ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A jury was selected Monday afternoon in the trial of two teenagers accused of fatally beating a Winter Park High School student to death.
Jesse Sutherland and Simeon Hall, both 16, are being tried as adults and are facing manslaughter charges in the death of Roger Trindade in October 2016.
Investigators said Jagger Gouda sprayed Trindade with skunk spray as a prank.
Police said Gouda called Hall and Sutherland, who beat Trindade unconscious in downtown Winter Park's Central Park. Trindade was removed from life support following a two-day hospitalization
During opening statements, prosecutors told the jury Hall and Sutherland had no reason to attack Trindade.
"He turned on Roger and, with all his might, hit him with one punch. He was on the ground. It was a knockout punch," said Assistant State Attorney Terri Mills-Uvalle, of the 9th Circuit. "At this point, these two defendants see Roger on the ground having a seizure and Simeon Hall spits on him."
Sutherland and Hall were each offered a plea deal last week, but neither agreed to the deal, which would have included a three-year prison sentence.
"If this was as clear-cut as the state suggested, then we probably wouldn't be here," said David Fussell, Hall's attorney.
The defense claims Hall and Sutherland are on trial by chance, by an accident of fate.
"It happens every day. It happens at school all the time. Kids get hit and fall down and they don't die," Fussell said.
The state's star witness, Trindade's best friend took the stand
"He approaches, doesn't say anything and swings at my jaw," Rodrigo Morales said. "After they left, I stood up and went to check on Roger. He was on the ground, unresponsive."
WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said evidence suggests it wasn’t a mutual fight between the teenage boys.
“This was anything other than just a schoolyard fight,” he said. “The facts really indicate that the victim was sucker-punched. He wasn't in a fighting posture.”
The jury consists of six people and two alternates.
Court resumes at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Watch it live here when it happens.
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