Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida's stand your ground lawSherdavia JenkinsTrayvon MartinGeorge ZimmermaTrevor DooleySarah Ludemann

Judge denies stand your ground defense in J.J. Revear murder

TAMPA — Jimmy Lee Cruz "brought a gun to a fistfight" when he fatally shot a man who punched his brother in a bar parking lot and is not entitled to immunity under Florida's "stand your ground" law, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling means Cruz, 34, will stand trial for second-degree murder in the 2011 death of J.J. Revear, 28, a troubled, mentally ill career criminal whose arrests began at age 12 when he drove the getaway car in an armed robbery.

Revear had just been released from a state mental hospital where he'd been treated for bipolar disorder.

He was unarmed the night he got into a fight with Cruz's brother, Michael, in the parking lot of the Interstate Lounge on N Nebraska Avenue.

The fight was the shortest of several scraps in the parking lot that night — one an all-out slugfest.

But when Revear punched Michael Cruz, knocking him down, Jimmy Lee Cruz came around his car with a gun and fired one shot, witnesses said.

His attorney, Brian Gonzalez, argued that the other fights had created a deadly atmosphere and that Cruz feared his fallen brother was in mortal danger.

Gonzalez said Cruz was protected from prosecution by the "stand your ground" law that has been cited in numerous controversial shooting cases since being passed in 2005.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta didn't find that credible. His ruling Wednesday stated: "The court finds that the defendant's use of deadly force was excessive when compared to the type of force to which he was responding, which was, according to all available testimony, only the use of hands."

No trial date has been set.

Judge denies stand your ground defense in J.J. Revear murder 07/11/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 9:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.