In what has become a broken record, the trial of four men accused of attacking a gay couple in 2018 after the closing festivities of Miami Beach Pride has been delayed again.
On Thursday a status hearing was held where the case was postponed. No trial date was set. Instead, another status hearing will take place in Mid-September.
The case is now over two years old.
Several trial dates have been set in the past, but they’ve all been postponed. The last one was May 5.
In June Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle apologized to the LGBT community for the continued delays blaming much of it on COVID-19.
“Honestly, this is such a priority for us. I know it’s very frustrating because it has taken a long time,” she said during the state attorney candidate virtual town hall hosted by SAVE. “If those defense attorneys don’t set it down, and don’t move, and the judges don’t prod them to do it, it does languish a bit.”
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 Rene Chalarca and Dmitry Logunov were leaving a public bathroom in Lummus Park in Miami Beach on April 8, 2018.
“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.
As Logunov walked out of the restroom he was allegedly called a “faggot” in Spanish, punched, and then beaten unconscious. His boyfriend at the time, Chalarca, quickly intervened, but three more men jumped in and began to attack them both.
The attack was caught on camera and the four defendants have been charged with three counts of aggravated battery and a hate crime enhancement was added to the charges.
A third person, Helmut Estrada, attempted to assist Chalarca and Logunov. He was also attacked during the altercation and injured.
“We had everything sort of on track, we had the case set to go to trial. And then you know what happened: COVID. COVID has put the entire criminal justice system on hold. So we’re at a huge pause,” Fernandez Rundle said during the town hall meeting in June. “It is a priority case for us and I hope you know that and believe that. I’m not trying to make excuses, this is just the world that we live in. It’s been complicated.”
Criminal jury trials have yet to resume in Florida.