A Florida man scheduled to stand trial this week in the murder of two unarmed men outside a Chili’s restaurant in 2008 is free, marking the first time a Miami appeals court has granted stand your ground immunity, in a major case widely seen as a test of stand your ground law.
Gabriel Mobley, of Opa-Locka, now 36-years-old, had claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Jason Jesus Gonzalez and Rolando Carrazana, both 24 years old, after an argument over women. The case had been scheduled for a jury trial beginning January 10th.
On Feb. 28, 2008, Mobley and a friend, Jose “Chico” Correa were inside Chili’s chatting it up with a group of women at the restaurant’s bar. The two men went outside to smoke cigarettes, and returned to find that Gonzalez and Carrazana, who were also at the bar, had moved in and struck up a conversation with the ladies.
It started a short argument, in which the appeals court said Mobley acted as a peacemaker, and everything seemed cool. Gonzalez and Carrazana left, but soon started “banging aggressively” on the windows of the restaurant and pointing at Mobley and Correa, according to the Miami Herald.
Mobley, apparently feeling nervous, went outside to his car and got his Glock pistol, but as he and Correa stood outside smoking cigarettes again, Gonzalez came out of nowhere and sucker-punched Correa, fracturing an eye socket. Mobley claimed he was scared when Carrazana, reaching under his shirt, came rushing at them.
In the shooting, Mobley who had a concealed carry gun permit, fired at both men, and testified that he thought “they were going to stab or shoot or kill us”, reported WTVJ-TV.
Based on witness statements and surveillance video, Florida prosecutors charged him four months later with two counts of second-degree murder, contending he was not acting in self-defense. He was denied stand your ground immunity by Judge Thomas Rebull at a hearing last April, who said the shooting was “neither reasonable nor necessary.”
The Tampa Bay Times reported that one of the victims had his hands up when he was killed and the other did not seem to be reaching for a weapon as Mobley claimed.
Last Thursday, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals took Mobley’s side, overruling the lower court by dismissing the murder charges and ruling that his use of deadly force was justified.
The court said Gonzalez and Carrazana were “the aggressors”. Judge Linda Ann Wells wrote. “Mobley did not shoot two innocent bystanders who just happened upon him on a sidewalk.” Prosecutors plan to appeal the decision, and the case could end up in the hands of Florida’s Supreme Court.
- Man Who Claimed Stand Your Ground After Killing Two Is Killed In Prison (endstandyourground.wordpress.com)
- From Arizona To Florida, Stand Your Ground Ends In Manslaughter (endstandyourground.wordpress.com)