A former Miami Dade College student who stabbed a South Miami man to death lost his bid for immunity under Florida’s self-defense law.
A judge on Thursday ruled that James Arauz, 23, did not act in self-defense when he stabbed Vincent Pravata in October 2009. Arauz claimed that Pravata, who acted as a mentor and had penned a letter of recommendation for an internship, made sexual advances and chased him around the man’s house.
Arauz’s defense attorney can still argue self-defense before a jury. Trial is set for May 13.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Yvonne Colodny pointed out that Arauz, after stabbing Pravata, meticulously cleaned up the crime scene, stole the man’s credit card and went on a shopping spree seemingly to impress a girlfriend.
And Arauz never called police and lied to detectives and others about what happened, the judge said.
“Taken in their totality, these actions do not reflect someone who had simply been trying to protect himself from death or seriously bodily injury,” Colodny wrote in her five-page-order. “Rather, they reflect a consciousness of guilt and an attempt to avoid legal consequences.”