‘Florida loophole’ case remains open

The 29-year-old man who became the face of the “Florida loophole” gun-permit controversy for allegedly killing teenager Irving Santana following a car break-in last September was held for trial after a preliminary hearing yesterday.

Luis Acevedo, a friend of Santana who served as lookout for “at least 10 car break-ins,” said he watched from about a block away as Marqus Hill stood over Santana and fired a silver automatic handgun near B and Gale streets. That testimony contradicted Acevedo’s statement to police after the homicide.

Acevedo testified that Santana and friend Spencer Majett were “going through cars” when they heard somebody exit a nearby house before 6 a.m. on Sept. 12. They ran, but regrouped in a nearby alley where they saw a man Acevedo identified as Hill “power-walking toward us,” so they again fled in separate directions.

“Next thing, I heard gunshots, so I turned and saw him on top of [Santana], shooting. I heard 13 shots, saw six,” said Acevedo, who was a fugitive for a felony robbery case at the time.

When Hill’s attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. read from Acevedo’s statement in which he said he only heard the shots, the witness maintained that he told police he saw the shooting, but that they didn’t write that part down in his statement. After Judge Patrick F. Dugan held the case for trial, Perri deemed that notion “ludicrous.”

History of the alleged shooter

Hill’s license to carry was suspended after a 2005 attempted murder charge, but he got one through the Florida Department of Agriculture three years later. Perri said he didn’t know whether the “Florida loophole” issue would factor into the case itself.

“Mr. Hill was in fear of death or serious bodily injury at the time of the incident,” he said. “This case will come down to whether a jury thinks that [answers for] the number of shots fired.”

Perri intimated that somebody in the car break-in trio, which admittedly stole bullets from inside a vehicle, was armed.