ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Testimony continued Tuesday in a hearing for a man accused of manslaughter in the death of another man outside a bar in St. Augustine.
Attorneys for Luis Casado, 31, are trying to get the charge dropped, claiming a “stand-your-ground” defense in the May 2021 shooting outside the Dos Gatos bar in Downtown St. Augustine.
The shooting was recorded on surveillance video, which shows Casado and Adam Amoia outside the now-closed bar.
In a stand-your-ground petition, Patrick Canan, Casado’s attorney, states that Amoia and another man “began to suddenly and in concert violently attack” Casado “for no apparent reason.”
Casado was seen talking with several of Amoia’s friends outside the bar, a conversation that the petition says “was of no real significance and certainly nothing threatening.” The petition says that “Amoia, drunk and leaning on the wall, suddenly became aggressive and insisted that Mr. Casado leave immediately,” even though Casado “did nothing to incite rudeness or violence.”
The petition says that before Casado had a chance to “make sense of Mr. Amoia’s bizarre request,” Amoia shoved him, then hit him in the face, knocking off his glasses, rendering Casado legally blind. It states the other man then punched Casado and Amoia followed that by hitting Casado four more times in the face when Casado “found himself forced up against a wall.”
The petition says that after Amoia hit Casado two more times, “he was afraid for his life and shot his firearm to prevent serious bodily injury or even death.”
Casado is also charged with carrying a firearm in a prohibited place.
On Tuesday, the court saw before, during and after the moment Casado shot and killed Amoia. The video could decide whether the charge is dropped.
Bars and restaurants were beginning to close, and Casado is seen walking out of the bar, then seen standing and taking to another man, identified as Amoia, who was standing with friends.
A couple of minutes later, Casado is seen closer to Amoia and Amoia’s friends. Next, Amoia’s friend, identified as Felix Ramos Santiago, gets Casado’s attention. Amoia is still standing against the wall.
Casado and Santiago are seen laughing with each other.
Approximately three minutes later, Amoia and Casado are talking to each other. Then things escalate.
Amoia and Santiago slap Casado. Casado’s glasses fly off his face. Amoia continues to slap Casado.
Casado pulls out his gun and shoots at Amoia. Amoia runs away.
Casado stands with his hands in his pockets and leans against a wall. Minutes later, police arrive and Casado is taken into custody.
Casado’s defense attorneys say the video shows, Casado was acting in self-defense, but the state says Casado should’ve stopped shooting once Amoia ran away.
Evidence revealed both men had been drinking leading up to the shooting. Witness Jenna Smith said she served Casado at a bar before he went to Dos Gatos in St. Augustine.
Dr. James Fulcher, the chief medical examiner for District 7, said he determined Amoia alcohol and hydrocodone in this system.
Jenna Smith served Casado at a bar before he went to Dos Gatos St Augustine, and she testified that he was served four beers.
During cross examination, the defense asked if it was true that when he left the bar there were no signs of intoxication.
“Not that I was aware of,” Smith told the court.
All of the witnesses testified that neither man appeared drunk. Before the shooting, both men were seen inside Dos Gatos and there was no conflict.
We also learned today Casado got off work that night after working 30 days straight where he worked as security and valet at a hotel. Casado has a concealed-carry permit for his gun and could have it on him outside.
The state rested its case Tuesday. The judge is expected to make a ruling Thursday.
Previous day’s testimony
Testimony in the stand-your-ground hearing began Monday with Cpl. Eric Yarborough of the St. Augustine Police Department. Yarborough arrived to find Amoia lying on the ground shot and Casado standing on the sidewalk with his gun.
Casado explained why he shot Amoia.
“He hit me four times. I shot him,” Casado said in bodycam footage. “Self-defense. It was self-defense.”
Marilyn Butts, a crime scene technician, captured evidence from the shooting. Among the evidence: Shell casings, Casado’s glasses that were knocked off his face when he was hit, and his gun.
The next three witnesses Monday — Allison Seanard, Makayla Pomarzynski and Ryan Winland — all testified to seeing or hearing 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 did see someone slap someone, it was like an open contact situation. But I did see someone from the group of boys -- I saw a group of boys hit or made contact with the individual and he may have backed up. And then nothing else occurred and then there was a gun and chaos ensued.”
The final witness of the day, Michael Britton, was working at Dos Gatos in St. Augustine and testified that Casado was becoming aggressive outside and that Amoia tried to make him leave.
“Adam steps up, kind of like, turns him by the shoulders to like, ‘Alright buddy. It’s time for you to go, alright, f-off,’ and then he turns around and now this is where he’s acting bold and stepping in people’s personal spaces,” Britton said.
During cross-examination, the defense said it was Amoia and another friend who instigated the fight and attacked Casado first.
Attorney: “Did you see Mr. Casado after these two hits ... did you see him start to back up?”
Britton: “Uh, I don’t remember, but I would say so, yes.”
Attorney: “Do you remember his hand being in the air?”
Attorney: “Do you remember anyone trying to stop Mr. Amoia?”
Attorney: “Did you try to stop him?”
Attorney: “Did you even yell anything, ‘Don’t do that?’”
Attorney: “Did any of these guys here in exhibit one try to stop it?”
Attorney: “Did any of them yell, ‘Please don’t do that?’”
Attorney: “Everyone just watched.”
The stand-your-ground petition points out the sequence took 15 seconds and was caught on surveillance video. Casado’s lawyer notes that his client has no prior criminal history, but that both Amoia and the other man do.
The petition also includes the toxicology report on Amoia’s body from the medical examiner. Amoia’s blood alcohol concentration level was .266, more than three times the legal limit for driving in Florida. The report found he also had hydrocodone and marijuana in his system.
The hearing is expected to last until Thursday. It’s unclear if Casado will take the stand.