Crime

Video shows deadly bar brawl knifing in self-defense case

Deadly stabbing at Little Havana bar shown on surveillance video

A surveillance video captured the May 21, 2016, brawl that ended in the stabbing death of Jesus Hernandez at Joseph's Club in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. A Miami man is claiming self defense in the case under Florida's Stand Your Ground l
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A surveillance video captured the May 21, 2016, brawl that ended in the stabbing death of Jesus Hernandez at Joseph's Club in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. A Miami man is claiming self defense in the case under Florida's Stand Your Ground l

A Miami man who claims he acted in self-defense in fatally stabbing a belligerent patron during a brawl at a Little Havana bar is getting out of jail to await trial on murder charges.

A judge this week granted $75,000 bond to Miguel Herrera Guevarra after prosecutors acknowledged there was not enough evidence to keep him behind bars. Guevarra, 45, must remain under house arrest once he is released.

In the coming weeks, Guevarra’s lawyers will ask a judge to grant him immunity under Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law. The key evidence will be surveillance footage from inside the bar that captured the scrum that ended in the death of Jesus Hernandez, 23.

“He knows he’s dealing with someone who is acting erratically,” lawyer Philip Reizenstein told the judge of his client. “He was afraid for his life.”

The killing happened on May 21 at Joseph’s Club, 1971 NW Seventh St., a restaurant that turns into a club at night in a blue-collar part of town near Marlins Park. It was almost 2 a.m.

At the time, Guevarra — a former security guard who used to work at the bar — was seated at the bar as Hernandez, agitated for an unknown reason, began pacing back and forth. At one point, Hernandez smacked Guevarra on the shoulder.

“My client doesn’t react,” defense lawyer Jacqueline Woodward said during Tuesday’s hearing.

A few moments later, the video shows, Hernandez pushed a woman, then slapped her hands as she confronted him. Guevarra stepped in, punching the man. The men were separated briefly — Guevarra then produced a knife as the crowd milled about for a few seconds.

Then, suddenly, Hernandez broke a beer bottle and attacked Guevarra with it, the video shows. During the melee, Hernandez was stabbed twice, wounds that proved fatal.

Prosecutors declined to present their case during Tuesday’s bail hearing. “The state is not going to share its theory of the case for strategic reasons,” prosecutor Sonali Desai told Circuit Judge Spence Eig.

A date has not been set for the Stand Your Ground hearing.

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