MIAMI (CBS4) – Former Florida International University student Quentin Wyche sat in the back of a South Florida courtroom Monday morning, hearing witnesses describe the day he stabbed FIU football running back Kendall Berry to death with a pair of scissors.
But this wasn’t a trial. Defense attorneys are pushing the judge to dismiss the murder charge against Wyche before a jury ever hears the case.
They say he stabbed Berry out of self defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground’ law, though Berry wasn’t armed. The self defense law was enacted in 2005 by the-Governor Jeb Bush.
The defense’s witnesses testified that Berry picked the fight with Wyche outside the school’s recreation center in March of 2010, with more than a dozen of Berry’s buddies and fellow football players backing him up.
“(Berry) was walking toward (Wyche), squaring up, getting ready to fight…(Berry) was saying ‘oh you did something to my girl,'” witness Garett Cottom told the court.
Both witnesses testified that at first, Wyche ran away from Berry and his friends.
“When I looked back, ‘Q’ was running toward the rec to the doors we came out from with a group of guys chasing him,” testified Anthony Cooper.
Attorney David Peckins says Berry’s death was unintentional.
“He just happened to thrust himself against the scissor that the defendant had taken out apparently from his book bag when he was being chased down by this football team,” Peckins told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
Prosecutors maintain Wyche intended to kill Berry, and that the judge should move forward with trial.
“This is murder. This is pure and simple murder….This is someone who brought a knife to a fist fight, and someone is dead because of it,” said prosecutor Abbe Rifkin.
“He stabbed him at the bottom of his heart,” Berry’s mother, Mellisscia Spillman recalled emotionally.
Berry’s family members can’t imagine seeing Wyche go free without a trial.
“We’re very disappointed, it’s been 2 years and we still don’t know what happened. It’s about time he starts being a judge and starts making things happen,” said Berry’s father, Derrick Spillman.
Judge Milton Hirsch gave the defense two weeks to present to him all the witness statements as hearsay evidence.
Then the judge will decide whether this case should go to trial or whether Quentin Wyche should be a free man.