An Opa-locka man did not act in self-defense when he shot and killed two unarmed men outside a Chilis Bar & Grill, a judge ruled Friday.
Gabriel Mobley is charged with two counts of second-degree murder for the February 2008 killings of Jason Jesus Gonzalez and Rolando Carrazana, both 24.
Circuit Judge Thomas Rebulls decision means Mobley will now face a jury trial. While Rebull did not grant Mobley immunity, he can still argue self-defense at a jury trial.
It was a tough decision but we think the judge properly reviewed the evidence, prosecutor Kathleen Hoague said. This case really needs to be considered by a jury.
That night, an argument between two groups of men escalated when Gonzalez punched one of Mobleys pals in the restaurant parking lot.
Mobley, who had a concealed weapons permit and cooperated with police, pulled a pistol and shot the men dead. At a Stand Your Ground hearing in January, Mobley claimed he saw Carranza rushing up and thought he had a weapon.
I was scared, and then I seen this other guy coming up from the back and then he reached up under his shirt so I was scared, Mobley testified. I thought, you know, they were going to shoot or kill us.
Prosecutors charged Mobley five months later after analyzing surveillance video of the shooting.
The shooting was seen as a key test of Floridas controversial Stand Your Ground law, which eliminated a citizens duty to retreat before using lethal force in the face of a threat.
The law also gave judges greater leeway to throw out criminal charges if they deemed somebody acted in self-defense. In Miami-Dade, so far, judges have thrown out three murder cases based on the law.
The law came under national scrutiny last year when a man claimed self-defense when he killed an unarmed teen, Trayvon Martin, during a physical fight in Sanford. The man, George Zimmerman, was eventually charged with second-degree murder and is awaiting trial.