Miami-Dade judge denies defense’s request to grant actor Pablo Lyle new trial

MIAMI – Miami-Dade County Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez on Monday denied the defense team’s request to grant Mexican actor Pablo Lyle a new trial after he was convicted of manslaughter.

“After carefully reviewing all of the issues raised, taken individually or cumulatively, the court does not believe that the claims raised by the defense supports a new trial,” she said.

Tinkler Mendez said she reviewed similar cases and found that the information presented by the defense team did not justify her granting a new trial.

She said the jury was also provided Lyle’s full statement as evidence to consider.

“The court also reviewed the cases, as I just mentioned, and in Tipton, which was quite interesting, unlike our case, in Tipton the court failed to address the excusable homicide point that has been made by the defense in their motion for a new trial,” the judge said. “And that was a significant distinguishing factor between our case and Tipton, because the court did properly instruct the jury in our case on both justifiable and excusable homicide.”

The telenovela star’s attorney, Philip Reizenstein, had told the judge last week that Florida law recognizes that “people fight and people throw punches,” and he asked the judge to perform an independent review of the facts and the law on “excusable homicide.”

Reizenstein argued that the prosecution “narrowed” the evidence down to Lyle’s single punch on March 31, 2019, near the intersection of Northwest 27th Avenue and 14th Street. The prosecution argued Lyle decided not to testify about his “state of mind” during the trial.

The evidence “focused the jury, I think, improperly on the punch and the brain swelling and the organ failures and the damage to the brain — none of those things were on Pablo Lyle’s mind when he did this,” Reizenstein said.

Lyle was arrested after he punched 63-year-old Juan Ricardo Hernandez during a road rage incident.

Police said Lyle’s brother-in-law, Lucas Del Fino, was driving to the airport when he cut off another vehicle being driven by Hernandez.

Hernandez got out of his car and hit the window of the car Lyle was in with his fist, authorities said.

“We were very close to each other. We were both yelling at each other,” Del Fino said during a hearing in 2019. “I was yelling at him, ‘Don’t touch my car! Don’t you bang on my car!’ I said that in Spanish.”

That’s when video shows Lyle getting out of the passenger seat and punching Hernandez once, knocking him out.

Hernandez was taken to the hospital, but later died from his injuries.

“Of course, we’re disappointed,” Lyle’s attorney told Local 10 News after Monday’s hearing. “Motions for new trials are rarely granted, but we think there were exceptionally solid grounds for this one.”

Reizenstein said his client has fully cooperated with investigators and was acting out in self-defense.

“The fact that he’s now shackled into a room that’s 8 by 10, 23 hours a day, is wrong. There’s no reason for him to be incarcerated. He faced this. He came back here to face these charges — he’s not a risk of flight,” Reizenstein said.

With the defense planning to file yet another appeal, all eyes now turn toward Lyle’s sentencing, which is set to take place next year.

“I’ll tell you what, his mood is better than mine. He’s stronger right now than I would expect any client to have a right to be,” Reizenstein said. “He’s strong. He has tremendous family backing, and he has a lot of faith. And he’s the best client I’ve ever had.”

Lyle could face up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 3.

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