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Sentencing delayed for tow druck driver Donald Montanez in the shooting death of Glen Rich

2:05 PM, May 18, 2012   |    comments
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Donald Montanez shot and killed a man he says was threatening him while he tried to tow his car in 2006.

 

Tampa, Florida -- A complicated case, just got more complicated.

Donald Montanez will have to wait to learn his fate.  The tow truck company owner is facing 25 years to life in prison for shooting and killing a man whose car he was trying to tow.

Montanez claims he fired his gun in self defense as the man, Glen Rich, drove his car toward him.

Read: Tow truck company owner guilty, handcuffed in court

Today, his defense team asked a judge for a new trial and to clarify the jury's verdict.

The  jury deliberated for 12 hours and on March 1, returned a guilty verdict on all counts, including manslaughter, third degree murder and grand theft auto.

His attorneys claim the jury received improper instructions regarding the definition of self defense and grand theft auto.

Defense attorney Jay Hebert said, "Our position is it was never Grand Theft Auto with this language, with this strict interpretation of this language, we had an instruction that included an ordinance violation. In Florida, we have felony murder, if you commit a felony in the commission of a crime, somebody dies, you can be found guilty of felony murder. We don't have an ordinance murder rule and that's what he was found guilty of. We feel that additional language gave the jury an out."

He says they objected to the jury instruction language during the trial.

Hebert says the definition of the self defense law is evolving with a recent Florida Supreme Court ruling stating that you do not have to be legally on a property to invoke your Stand Your Ground right.

This was originally argued as a Stand Your Ground case, but the defense dropped the argument during opening statements.

The judge will now consider the motion by the defense.  A decision is not expected for several weeks.

Meanwhile, the sentencing was postponed for at least four to six weeks.

Hebert said, "This was a complicated case from the beginning and it was a complicated trial complicated by the jury instructions."

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