A Florida teen is now immune from civil and criminal charges in his classmate's death, a judge ruled this week.
Jorge Saavedra, 15, "had more than enough reason to believe he was in danger of death or great bodily harm" from 16-year-old Dylan Nuno, in January of 2011, Judge Lauren Brodie said.
Court documents show Nuno had been harassing Saavedra for months, so much so that Saavedra brought a knife with him to school in Collier County, Florida. Witnesses say Nuno launched an unprovoked attack on Saavedra at the bus stop January 24. That’s when Saavedra stabbed and killed Nuno.
Saavedra was originally charged in juvenile court with manslaughter. But the judge ruled that according to Florida’s "Stand Your Ground" law, his actions were legal because he was acting in self-defense. A majority of states have some sort of self-defense law, but it usually only applies in one's own home. Five years ago, Florida expanded their law to include just about anywhere a person has a right to be.
Nuno’s father, Renier Nuno, told the Ft. Myers News-Press that the judge’s decision will only encourage more students to arm themselves. "If my son had a gun, he would be alive today. My son didn’t even have a rock or a stick," he said.
Saavedra’s father, Jorge Saavedra Sr., spoke through his attorney, Donald Day, saying, "I’m relieved it’s over, but we feel horrible that this ever happened and it will have a serious, lifelong effect on our son." Day added, "There really are no winners out of this today. It's a tragedy all the way around." Saavedra is undergoing counseling and will not return to Collier County after his release, according to his attorney.
The State Attorney's office won’t appeal. Officials with the Collier County School District told our affiliate WINK they would not comment until they have read the ruling.