'Stand Your Ground' Law Applies To Miami Lakes Killings

, Daily Business Review

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Third District Court of Appeal

In a split opinion, a state appellate panel Thursday found in favor of an Opa-locka man who had been denied the use of the state's controversial Stand Your Ground law in a double-homicide case.

The ruling by the Third District Court of Appeal basically provides immunity from prosecution to Gabriel Mobley, who had faced two second-degree murder charges.

The majority in the three-judge panel found Mobley had every reason to fear for his life outside a Chili's Bar & Grill in Miami Lakes in February 2008 when he shot two men with a Glock .45.

The opinion reversed a decision made in April by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Thomas Rebull, who rejected Mobley's assertion of self-defense.

In the 2-1 decision, the appellate panel found Mobley was clearly protected by the state Stand Your Ground law, which received nationwide focus when unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, a member of a neighborhood watch patrol, in 2012 in Sanford.

The Third DCA granted Mobley's petition for writ of prohibition seeking to preclude the circuit court from proceeding further in adjudicating criminal charges.

Jason Jesus Gonzalez and Rolando Carrazana, both 24, were killed in February 2008 during the confrontation. Video surveillance from the restaurant show Mobley's friend, Jose Correa, under a physical attack in the parking lot.

Gonzalez and Carranza were angry because Correa asked them to stop bothering a group of females who worked for his tax preparation office.

Mobley said he opened fire when he saw Carranaza reach under his shirt for what he thought was a weapon. Two restaurant knives were found near the body of Carranaza.

Split decision

Chief Judge Frank Shepherd and Judge Linda Ann Wells ruled in favor of Mobley, who had a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Judge Vance E. Salter dissented.

Wells, writing for the majority, wrote that the shooting at issue did not occur in a vacuum. "Mobley did not shoot two innocent bystanders who just happened upon him on a sidewalk," Mobley said.

"The record — as corroborated by a video of the events — is that Mobley found himself in the middle of a violent, unprovoked attack on a companion who was standing right next to him."

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