As Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law finds itself in the spotlight after the shooting of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, another controversial case: A judge yesterday threw out the murder charge against Greyston Garcia, who chased down a would-be burglar and stabbed him to death, because she determined Garcia was defending himself. She cited "Stand Your Ground" in her decision to declare Garcia immune from prosecution; the 2005 law says citizens no longer have a duty to retreat when faced with danger. Police have also cited it in their decision not to arrest George Zimmerman, who shot Martin.
In this case, Garcia, 25, was alerted by a roommate that Pedro Roteta, 26, was behind his apartment with another person attempting to steal the radio in Garcia's truck. Garcia grabbed a knife and chased Roteta more than a block before killing him, the Miami Herald reports. Roteta was unarmed other than an unopened pocketknife that never left his pocket, and Garcia admitted that though he "never saw a weapon," he thought Roteta was about to stab him so he struck first. The police sergeant who supervised the case calls the judge's decision a "travesty of justice," and prosecutors argued that once Roteta ran away from the truck, Garcia no longer had justification to use deadly force.