After almost four years of legal proceedings, Florida man Gabriel Mobley’s murder charges have been dropped. Mobley shot and killed two men during a fight outside of a Miami-Dade Chili’s in 2008. An appeals court ruled 2-1 yesterday that the charges against Mobley should be dropped in accordance with Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law.
Back in 2008, prosecutors pressed charges against Mobley after reviewing surveillance tape showing him going out to his car to grab his gun during a fight with Jason Gonzalez and Rolando Carranza. Soon after grabbing the gun, he shot and killed both men.
Prosecutors originally argued that his decision to go to his car and grab his gun indicated aggression -- not self-defense -- on Mobley’s part. But judges on the appeal panel shot down that argument saying that people don’t have time analyze situations so rationally in the heat of the moment.
“The shooting at issue did not occur in a vacuum," Florida Third District Court of Appeals Judge Linda Ann Wells wrote in the opinion. "Mobley did not shoot two innocent bystanders who just happened upon him on a sidewalk."
"Anyone who says that Mr. Mobley had other options or time to make a long, thought-out decision before using force, has never been in that unthinkable situation - where the possibility of never again seeing your family hinges on your split-second reaction to two violent attackers," Mobley’s attorney Eduardo Pereira argued.
Mobley told the court he decided to shoot after seeing one of his attackers reach under his shirt for what he believed was a weapon.
"I was scared, and then I seen this other guy coming up from the back and then he reached up under his shirt so I was scared," Mobley testified. "I thought, you know, they were going to stab or shoot or kill us."
Prosecutors say they plan to appeal the court’s decision. If their appeal is successful, Mobley and his attorney may have to argue their case before a jury in court. But as of now, Mobley is an innocent man under what will surely continue to be one of the country’s most hotly debated laws.