Prosecutors on Thursday reduced a charge against a 17-year-old Miami Beach youth accused of beating a Key Biscayne resident. After a review, they said the case would remain in juvenile court, not adult court as initially announced.
The male, who pleaded “not delinquent,” is now charged with third-degree battery in the April incident. He appeared in court Thursday with his mother and father, and will have an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet removed. Trial has been set for July 8.
State Attorney’s Office spokesman Ed Griffith said all decisions about charging youths as adults go through a review process. He said that after the review, prosecutors felt it was more appropriate to leave the case in the juvenile system.
As for the reduction in charge, Griffith said “sworn testimony that was taken contradicted some of the initial information in the police report,” leading prosecutors to lower the felony charge.
Police had reported that after an argument, the youth punched Cristoforo Pignata in the jaw, sending the man to the ground and knocking him out. A second defendant is accused of punching the man again while he was on the ground.
A public defender earlier said the teen was defending himself. A defense lawyer did not return messages for comment Thursday.
Police Chief Charles Press said “the state attorney makes these decisions. I have no other comment.”
A family member declined to comment on the decisions made by prosecutors.
The second defendant — also a 17-year-old male from Miami Beach — has an early June court date.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Key Biscayne Independent does not typically identify juveniles in criminal cases unless they are charged as adults.