MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami-Dade prosecutors dropped assault and weapons charges Monday morning against Frank Acosta, the Barbara Goleman High School student who stabbed a fellow student he claimed attacked him.
Acosta said he was the victim of bullying, and video taken at the time of the stabbing clearly showed he was attacked by fellow student Mauricio Padron, 17. Despite that, he was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon because he stabbed Padron with a small pocket knife. He was charged with a weapons violation because it’s illegal to bring a knife to school.
In a court hearing Monday, prosecutors said they would “nolle pros” the case, which means they declined to move forward with prosecution. That means the charges were dropped against Acosta, who claimed he was just defending himself against the much larger Padron.
“I feel good, happy that this whole thing is over…When I found out I was filled with emotion and I almost cried,” Acosta told CBS4′s Natalia Zea exlusively in Spanish.
In the State Attorney’s Office case close-out memo, prosecutors said that Padron admitted to police and fellow students that he used illegal steroids.
“The video showed that Mr. Acosta was truly the victim in this case, that this was a textbook case of bullying and that Mr. Acosta should never have been arrested, he should have never been charged in this case,” said his defense attorney Frank Gaviria.
Acosta was not in court Monday, but Gaviria said he was grateful his client can, “go on with his life and fulfill the American dream.”
A week after the incident, schools police also charged Padron – with battery and interference with education.
Those charges were also dropped. Padron’s attorney, Robert Pelier released this statement saying in part, “…In asserting my defense of Mr. Padron, the State attorney has advised that they will be dismissing charges against my client, Mr. Padron. I am pleased at the result I was able to obtain.”
Attorney Robert Pelier, representing Padron, said the cell phone video of the incident which showed the attack doesn’t tell the whole story. Pelier said Acosta had brandished the knife in the earlier encounter in the cafeteria, and had it out and at the ready before Padron charged him in the stairwell.
“Mr. Padron had been threatened and was taking action to defend himself,” Pelier said. “The school system is preserving all of the surveillance video of the incident and the full story will be revealed in court. We do not intend to try this case in the media.”
Neither teen nor their families were in court for Monday’s hearing. Acosta’s attorney said his client was supposed to graduate this semester and he is hoping he will still be able to. Acosta said the District sent him to a remedial school after his arrest, and he hopes to walk at graduation with his classmates at Barbara Goleman Senior High.
Acosta wants to move forward with his life, especially after tasting life behind bars.
He told CBS4, “I never want to stay in jail again.”