A man was arrested Saturday on second-degree murder charges in the Aug. 6 killings of two brothers, one of whom was shot by an Orange County deputy.
Rafael Roberto Villaverde, 24, was booked into the Orange County Jail and being held there as of Tuesday without bond, records show.
The arrest affidavit for Villaverde was not immediately available, but the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said he was the man involved in a shootout with siblings 20-year-old Dylan Michael Jimenez and 28-year-old Bryan Matthew Richardson.
The shooting left Jimenez fatally wounded. Body-worn camera footage released last month showed a deputy, who was responding to the gunfire, shot eight rounds from a close range at Richardson after he didn’t immediately comply with deputies’ demands to drop a gun in his hand.
Attorney Mark NeJame, who is representing the mother of Richardson and his brother, said the charges against Villaverde don’t change his belief that the shooting of Richardson should have never occurred.
“One has the right to self-defend. One has the right to stand their ground when they know that there’s a shooter or killer on the loose and that that person could still be armed and dangerous and presumably was,” he said.
“So when law enforcement appeared, it was clear that [Richardson] wasn’t looking to hide the gun. He wasn’t aiming at law enforcement. He was there as a further barrier of protection if the alleged killer had come back out.”
Villaverde is being charged in Richardson’s killing under the felony murder rule, which allows anyone involved in certain felonies to be charged with murder if someone dies as a result.
NeJame said the charge could be appropriate whether the deputy was justified in shooting Richardson or not.
“We think it should be charged felony murder under any circumstance because this whole chain of events only occurred as a result of, what we would maintain as, the unlawful killing of our client,” he said.
OCSO previously said the brothers got into a fight Aug. 6 with Villaverde outside the Heritage Hotel on Orange Blossom Trail around 12:30 p.m., according to a news release.
Jimenez and Villaverde shot each other, then both brothers ran to the north side of the hotel, where Jimenez collapsed in the parking lot, deputies said.
When deputies arrived on the scene, bystanders were giving aid to Jimenez while Richardson stood nearby holding a gun in his left hand that was pointed at the ground, body camera footage showed.
One of the bystanders said, “He has a gun, in his hand, pointing at people!” While one deputy tried to grab Richardson’s gun, another pulled out his weapon and yelled, “Drop it. Drop it. Drop the gun,” according to the video.
While not dropping the gun and raising his other hand, Richardson told the deputies, “That’s my brother,” before he was shot, the video showed.
The name of the deputy involved, who has been with the agency since 2018, was not released by the Sheriff’s Office, citing Marsy’s Law, which allows crime victims to shield their name and personal information from the public. The deputy is on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Source: Orlando Sentinel