A judge denied a self-defense claim Thursday morning that was made by attorneys representing the man accused of killing a bouncer at a downtown Orlando bar last year.
"The court finds that the state's exhibit in evidence is not a common pocket knife. He was not authorized by law to possess that at the time that he possessed it, so as such he was engaged in unlawful activity and is barred from claiming self defense of immunity," Judge Alan Apte said.
Craig Sandhaus' attorney argued that Sandhaus stabbed and killed the bouncer out of self-defense, and the defense of his brother. The judge ultimately decided the claim was insufficient.
At a hearing Wednesday, Sandhaus took the stand to explain the incident.
"My only instinct was to save my brother's life and to protect my brother," said Craig Sandhaus. "The only thing that I could possibly do was to stab Torres because I couldn't punch anybody or get anybody to stop him. I kept yelling 'Get him off my brother, get him off my brother.' Nobody would listen and it just turned into a brawl."
Police officers said the stabbing happened after Sandhaus and his brother, Eric Sandhaus, were asked to leave the Lodge bar. They got into a fight with bouncer Milton Torres in a back alley, according to investigators, and Torres was stabbed in the chest.
Initially, Eric Sandhaus was charged in the stabbing. Craig Sandhaus later came forward and confessed he was responsible.
Attorneys argued that Craig was justified in the killing, citing Florida's Stand Your Ground statute. They say he believed the bouncer and others involved in the fight were going to beat his younger brother to death.