Detectives have arrested a teen for the crossfire slaying of a Miami man who had just been freed from jail in a controversial self-defense case.
A judge in March had cleared Greyston Garcia, 26, of a murder charge for killing a car radio thief in Little Havana, a ruling that drew national attention.
Three months later, in a stunning twist of fate, Garcia was killed by an errant bullet from a nearby gunfight as he drove to his job as a convenience store clerk in Liberty City.
Miami police now say one of the killers is Dontrelle Williams, 17, who was arrested earlier this month. He is charged with first-degree murder and two gun charges.
He will likely be indicted, as an adult, in the coming weeks. A second suspect, Darin Lundy, is not in custody yet, records show.
According to an arrest report, Williams and Lundy opened fire on Ron Dwayne Jones, 16, and another man, who returned fire.
The initial burst of gunfire killed Jones and one round entered Garcia’s truck as he happened to pull up to Steve’s convenience store, 6900 NW 15th Ave. The bullet hit Garcia, and his truck crashed into a parked van nearby.
Garcia died later at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
In March, Miami-Dade Judge Beth Bloom granted Garcia immunity under Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground law just as a furor was spreading over the killing of Trayvon Martin, a Miami Gardens teen killed in Sanford by a self-styled neighborhood watchman who claimed self-defense.
The 2005 law eliminated a citizen’s duty to retreat before using deadly force to meet a threat. Critics argue that the law fosters a shoot-first, Wild-West attitude that gives criminals a pass on justice. It also gave judges greater leeway to throw out a case against a defendant they deemed acted in self-defense.
Garcia, armed with a knife, had chased down a thief who had broken into this truck and stolen his radio in Little Havana in January 2011. With one fatal thrust to the chest, Garcia felled Pedro Roteta.
Bloom ruled Garcia acted in self-defense because the thief swung a bag filled with heavy car radios, and a medical examiner testified that “a 4-6 pound bag of metal being swung at one’s head would lead to serious bodily injury or death,” her order said.
Garcia had originally been charged with second-degree murder, and prosecutors had planned to appeal Bloom’s ruling.
Bloom, in her order, said that under the law, Garcia “was well within his rights to pursue the victim and demand the return of his property . . . the defendant had no duty to retreat and could lawfully pursue a fleeing felon who has stolen his property.”
After his release from jail, Garcia had taken the job at the convenience store and his wife planned to return to college, said his defense attorney, Eduardo Pereira. He is seeking donations to help pay off costs associated with the funeral, and for a trust fund for Garcia’s children’s education.
Donations can be sent via PayPal to HelpGreyston@gmail.com, and questions can sent to Pereira at firstname.lastname@example.org.