Teens cite Florida's Stand Your Ground law in murder case

Juan Xolo Merlin, Jose Carlos Llano charged with killing Gregory Hypollite

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Pictured: Jose Carlos Llano (orange shirt) and Juan Xolo Merlin (striped shirt)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Two teenagers accused of killing a man tried convincing a judge to drop their case by citing Florida's Stand Your Ground law as their defense.

Juan Xolo Merlin testified Thursday that he and his cousin, Jose Carlos Llano, had no choice but to kill 32-year-old Gregory Hypollite on Dec. 12, 2012. Both teenagers are charged with second-degree murder.

"Defend myself, defend my life, and the life of my cousin. That's all I could do," said a woman translating for him.

Hypollite's body was found behind the Advanced Auto Parts store at 126 N. Federal Highway.

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.

"I said, yeah, okay, we're looking for a woman," said Merlin during the hearing.

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 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.

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 teenagers face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

The judge is expected to rule on the case next week.

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