Broward Circuit Court Judge Michael I. Rothschild heard closing arguments on Friday for using Florida's Stand Your Ground law as the defense for two teenage cousins accused of murder.
Juan Xolo Merlin, 18, and Jose Carlos Llano, 15, are charged with second-degree murder, accused of killing 32-year-old Gregory Hypollite on Dec. 12, 2012, whose body was found behind the Advanced Auto Parts store at 126 N. Federal Highway.
"He and his cousin left the house, they were going to go to McDonald's. Before they got to McDonald's, they decided they'd look for a prostitute," said prosecutor Maria Schneider.
According to an arrest affidavit, Merlin and Llano met with Hypollite about 2 a.m. and agreed to give him $40 if he introduced them to a female prostitute.
But the woman refused to have sex with the teenagers because they only had $10 between them.
Hypollite still wanted to be paid for introducing them, and Llano went home to get cash, said police. He instead returned with a HP laptop and offered that as payment.
Merlin previously testified that Hypollite became aggressive. Police said Hypollite refused to take the laptop and an argument began. The three then began fighting, and Llano told police he had Hypollite in a choke hold while Merlin stabbed him with a pen and hit him with a broken glass bottle, according to an arrest affidavit. Merlin denied using the bottle but admitted to stabbing Hypollite with a pen.
When officers arrived, they saw two teenagers hitting a man who was on the ground, said police. The teenagers then ran away. Officers soon found Hypollite's body.
The attorney for Llano argued they feared for their life because Hypollite was high and asking for more money.
"He wants more and more money to leave them alone. Their fear is very warranted," said Jose Reyes. "On behalf of the boys that they were standing their ground, they were in fear of their safety."
"If we could kill annoying, loud, persistent people, there'd be a lot of dead people in Broward County," countered Schneider.
The teenagers face up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Rothschild said he'd rule by November 15.