• Trindade case: Teens found guilty in Winter Park beating death

    By: Kelly Healey , Samantha Manning


    WINTER PARK, Fla. - A jury found Jesse Sutherland and Simeon Hall guilty of manslaughter and two counts each of battery. Both will be sentenced June 15.

    Jesse Sutherland and Simeon Hall, both 16, were being tried as adults.

    Hall was taken to jail Wednesday. Sutherland will remain out of jail until he's sentenced. If they're sentenced as adults, they could face a maximum of 17 years in prison.

    Trindade's parents said they have compassion for Sutherland and Hall's parents.

    "It's very sad," said Adriana Thome, the victim's mother. "For me, it's sad to see these boys going to the jail."

    "I know he would forgive them if he was here," said Rodrigo Trindade, the victim's father. "So in our hearts, we feel for the families."

    Watch the judge read the verdict below:

    Several of Roger Trindade's classmates attended the trial Wednesday to show support for their late friend.

    "It's just been really hard for all of us," Winter Park High School student Rileigh Hanson said.

    Trindade's parents said the verdict will help to bring them closure.

    "It's hard to be here without Roger," Thome said. "He was amazing kid. He had so many dreams and plans for his life."

    "It's a closure, so we don't have to deal with this anymore and we can continue with the rest of our lives," Rodrigo Trindade said.

    The jury reached a verdict just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

    The jury began deliberating Wednesday just before 11:30 a .m., after attorneys gave their closing arguments.

    A prank led to a fight that ended in the death of Trindade. The two were accused of punching Trindade and knocking him out.




    Read: Witness testifies teen was ‘hyped up’ after spitting on Winter Park boy


    Assistant State Attorney Terri Mills-Uvalle began her closing argument Wednesday.

    “The witnesses, at least some of them, said they were backing back. That Rodrigo and Roger were backing back,” Uvalle said.


    Uvalle said Hall admitted the incident was unprovoked.


     “That’s what he said to the detective on the stand. That it was a sucker punch,” Uvalle said.

    Sutherland's attorney, Danielle Barbato began her closing arguments by reminding jurors of “the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof.”

    Afterward, it was Hall's attorney David Fussell’s turn to speak.


    Fussell tried to shift the blame away from Hall, saying, “A majority of people who testified told you Roger was hit by Jesse [Sutherland].”

    “I’ll concede that Simeon Hall spit on Roger Trindade. He’s not proud of it,” said Fussell.


    Fussell argued that spitting on Trindade wasn't battery because Trindade was dead.


    Throughout closing arguments, the state and the defense attorneys made final attempts to prove their cases.

    Uvalle: "In other words, if Jesse Sutherland and Simeon Hall were acting lawfully, then Roger Trindade's death is excusable. They clearly were not acting lawfully."

    Fussell: "Think about how many times a fight occurs and people get knocked down. They get back up. At most they have a bloody lip."

    Barbato: "This case is about a split-second decision by a 15-year-old boy who thought he was helping his friends. There was no attack."

    Tuesday, Winter Park Police Department Detective Lisa Supak, who interviewed the two defendants, said there was no reason for the fight.


    "Did Jesse Sutherland say whether Roger made any moves toward him that would have caused him to hit Roger?” an attorney asked Supak during testimony.


    “I did ask him, and he told me Roger didn't make any moves toward him other than raising his set," Supak said.


    Read: Key witness testifies in Winter Park beating death trial


    Investigators said Jagger Gouda, who was 14 years old at the time, 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.


    Roger Trindade, 15, died after he was beaten in Central Park over the weekend, authorities said.
    Roger Trindade, 15, died after he was beaten in Central Park over the weekend, authorities said.
    © 2019 Cox Media Group.


    Read: Teens accused in beating death of Winter Park teen reject plea deals


    Witnesses told the court they saw Trindade go into a fighting stance, but said he never threw a punch.


    The defense tried to use that to help their argument that teenagers typically fight and it might have been an accident. 


    However, WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said evidence suggests it wasn’t a mutual fight between the teenage boys.

    Read: Autopsy: Winter Park teen died of blunt force trauma

    “This was anything other than just a schoolyard fight,” Sheaffer said. “The facts really indicate that the victim was sucker-punched. He wasn't in a fighting posture.”

    Defense attorneys claim Sutherland and Hall were protecting themselves.


    “The deposition you indicated they were chasing you,” an attorney asked Gouda.


    “Yes. They were following us,” Gouda replied.


    “You thought they were going to jump you?”


    “Yes," Gouda said.


    But the medical examiner brought in a doctor to rule out natural causes.


    "If you're struck in the face, you're going to have a rapid turn and that's going to injure the vertebral artery," Dr. Jennifer Park with the Medical Examiner’s Office said.


    © 2019 Cox Media Group.
    Jagger Gouda
    Jagger Gouda
    © 2019 Cox Media Group.


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