Heartbroken father confronts his son’s cold-blooded killer in court in emotional viral video
A devastated father couldn’t contain his emotions in court as he confronted his son’s killer when the man pleaded “insanity” and requested to be taken to a mental facility. The case put in context Miami laws on the training standards for armed guards, as the killer was a security guard in a club.
This case from 2012 remains relevant not only for the heartbreaking video that shows a father confronting the man that took his son’s life, but also for the general worries that raised in the country, and its unstable laws when it comes to handing out guns to mentally ill people.
The clip, recorded by CNN in the murder trial of Kyjuan Byrd in the hands of Lukace Kendle, shows the moment after Kendle alleges “insanity” and asks to be taken into a mental institution instead of prison.
Donald Byrd, Kyjuan’s father, couldn’t contain his anger as he started yelling at the murderer. “You murdered my son, man, for nothing,” Byrd screamed. “You kept shooting him in his back, and his back was turned to you!”
Security guards and some family members try to calm Donald, but the man keeps shouting to Kendle until eventually, he’s dragged out of the courtroom.
Kendle, who was 29 back then, worked as the security guard at the strip Club Rol-Lexx. Byrd and a friend, Michael Smathers, had been enjoying a night out at the club and decided to go back into Smather’s car for a joint at some point.
While they were in the car, Kendle arrived at work and parked in a spot next to Byrd and Smathers. He then began dressing in his guard uniform: putting on a vest, baton, gloves, a knife, ammunition, and his gun. The three men made visual contact, but Kendle retreated to the club.
However, when Byrd and Smathers go out of the car to re-enter the club, Kendle opened fire on them, shooting Byrd 8 times on his back, as the man tried to hide behind the truck. The young man died soon after, while Smathers was left paralyzed from the waist down.
THE TRIAL AND SENTENCE
Kendle decided to represent himself in court, using the Stand Your Ground Law as his principal defense.
The man had a criminal record but was licensed as an armed guard in Florida.
He was also diagnosed with several mental disorders, including impulse control disorder, antisocial personality disorder, unspecified schizophrenia spectrum, and alcohol use disorder, among others, as reported by the Center of Investigative Reporting.
Not once through the trial, Kendle presented evidence, he didn’t testify to defend himself and didn’t accept the assistance of his court-appointed standby counsel.
Kendle was convicted of second-degree murder with a firearm and attempted murder and sentenced to a lifetime behind bars.
AN INVESTIGATION ON GUARDS’ LICENSING
The case prompted CNN and the Center of Investigating Reporting to launch a year-long investigation on the training standards for armed guards all across the United States.
According to the report, an armed guard gets authorized to work 54 hours of training, including just 14 hours of firearms training. And in 15 states, firearm training is not even required.
As for the backgrounds of the guards, the reports revealed that there are several with criminal records, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence incidents, and even former law enforcement officers that were fired for disciplinary troubles that found a new career as guards.
When it comes to mental health evaluations, only four states require them to approve a guard their gun permission.
While some security companies are starting to require FBI check backgrounds on their applicants, most security armed guards continue getting the job without passing all the requirements that should be in place.
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