Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Towing company owner loses appeal in fatal shooting case

TAMPA — A tow truck company owner who fatally shot a man driving a seized car was handed a second legal defeat Wednesday.

An appeals court ruled that the judge in Donald M. Montanez's case correctly denied a motion to dismiss a second-degree murder charge. Lawyers had argued that Montanez qualified for immunity and dismissal of a murder charge because of Florida's "stand your ground" law, which allows people to meet force with force when they feel threatened.

Attorneys for Montanez, 47, argued that he thought an employee was in physical danger when 30-year-old Glen Rich drove his car in the employee's direction.

The 2006 shooting followed a dispute about the vehicle being towed from the area of a Hillsborough Avenue after-hours club, according to the brief.

Prosecutors presented evidence that suggested Montanez fired his .40-caliber pistol into the passenger window of Rich's passing vehicle, meaning he was in no danger of being hit by the car when he used deadly force.

Circuit Judge Robert Foster Jr. sided with the prosecution, ruling that there is a zone of uncertainty where it is unclear in which direction a car will travel, but Montanez was outside that zone.

Montanez's lawyers appealed but got the same result.

"It is clear from the record that at the time Montanez fired the shot, the vehicle was passing him. Thus we are not persuaded," the appeals court opinion stated.

The court also thought Montanez's testimony that he did not know where his employee was at the time of the shooting was problematic if he was shooting in the employee's defense.

Montanez can still appeal the verdict if he is convicted at trial.

Towing company owner loses appeal in fatal shooting case 01/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  2. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  3. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo


    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  4. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies


    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  5. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.