It will be up to a jury to decide if Janepsy Carballo was justified in the killing of the man she said killed her husband.
The Stand Your Ground motion filed by her defense was denied on Friday, based largely on Carballo’s inadvertent confession to a confidential informant who was wearing a police wire to investigate an unrelated drug charge at the pain management clinic where she worked.
“The inescapable conclusion is that the defendant lured the victim to the home and killed him,” said Miami Circuit Court Judge Beth Bloom, reading in court from a statement explaining her decision. “The taped conversation between the defendant and the disclosed confidential source is compelling, incapable of being ignored, downplayed or interpreted in any other manner but one of revenge.”
In May 2008, Carballo shot Ilan Nissim six times in the back and arm when she said he came to her house uninvited. Cellphone records show that she called Nissim three times that day, asking him to come over.
The shooting came one month after Carballo’s husband and toddler son were shot in front of her house. Her son survived; her husband did not. Nissim was a suspect in the murder.
Carballo said her 37-year-old husband, Orlando Mesa, was an “entrepreneur” who worked as a mechanic and was involved in drug dealing. Mesa and Nissim were involved in some business transactions including a $180,000 real estate deal, the defendant said.
Explaining her decision, Judge Bloom read from the transcript of Carballo’s 3 1/2-hour conversation with the confidential informant, quoting the 34-year-old defendant as saying, “An eye for an eye. I want his daughter to grow up without a father just like my son.”
Since the Stand Your Ground statute was passed in 2005, it has been used in “fake defenses” all over the state of Florida, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in an interview.
The controversial law, which eliminated the duty to retreat when threatened, came under scrutiny in February when neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager in Sanford. Police initially declined to charge Zimmerman when he invoked the Stand Your Ground statute. Zimmerman now faces charges of second-degree murder.
In response to national outcry surrounding the Trayvon Martin case, Florida Gov. Rick Scott commissioned a 19-member task force to make suggestions about the law. Their findings, presented to the state Legislature in November, did not suggest major changes.
Other states have enacted similar laws, which are supported by the National Rifle Association.
Two days before the ruling on the Carballo case, Sen. Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale introduced a bill in the state Senate to amend the Stand Your Ground statute by removing immunity from prosecution for someone who initiates a confrontation or pursues a victim.
Fernandez Rundle also made suggestions to change the law, specifying that immunity should be granted only to someone “who does not initially provoke the force,” according to documents from the state attorney’s office.
“A lot of people are trying to abuse the good intentions of the statute,” Fernandez Rundle said. Although she declined to comment at length on the pending Carballo case, she said she “appreciated the judge’s order validating our position and our interpretation of the facts of the case.”
Carballo has been charged with first-degree murder. She goes on trial in April.