MIAMI – A jury found Pablo Lyle guilty of manslaughter Tuesday in the death of Juan Hernandez, who suffered a fatal head injury in 2019 after Lyle punched him.
Hernández’s widow, Mercedes Arce, was in tears. Lyle, who could face up to 15 years in prison, remained calm. The 35-year-old father of two later hugged relatives and kissed his wife, Ana Araujo.
Corrections officers placed Lyle in handcuffs and escorted him away as he blew an air kiss.
It was painful for Lyle’s Mexican soap opera fans who agreed with People en Español’s 50 Most Beautiful in entertainment. He starred on “Mi Adorable Maldición,” “La Sombra Del Pasado” and “Corazón Que Miente.” He threw plenty of punches as Malcolm Moriarty in “Yankee,” a 2019 series on Netflix.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez gave the jury instructions, so they could start deliberating on Tuesday morning. Jurors requested five copies of her instructions and a video. It took them less than five hours to arrive at their conclusion.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released a statement shortly after the announcement saying the jury’s verdict was evidence of the “outrageous destructiveness” of road rage incidents.
“Two lives were destroyed by simple roadway anger, a situation we see far too often on our streets and on streets across the country,” Fernandez Rundle said.
Lyle decided not to testify, and his defense rested on Monday. Attorney Philip Reizenstein stood in front of a picture showing three children and Araujo during his closing to reiterate the punch was self-defense.
“This case is about fear,” Reizenstein said.
Assistant State Attorney Gabriela Alfaro argued the case was not about fear, but about anger and said Lyle punched Hernandez, 63, unnecessarily on March 31, 2019, near the intersection of Northwest 27th Avenue and Northwest 14th Street.
“That punch Mr. Lyle did actually caused the victim to fall back to hit his head and to crack open his skull, and ultimately those injuries caused his death,” Alfaro said.
Surveillance video shows Hernandez jumping out of his car and approaching the car Lyle was in.
Araujo, a Mexican actress who wed Lyle in 2014, testified on Friday that she and Lyle were with their children when Hernandez shouted “nasty things” and banged on the driver’s side window.
“I was already panicking because the children were very scared,” Araujo said.
Surveillance video shows Hernandez walking away toward his car when Lyle got out of the car he was in, ran toward Hernandez, and punched him. Araujo said she did not see the punch.
At first, Lyle faced a battery charge, so Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Lisa Walsh allowed him to travel back home to Mexico, while Hernandez was intubated and unresponsive at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center.
Four days after the punch, Hernandez, 63, died. Prosecutors then charged Lyle with manslaughter and he flew back to Miami. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Alan Fine refused to dismiss the case under the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law.
Lyle had been released on a $50,000 bond and he had been on house arrest for about three years. Sentencing has yet to be scheduled. Tinkler Mendez said the minimum sentence he faces is nine years.
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RIGHT NOW: Deliberations have begun in the trial of Pablo Lyle, 35, the Mexican actor accused of manslaughter for the 2019 death of Juan Ricardo Hernandez, 63. Will update with jury questions or a verdict once we get it. @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/yzUacKJO3j— Liane Morejon WPLG (@LianeWPLG) October 4, 2022
The jurors have made their first request, asking for 5 additional copies of the jury instructions, presumably so they all don’t have to share one piece of paper as they read through the precise language in it. #PabloLyleTrial @WPLGLocal10— Liane Morejon WPLG (@LianeWPLG) October 4, 2022
Note: Deliberations cannot go past 4:30pm today to give people time to go home in time for Yom Kippur which begins at sundown. Courthouse is closed Wednesday for the same reason. So verdict or not, they will stop at 4:30 and resume Thursday morning if needed.— Liane Morejon WPLG (@LianeWPLG) October 4, 2022