TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Hillsborough County Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner says Teddy Baltimore Smith killed a man for no reason.
"If you believe the evidence, a person who stabs another person for spitting on a car window presents a danger to the community. [The victim] lost his life over nothing,“ Pruner told a courtroom Friday.
Smith, however, says the stabbing death of Gilbert Serna was self-defense. He's using Florida's controversial 'stand your ground' law to try and win immunity from prosecution.
Smith claims the day of the incident, Serna spat through the passenger's side window of a Dodge Ram pickup onto Smiths car.
An angry Smith got out of his car to confront Serna, but Smith claims Serna was the aggressor.
"He believed [Serna] was reaching for what he believed was a machete in the bed of the truck," explained attorney Anthony Rickman, who is not involved in the case.
During Smith's bond hearing, detective Neal Smith described what happened next.
"He reached over with his right hand and stabs the passenger in the chest area," said the detective.
Serna died of his injuries and Smith took off in his black BMW.
Jeffery Hunter, who was the driving the pickup, confirmed his passenger, Gilbert Serna, was aggressive.
Now the question is: Was Smith justified in using deadly force?
Rickman says prosecutors have plenty to work with, "if the defendant was in fear for hs life if he felt it was necessary that he was defending himself then why did he flee, why did he leave the scene, why did he run?" questioned Rickman.
Smith's Stand Your Ground hearing is set for May 30, 2019.