ST. Augustine, Fla. – Attorneys for a man accused of manslaughter in the death of another man outside a bar in St. Augustine are trying to avoid charges.
A court hearing was held Monday for Luis Casado, 31, who was charged with manslaughter and possession of a firearm in a prohibited area. The shooting took place in May 2021 and the incident was caught on surveillance camera.
Related: Prosecutors release video of fatal St. Augustine shooting as lawyer calls for ‘stand your ground’ hearing
In November 2021, a “stand-your-ground” petition was filed. In the filing, Casado’s attorney, Patrick Cannon, says Amoya and another man “suddenly and violently attacked Casado at the concert for no apparent reason.”
Casado was seen talking with several of Amoya’s friends outside the bar, “nothing of real significance, certainly nothing threatening,” the petition said. Amoya, who was “intoxicated and leaning against the wall, suddenly became violent and demanded that Mr. Casado leave immediately,” the filing said, adding that Casado “did nothing to cause danger or violence.”
Before Casado had a chance to “understand Mr. Amoya’s strange request,” Amoya pushed him, punched him in the face and knocked off his glasses, rendering Casado legally blind, according to the petition. It said the other man punched Casado and Amoya then punched Casado four more times in the face while Casado was “standing against a wall.”
After Amoya struck Casado two more times, “he feared for his life and fired his gun to prevent serious injury or death,” according to the petition.
On Monday, four witnesses took the stand – and the court was shown video from the moment Casado was arrested.
“He hit me four times. I shot him,” Casado says in the bodycam footage. “Self-defense. It was self-defense.”
Witness Alison Seanard was one of four who appeared in court.
“I thought it was like horseplay,” Seanard said. “I saw somebody hit somebody and it was like an open contact situation. But I saw one of the boys. I saw a bunch of guys hit the guy or make contact and he probably backed up. And nothing else happened, and then there was a gunshot, and chaos ensued.
The court also heard from Michael Britton, a bartender at Dos Gatos in St. Augustine who witnessed the shooting. Britton remembered what he had seen.
Lawyer: “After the first shot went off, what did Adam do?
Britton: “He grabbed him by the neck and turned and ran away.”
Lawyer: “Is the shooter still shooting?”
However, on cross-examination, the defense said that Casado had not threatened anyone before the shooting and that everyone was teasing and making fun of him because he was calm.
The Stand Your Ground petition was caught on surveillance video for 15 seconds. Casado’s attorney notes that his client has no prior criminal history, but that Amoya and one other person do.
The petition also included the medical examiner’s toxicology report on Amoya’s body. Amoya’s blood alcohol concentration level was .266, more than three times the legal limit to drive in Florida. The report found he had hydrocodone and marijuana in his system.
The hearing is expected till Thursday. It is unclear whether Casado will take the stand.
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