Lawyers for Donald Montanez, a Tampa tow-truck driver convicted of third-degree murder for shooting a man retrieving his towed car, argued their client deserves a new trial rather than a long prison sentence.
The sentencing hearing originally scheduled for today was postponed for four to six weeks while Judge William Fuente considers whether to grant Montanez’ motion for a new trial. In that filing, defense attorneys argued their client deserved a new trial, citing several of Fuente’s legal decisions during the trial as erroneous. The errors included: admitting Montanez’ testimony from a prior Stand Your Ground hearing as evidence; allowing the State to argue Montanez committed Grand Theft Auto for towing Glen Rich’s car in the first place; and not allowing a defense witness to argue that Montanez’ actions would have been considered self-defense if he was law enforcement.
Judge Fuente is expected to take weeks to rule on the new trial motion. If sentencing goes forward as planned, Donald Montanez faces 25 years to life in prison.
The motion for a new trial is below.