Jul 1, 2013 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits
Flashback, 2010: Citing Florida’s five-year-old Stand Your Ground law, a Fort Myers man likely will be freed from a year-old manslaughter charge.
On Wednesday, the state didn’t oppose a motion by Adeirean Carey to dismiss the charge stemming from the June 2009 death of Marcos Santiago at 5461 Fourth Ave. in Pine Manor, a neighborhood south of Fort Myers. Lee Circuit Judge Mark Steinbeck said he will make a ruling before Carey’s next court date Oct. 13.
Lee sheriff’s deputies charged Carey with second-degree murder, and prosecutors later charged him with manslaughter based on the facts of the case.
But evidence at the scene – a broken window latch found in the house and blood and a hat found just outside the window – pointed to self-defense, Carey’s attorney David Brener argued at a hearing Wednesday.
The state’s Stand Your Ground law allows people to defend themselves if they believe they or someone else is in immediate danger. It also doesn’t require them to retreat.
Carey testified Wednesday that he had been robbed a month earlier at his house, and when he heard noise around the window, he told the intruder to stop. He fired a shot as a warning, not knowing it hit anyone, he said. He left the house and later called Brener, who organized his surrender to authorities.
Assistant state attorney Bob Lee didn’t present any argument or witnesses to dispute the defense’s motion to dismiss. He said he had no way to dispute Carey’s version of the event.
“The Stand Your Ground law has ramifications that the Legislature did not envision,” Lee told Steinbeck. “It oft-times slaps the face of grieving families.”
Santiago’s sister, Gloria Santiago, is disappointed with the ruling.
“The guy is lying, and we only want justice,” she said. “Doesn’t everyone see that he’s dangerous? They’re just going to let him free?”
Previously, Stetson University law professor Robert Batey said, people could still use force in their homes but when Stand Your Ground passed in 2005, it then applied to situations outside the home. It no longer required people to try to retreat if they feel threatened.
Batey said the facts of this case likely would have led to an acquittal even before the Stand Your Ground law went into effect.
Batey said he doesn’t know of any studies on the law, but most of the complaints about it are anecdotal.
“And there are plenty of anecdotes,” he said. “The real concern is the person who pushes the edge of the envelope.”
About a year after Carey was arrested in Santiago’s death, Carey was charged with battery in connection with stabbing a man at a party. Brener has said his client acted in self-defense.
He has been held at the Lee County Jail since July, when Steinbeck revoked bail on the manslaughter charge after Carey was arrested on the battery charge.
Carey had a $51,500 bond on the manslaughter charge and $100,000 bond on the battery charge. If the manslaughter charge against Carey is dismissed, he likely will be held again on the $100,000 bond.