MIAMI SHORES (CBS4) – Twenty four days after a 14 year-old boy shot and killed a suspected thief in the backyard of the family’s Miami Shores home, prosecutors have reached no decision on whether the killing was justified – and felony murder charges against the dead man’s alleged accomplice have been dropped.
Reynaldo Munoz was shot dead on the bulkhead of the waterfront home in a pricey Miami Shores neighborhood as he allegedly attempted to steal the family’s WaveRunner, from the back dock. The home belongs to attorney Jeffrey Davis, who was not home at the time.
According to police, Munoz, 20, with no prior criminal history, was killed by Davis’s teenaged son, Jack.
At the time of the incident, police reported that Jack Davis, or his mother Yasmin, told them that Munoz had threatened them.
A Miami-Dade police news release said the “victim(s)” reported that “the subject stated he was armed.”
But Mayra Sanabria, who taught Munoz at Palm Springs Middle School, said he could not have “stated” anything to anyone.
Munoz was profoundly deaf and mute.
“He wasn’t able to speak,” Sanabria told CBS4’s Gary Nelson Tuesday. “He only spoke through American sign language. He couldn’t have said that. He couldn’t have said that he had a weapon.”
CBS4’s news partner, The Miami Herald, has quoted some who viewed Munoz’s body as saying he was shot in the back of the head.
Sanabria said Munoz would not have been able to hear the shotgun-wielding Davis if the boy had shouted any commands. “He wouldn’t be able to hear them. He would not be able to hear.”
The state on Monday dropped a felony murder charge against Munoz’s girlfriend and alleged accomplice, 19 year-old Carolina Lopez. Lopez accompanied Munoz on the day of the fatal incident, and was first charged with murder because someone was killed in the commission of a crime she allegedly participated in. But the felony murder charge was dropped because prosecutors could not prove an underlying crime of burglary – there was no break-in, or fence or gate climbed in the WaveRunner. Charges against Lopez were reduced to grand theft.
Prosecutors must still determine whether the shooting of the alleged thief was justified – or was, itself, a crime.
“We are still going through it,” said Ed Griffith, a spokesman for State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “The final conclusion could be a “yes” or a “no,” but the review is still ongoing.”
Sanabria, the dead man’s former teacher, said she was troubled by comments from some of the Davis family’s neighbors who said Munoz “got what was coming to him.”
“It’s sad to lose a child, and then have to hear someone say, ‘Oh, he deserved to die?'” Sanabria said. “He may have deserved jail, or an opportunity for rehabilitation, but to shoot him in the head, in the back?”
Sanabria recalled attending Munoz’s funeral services, and seeing his grieving mother and family members.
“As a mother, it really strikes me,” she said, weeping. “He was a good-hearted boy. He was respectful when he was in school.”
After giving initial statements to police, members of the Davis family have retained counsel and declined to speak with investigators. At the Davis home Tuesday a woman appeared at a front window and motioned at a CBS4 News crew to go away.