Miss Miami Lakes USA has battery charge in baseball bat attack dropped

Attorney says charge dismissed under 'stand your ground' law

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

MIAMI - Miss Miami Lakes USA maintained all along that she was just defending herself when she hit a South Florida DJ with a baseball bat during a party last year in Hialeah.

Now, it seems a court of law agreed.

A misdemeanor battery charge against Vanessa Barcelo stemming from the December incident was dismissed Wednesday, Miami-Dade County court records show.

Her attorney told Local 10 News that the case was dismissed under Florida's "stand your ground" law.

Barcelo was arrested by Hialeah police after she attacked South Florida radio DJ Dave Duperon with a baseball bat during an "ugly sweater party" at her home. Duperon had been invited to help promote Barcelo's cake business.

However, a memorandum that was sent to prosecutors from Barcelo's lawyer claimed that Duperon locked himself in the upstairs master bedroom with Barcelo's unconscious cousin, so Barcelo barged in with some other guests and ordered Duperon to leave.

A memorandum from Vanesa Barcelo's attorney says South Florida radio DJ Dave Duperon refused to leave her party and locked himself in a bedroom with Barcelo's unconscious cousin.

"That's when I ran over and hit him, because I didn't know where the bat was," Barcelo said. "I didn't know if he was going to get up and hit me."

Multiple listed witnesses said the fight broke out only after Duperon refused to leave, took the bat and started swinging at other guests.

She initially faced charges of aggravated battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery, but the state only chose to pursue a misdemeanor battery charge.

"I did the right thing, and I tried to defend the woman (who) was being taken advantage of because of her intoxication," Barcelo said. 

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