ST. Augustine, Fla. – As a stand-your-ground hearing continues Thursday in St. Johns County Court, the biggest question is whether the man charged with manslaughter in the May 2021 shooting death of Adam Amoya will take the stand.
Attorneys for 31-year-old Luis Casado have yet to say whether their client will testify at the hearing, which will determine whether the manslaughter charge against him should be dropped.
Casado was also charged with possession of a firearm in a prohibited area.
Casado fatally shot Amoya outside the now-closed Dos Gatos bar in downtown St. Augustine.
The shooting was captured on surveillance video from the bar and nearby businesses, and in court Tuesday and Wednesday, video was shown before, during and after the moment Casado shot and killed Amoya.
Video on Tuesday showed bars and restaurants closing, and Casado dos Gatos was seen walking out of the bar, then standing and talking with another man, identified as Amoya, who was with friends.
Related: Prosecutors release video of fatal St. Augustine shooting as lawyer calls for ‘stand your ground’ hearing
A few minutes later, Casado looks closer to Amoya and Amoya’s friends. Next, Amoya’s friend, Felix Ramos Santiago, catches Casado’s attention. Amoya is still leaning against the wall. Casado and Santiago are seen laughing at each other.
Casado’s Stand Your Ground petition says the conversation had “no real significance and certainly nothing threatening.”
Amoya and Santiago “immediately began violently assaulting Casado for no apparent reason,” according to the petition.
“Drunken and leaning against the wall, Amoya 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.
Santiago then punched Casado and Amoya and then punched Casado four more times in the face when he saw that Casado was “standing against a wall.”
The defense spent Wednesday morning breaking down the video from outside the bar frame by frame.
Santiago is heard screaming on an officer’s body camera. He was supposed to testify in court on Wednesday, but he did not testify due to technical problems.
Dr. analyzed the video and explained the human factors. He said the threat begins with the men in the video who appear to focus on Casado.
Lawyer: “Does this sound threatening?”
Bedard: “I don’t think bullying ends in middle school, they pick on someone they think they can handle, this may be happening here, but can’t say for sure.
Things escalate in the video after Amoya tries to turn Casado. Bedard said Casado did not make any threatening gestures but was signaling he did not want to fight.
Bedard: “He raises his hands.”
On cross-examination, the state pointed out that no one knew what Casado thought about the men in the video.
Prosecutor: “Some of the gang never moved.”
Bedard: “Yes, but Casado couldn’t stand it because he didn’t know what they were going to do.”
Giving Casado less than a second to walk before the first blow. Amoya hits him repeatedly until Casado pulls his gun and shoots him seven times.
Attorney: “Could Casadoc have stopped shooting when Amoya turned around?”
Bedard said this happens often and the mind can’t understand that there is no longer a threat.
The prosecutor did not re-examine this statement in cross-examination.
Instead, the defense opened the door with hints of what Casado was thinking, he said, adding that no one knows what Casado was thinking, but that his actions are clear on video.
In a stand-your-ground petition that took 15 seconds, Casado’s attorney points out that his client has no prior criminal history, but Amoya and Santiago do.
The state is resting
Evidence emerged that both were drunk before the shooting.
Chief Medical Examiner of District 7 Dr. James Fulcher said he found alcohol and hydrocodone in Amoya’s system. Amoya’s blood alcohol concentration was .266, more than three times the legal limit to drive in Florida.
Witness Jenna Smith said she served Casado at a bar and gave him four beers before going to Dos Gatos in St. Augustine.
On cross-examination, the defendant asked if it was true that there were no signs of intoxication when he left the bar.
“I had no idea,” Smith told the court.
All the witnesses testified that no one was drunk. Before the shooting, the two were seen inside Dos Gatos, so there was no confrontation.
During testimony Tuesday, the court learned that Casado, who worked as a security and valet at a hotel, walked off the job that night after working 30 straight days. Casado has a concealed carry permit for his gun, which allows him to carry it outside.
The state moved the case on Tuesday.
Testimony in the stand-your-ground hearing began Monday in Cpl. Eric Yarborough of the St. Augustine Police Department. Yarborough arrived to find Amoya on the ground with a gunshot wound and Casado standing on the sidewalk with a gun.
Casado explained why he shot Amoya.
“He hit me four times. I shot him,” Casado said in the bodycam footage. “Self-defense. It was self-defense.”
Crime scene technician Marilyn Butz seized evidence from the shooting. Among the evidence: shell casings, glasses that hit Casado’s face, and a gun.
The next three witnesses on Monday — Allison Cienard, Makayla Pomerczynski and Ryan Winland — all testified they saw or heard the shooting but said they did not know all the details of what led up to it.
“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 guys — I saw a bunch of guys hitting or making contact with that guy and he probably backed up. And nothing else happened, and then there was a gunshot, and chaos ensued.
The last witness of the day, Michael Britton, was working at Dos Gatos in St. Augustine and testified that Casado was being violent outside and Amoya tried to leave him.
“Okay buddy. It’s time for you to go, okay, f—off,’ and then he turns around, and now this is where he’s being bold and stepping in people’s private spaces,” Britton said.
During cross-examination, the defense said Amoya and another friend instigated the fight and attacked Casado first.
Attorney: “Did you see Mr. Casado after these two hits … did you see him start backing up?”
Britton: “Oh, I don’t remember, but I would say so, yes.”
Lawyer: “Do you remember his hand being in the air?”
Counsel: “Do you remember anyone trying to stop Mr. Amoya?”
Lawyer: “Did you try to stop him?”
Lawyer: “Did you say something not to do that?”
Lawyer: “Did any of these people here try to stop it?”
Lawyer: “Did any of them yell, ‘Please don’t do it?’
Lawyer: “Everybody’s seen it now.”
Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All Rights Reserved.