2 wanted in stabbing offer their side of story

Brothers accused of stabbing 22-year-old say it was self-defense

Carlos and Cameron Moralez
Carlos and Cameron Moralez

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Two brothers wanted in the stabbing of a man in Jacksonville Beach told News4Jax they want to set the record straight.

Police have been looking for 23-year-old Carlos Moralez and 22-year-old Cameron Moralez since Nov. 24. That's when officers said the men attacked and stabbed 22-year-old Nicolas Smith just after midnight.

The two men, who have warrants out for their arrest, reached out to News4Jax through email.

They said what happened in Jacksonville Beach that night was self-defense, not an attack. They said Smith was yelling then became violent and that video from that night confirms their story.

In the video of what the Moralez brothers said was the beginning of a confrontation that ended with them facing aggravated battery charges, Carlos Moralez can be seen talking with Nicolas Smith on 2nd Street in Jacksonville Beach. In the video, Carlos Moralez says Smith is kicking him and warns him to stop.

In an email to News4Jax, Cameron Moralez said the situation escalated from there. He said, "We proceeded to head to where the car was parked in a parking lot but then Smith kicked Carlos again in his hip and everyone gasp(ed) when they seen it. He than backed up and tackled Carlos. Next thing I knew he was fighting with Carlos. Carlos doesn't fight good and was getting his butt kicked really bad."

Cameron Moralez said he ran to his car to get pepper spray and tried to break up the two, but when Smith hit him, he sprayed.

Earlier this week, Nicolas Smith admitted to News4Jax that he got into an argument with the Moralez brothers, but he said he tried to walk away before the fight broke out.

According to Cameron Moralez, Smith swung at him after he sprayed the pepper spray and Carlos Moralez tackled him. Then Cameron Moralez said Smith threatened to kill his brother.

Cameron Moralez wrote, "I panicked and then remembered I have a pocket knife in my shorts. NOT a hunting knife. I warned Smith to stop and he didn't so I (Cameron) jabbed him in the thigh/butt area. He still continued to beat on Carlos even more. I warned him once again but he did not give up. So I jabbed him again around the same area. But he did not let Carlos go."

Cameron Moralez said he heard his brother gasping for air, so then he stabbed Smith in the back. It's something Cameron Moralez said he never wanted to do, but felt like he had to.

"According to Florida law, a person does have a right to use force, even deadly force, in order to prevent himself or herself from being killed or sustaining great bodily injury," said News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith.

Gil Smith said proving that the threat existed is the challenge. And he's not sure the video does that.

"Based on that camera angle from where they were shooting the video, I didn't see any contact," Gil Smith said. "It just looked like he might have moved his leg, and he kind of moved back a little bit. But that doesn't show any contact, so that's not enough proof to say that he was under attack first."

Gil Smith said it's important to remember there are many sides to every story.
Jacksonville Beach police said they are still investigating the stabbing and talking with witnesses.

The Moralez brothers said they have been on vacation and plan to turn themselves in, but they haven't yet.