MIAMI – The Florida man chased another, killing him because he said he felt threatened.
Some called the man who pursued the other a vigilante, but others said he complied with Florida’s self-defense law known as 'Stand Your Ground.'
They were not the two people at the heart of the now well-known story about the fatal shooting of a Miami Gardens youth, Trayvon Martin, 17, by a neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, 28.
The man who pursued the other is Greyston Garcia, the man who died was Pedro Roteta. Last week, citing the state’s Stand Your Ground law, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom decided that Garcia was immune from prosecution in the January killing of Roteta.
So Bloom dismissed a murder charge against Garcia, who stabbed Roteta on Jan. 25 after he allegedly caught him stealing a radio from his truck.On Tuesday, she ruled that Garcia's actions were justified.
According to a Miami Herald story, Garcia grabbed a knife and chased Roteta, who took off running.
“After more than a block, Garcia caught up with Roteta,” the newspaper said. “Garcia's defense attorney said Roteta swung a bag filled with three stolen car radios at Garcia’s head.”
The judge, the paper said, ruled that the action amounted to a legal threat and Garcia "was well within his rights to pursue the victim and demand the return of his property."
In the Martin-Zimmerman case, Sanford police cited the law in their reason for not arresting the shooter.
Martin’s supporters have said Zimmerman targeted the unarmed teen because he was black.
The shooting in a gated community near Orlando has sparked widespread outrage, with many calling for Zimmerman's arrest.
Martin was returning to his father's fiancée's home from a convenience store when Zimmerman started following him, telling police dispatchers he looked suspicious. At some point, the two apparently got into a fight and Zimmerman pulled out his gun.
This week, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Martin hit his shooter in the face and left him bloodied and battered on the sidewalk.
That is the account that Zimmerman gave police, and, according to the Sentinel, authorities say much of it has been corroborated by witnesses.
Confusion remains about whether it was Zimmerman or Martin who was heard yelling for help by residents in the homes near where the scuffle occurred.
In the Miami-Dade case, Bloom noted that Garcia went home instead of calling 911 and later hid the knife and sold two of the radios.
Miami-Dade Chief Assistant State Attorney Kathleen Hoague told The Miami Herald that she would appeal the Tuesday ruling because Bloom "abused her discretion."
This story contains material from The Associated Press.