WINTER PARK, Fla. - One of the teens involved in the beating death of a Winter Park High School student will no longer be on house arrest.
Roger Trindade died a year and a half ago after a prank turned into a fist fight.
Jagger Gouda walked into court in handcuffs Friday where he read an apology letter to Trindade’s parents.
Gouda’s lawyer presented report cards and letters from teachers and family members saying he’s been behaving since his arrest in the fall of 2016.
Gouda: “Words cannot express the regret I feel about the death of your son. You did nothing to deserve what happened to you.” #WFTV— Field Sutton (@FSuttonWFTV) February 16, 2018
As the defense attorney asked the judge to give the teenager a second chance, Trindade’s mother testified about her son will never get a second chance and that her family can never move on.
“I don’t know why they would do something like that. Why they chose him as a target,” said Adriana Trindade.
He pleaded guilty to witness tampering and battery.
After the prank, investigators said Gouda made a call summoning Jesse Sutherland and Simeon Hall to the fight.
“In spite of his terrible behavior that day, he is not a violent person and has never been in a fight in his life," Gouda's dad says. “My son has taken this situation very, very seriously. He’s had absolutely no issues during the thirteen months he’s been on house arrest.” #WFTV— Field Sutton (@FSuttonWFTV) February 16, 2018
Hall and Sutherland, were charged as adults.
Gouda apologized and asked for mercy from the court.
The judge followed a recommendation from the Department of Juvenile Justice for what’s called a non-secure residential commitment.
It means Gouda will not be in a jail cell, but he will be in custody 24 hours a day in a more relaxed setting.
“A little bit of justice we saw today,” said Trindade’s father, Rodrigo Trindade. “Because it would be absurd if he walked free. He was definitely involved and he was the one who had the thing in his mind up front. The others just came and played their part."
Gouda faces up to a year of residential commitment.
He could be out in four months with good behavior.
“Obviously, we were arguing for probation because we feel Mr. Gouda’s actions, Jagger’s actions over the past year have reflected somebody who not only has rehabilitated on the outside, but has succeeded in going above and beyond where most juveniles go,” said defense attorney Trey Flynn.
Trindade's family said they wish the punishment was longer.
In a separate courtroom later in the day, Sutherland’s grandmother, Patricia Davidson tearfully begged a judge to go easy on her grandson if he pleads guilty.
“This trauma has changed my grandson from the happy kid that he used to be, to someone who’s older and sadder, and forever different,” Davidson said.
Sutherland is accused of throwing the punch that knocked Trindade to the ground.
Sutherland’s father told the judge there’s no way to take that back.
“Please don’t take away Jesse’s chance at his life. He’s such a good kid and he could do a lot of good,” said Benjamin Sutherland.
The prosecutor painted Sutherland and Hall as misfits who continually make bad decisions.
Hall has decided to take his chances at trial.
As far as Sutherland's case, the judge will decide what she thinks his punishment should be.
If he thinks it's a good deal, he can plead guilty.
If not, he can take his chances at trial too.
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