on the ground being choked by the victim when the defendant struck back with the knife. The defense went further to say that the choking was so violent that the defendant could not breathe and lashed out to save himself. Apparently, the defendant had marks on his neck, thereby corroborating the defense's theory of the case. The defense lawyers should introduce photos of the injuries during the case to solidify their case.

At the close of the evidence and after each side has completed their closing statements, the jurors will deliberate and have to decide whether the defendants was justified in using deadly force. There is a standard jury instruction that the judge will read to the jurors regarding this defense. The law allows for a defendant to use deadly force if a defendant reasonable believes that the force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm. The jurors will have to determine whether the circumstances in which the defendant found himself surrounded by justified the use of deadly force. The appearance of danger must have been so real that any reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed deadly force was necessary to avoid the danger.

The jurors will have to consider all of the evidence provided at trial to determine if the defendant's claim of self-defense will entitle him to a not guilty verdict. The jurors must consider physical, as well as testimonial evidence prior to coming to their decision. The testimonial evidence will come from people who were around when the incident occurred. The physical evidence that will be compelling in the case will be the video recording from the school surveillance system. The strength of video either for the defense or the prosecution will depend on the clarity of video and what it depicts. The jurors will review the video several times and then discuss what each one thinks about its contents before determining the guilt or innocence of the defendant. If the jurors cannot come to a unanimous decision, it could result in a hung jury, eventually requiring a new trial down the road. The trial is supposed to last approximately two weeks.

Prosecutor: Coral Gables High Teen Let Jealousy, Anger Lead to Murder, Orlando Sentinal.com, July 22, 2011.
Categories: Violent Crimes