Judge denies Stand Your Ground motion in Winter Park teen's death

Roger Trindade died after being found unconscious near Park Avenue

WINTER PARK, Fla. – A judge on Thursday denied a motion that would have allowed a Stand Your Ground defense in the beating death of  a Winter Park teen.

Jesse Sutherland and Simeon Hall, both 15 at the time of the incident, face manslaughter charges in the October 2016 death of Roger Trindade, 15. A third teen is accused of witness tampering in the case.

Sutherland's attorney filed a Stand Your Ground motion in the case, meaning Sutherland claims he was defending himself during the incident.

Sutherland testified Thursday that Trindade was at Central Park with some friends and looked ready to fight. Sutherland said he got in Trindade's face and Trindade put his fists up as if he wanted to fight before backing away. Sutherland said he was afraid and punched Trindade.

Sutherland also described spitting on Trindade, who was unconscious.

Trindade's mother, Adriana Thome, attended the hearing and openly cried during the testimony.

The state noted Sutherland's size, saying he's at least 6 feet tall and weighs more than 200 pounds.

The judge ruled that Sutherland was not in imminent danger and denied the Stand Your Ground motion.

Hall also wanted to invoke a Stand Your Ground defense but instead entered a sworn affidavit giving his side of the story.

"These two individuals initiated the only fight that happened. And it's clear that the testimony shows that Roger didn't do anything threatening toward either one," Judge Sally Kest said.

Thome said she struggles every day to understand why her son is gone.

Roger Trindade

"I don't understand why he was in this situation. I never will understand," she said. "I wake up every day trying to understand why he was in this situation. They tried to change everything. They tried to say Roger was a fighter or something like that. He never did something like this."

Details about the exact circumstances surrounding Trindade's death have not been released, but an autopsy ruled that Trindade died of blunt-force trauma. He suffered a spinal artery tear because of blunt-force trauma to the head, which led to bleeding in the brain, causing his death, according to the autopsy report.

Trindade was found injured near the popular Park Avenue shopping district in Winter Park on the night of Oct. 15, 2016. He died after being taken off life support.

A trial in the case is scheduled to begin in November.

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