Four men accused of attacking a gay couple in 2018 after Miami Beach Pride were in court this week for a hearing where their defense attorneys asked a judge to dismiss all charges against their clients claiming self-defense.

They were denied. 

On Friday Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan rejected the Stand Your Ground defense motion filed by the accused attackers. 

“[The victims] were just standing there being beaten upon. And any one of these defendants, if they were in fear for their lives, one of the four could have picked up the phone. One of the four could have been calling for help,” Orshan said. “No, they all engaged in this behavior. I cannot find that any one of these defendants is immune for prosecution so the motion to dismiss is denied.”

On Wednesday and Thursday the victims, Rene Chalarca and Dmitry Logunov, took the stand and testified. On Friday both sides presented their closing arguments. The next court date is in early March.

The case is now almost four years old. The alleged attack, which was caught on camera, took place April 8, 2018 after the closing festivities of Miami Beach Pride. 

The trial was supposed to start Nov. 30 but on Nov. 18 defense attorneys threw a curveball when they told the judge they wanted a continuance in order to file a Stand Your Ground motion.

Under the Stand Your Ground law in Florida a person who is attacked has no duty to retreat and allows them to “stand their ground” and “meet force with force.” When a defendant files a stand your ground motion it allows the judge to dismiss the charges without going to trial if they find the actions were justified.

In this case the attack was caught on video and according to the arrest report, the video footage is consistent with what victims told police.

The four defendants — Adonis Diaz, Juan Carlos Lopez, Luis Alonso-Piovet, and Pablo Reinaldo Romo-Figueroa — all in their early 20s, have pleaded not guilty.

Here’s a recap of what allegedly happened: the attack took place when Chalarca and Logunov, now 35, were leaving a public bathroom in Lummus Park in Miami Beach about 8 p.m. after the local pride festival had wrapped up.

“We were walking and holding hands and needed to use the bathroom,” Logunov told SFGN in 2018. So the two of them stopped at a public restroom as they headed home for the evening.

According to testimony, as the two victims were leaving the restroom and holding hands one of the defendants bumped shoulders with one of the victims. After that happened Chalarca and Logunov were allegedly called “fucking faggots” in Spanish, punched, and then beaten. At one point Logunov blacked out. The two victims were boyfriends at the time. 

The attack was caught on camera and the four defendants were charged with three counts of aggravated battery. A hate crime enhancement was later added to the charges.

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