Judge Cites "Stand Your Ground" to Clear Greyston Garcia in Little Havana Stabbing

In the midst of the Trayvon Martin controversy, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom has cited Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law to drop charges against Greyston Garcia after he fatally stabbed a car radio thief in Little Havana on January 25th. Though, Garcia apparently initiated the violence, never called police, hid the knife, and then later sold two of the car radios the man had stolen.

In the early hours of January 25, Garcia spotted Pedro Roteta and another man rummaging through his truck and taking off with his car radio according to the Miami Herald. Roteta and his accomplice had apparently been on a radio stealing spree, and Roteta was carrying a bag filled with three car radios.

Garcia decided to chase after Roteta with a knife, and caught up to him. Roteta swung the bag of radios at Garcia's head. Garcia blocked the bag, and then countered by lunging a knife in Roteta's chest. The stabbing killed Roteta. Garcia then took off with the radio, even those not belonging to him, and never called police. Garcia hid the knife used and sold the two car radios that did not belong to him.

When eventually contacted by police Garcia denied involvement, but eventually admitted that he was involved. He said he feared for his life because Roteta had a screwdriver in his hand, but eventually recanted that account and merely said he feared for his life because of the bag of radios.

Prosecutors charged Garcia with second-degree murder, but his defense was able to successfully argue for the charges to be dropped under the Stand Your Ground law.

Judge Bloom apparently agreed with a medical examiner who testified that a bag of radio swung at a head could cause serious harm or death, and that the defendant Garcia "was well within his rights to pursue the victim and demand the return of his property."

"The law does not allow for you to use deadly force to retrieve your property. She, in effect, is saying that it's appropriate to chase someone down with a knife to get property back," Miami-Dade Chief Assistant State Attorney Kathleen Hoague tells the Herald.

Prosecutors plan to appeal Bloom's ruling.

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