WINTER PARK, Fla. — The parents of a Winter Park High School student who was beaten to death in 2016 say they’re unsatisfied with the sentences handed down against his assailants.
In response, the parents of Roger Trindade, Rodrigo and Adriana, are filing a massive lawsuit to make someone pay for his death.
Court records show Trindade’s parents are suing just about everyone involved in the case, including the city of Winter Park, Orange County Public Schools, five teenagers involved and their parents.
The Trindades' attorneys said this is not about money—and the lawsuit doesn’t specify a dollar amount—but rather about making someone take responsibility for the fact that a 15-year-old boy is dead.
"Nobody has taken responsibility and hopefully this lawsuit will do that,” said Mike Gagnon, an attorney for the Trindades.
Simeon Hall and Jesse Sutherland beat Roger Trindade to death along Winter Park’s Park Avenue because he confronted them over a prank.
For years, the case swirled through the courts.
The teens were tried as adults, but at worst they’re likely to spend less than a year in a medium security juvenile facility.
"This is not American justice,” said Adriana Trindade at their sentencing hearing.
The lawsuit seeks to drag Hall and Sutherland into court—along with three of their teenage friends and the parents of all involved, accused of letting the teens run wild in the lawsuit.
“I don’t know whether they just let them out and they don’t care where they’re going or what they’re doing, but they know their kids are up to no good,” said Steven Kirschner, an attorney representing the Trindades.
The suit claims the city of Winter Park should have made Park Avenue safer and that OCPS failed to discipline the teens and break up school gangs before someone died.
The Trindades look forward to the answers that may arise in their lawsuit that did not come out at trial.
"In a civil case, you can compel the defendant to take the stand in most cases,” said Bill Sheaffer, WFTV legal analyst.
That means the teens themselves can’t hide behind the Fifth Amendment.
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