Prosecutors have decided they will not prosecute a man who was arrested on a child neglect charge after his son was killed during what St. Petersburg police described as a street racing event.
Johnny Julio Martin, 36, was arrested in February after his 13-year-old son, Ethan Julio Martin, was struck by a motorcyclist driving more than 100 mph.
But prosecutors found that there was not enough evidence to prove that Johnny Martin knew that street racing was going on at the event, and his defense attorney said Martin had been told that the event was a car show, not a street race.
Ethan Martin was crossing the street with his 18-year-old brother when he was hit, prosecutors said, another factor they took into account when deciding whether to file charges.
“We could not establish that it was the father’s culpable negligence that led to the child’s death,” Chief Assistant State Attorney Kendall Davidson said.
Johnny Martin’s attorney, John Rogers, said the boy was with an adult the entire time he was at the event. Rogers said the boy’s older brother said they looked both ways before crossing the street, and as soon as they began to cross, the motorcycle sped toward them, not giving them enough time to react.
Rogers said his client has struggled to move on with his life, in part because of the criminal charges.
“He’s relieved that the state attorney’s office isn’t going to pursue those charges,” Rogers said. “But at the end of the day, he still lost his boy and he’s a broken man.”
Martin declined an interview request with the Tampa Bay Times. He was also given a citation for street racing as a spectator. That citation is still pending.
Police also arrested the motorcyclist, 21-year-old Carlos Fernandez, and the motorcyclist’s owner, Allan Boreland Jr., 40.
In March, prosecutors decided not to file charges against Boreland, who was arrested on a culpable negligence manslaughter charge.
Fernandez has pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, manslaughter and reckless driving with serious bodily injury and is awaiting trial.