A Miami-Dade judge has denied Mexican soap opera star Pablo Lyle's attempt to use Florida's so-called "Stand Your Ground" law to get a manslaughter charge dismissed.
After a day of testimony, Judge Alan Fine denied the motion by Lyle, who is accused of hitting 63-year-old Juan Hernandez during an alleged road rage incident earlier this year in Miami. Hernandez died days later in the hospital.
If convicted, Lyle could face up to 15 years in prison.
Lyle took the stand in his defense at the hearing, fighting back tears as he recalled the incident.
The police interrogation video of Lyle was also played during the hearing, with the actor trying to explain his actions that day to a detective.
"I was really anxious about my kid and the traffic," he tells the detective in the video. "I was anxious because my kids were scared and the car wasn't stopping."
"I thought I was defending my family," he said.
Lyle's wife, Ana Arajuo, and his brother-in-law, Lucas Delfino, testified at the hearing, along with witnesses and investigators.
Defense attorney Philip Reizenstein said his client was trying to protect his family when Hernandez assaulted them. He criticized prosecutors for filing charges without interviewing Lyle's wife and brother-in-law, who were in the car.
According to Lyle's account detailed in the arrest affidavit, Lyle and his brother-in-law said they feared for their safety after Hernandez got out of his car at a stoplight on March 31 to protest Lyle's brother-in-law cutting him off in traffic. Authorities have not released the name of his brother-in-law.
The affidavit says Hernandez walked up to the driver's side window, pounded on it with an open hand and the driver, Lyle's brother-in-law, got out and said "Don't bang on my window."
The actor traveled back to Mexico after his first arrest on battery charges but then returned to Miami, because he was summoned to court after the death of Hernandez.
Lyle starred in the soap opera "Mi Adorable Maldición," Spanish for "My Lovely Curse." He was a rising star in Mexico, appearing earlier this year in a movie that was successful in the country's box office.
He was set to start filming his second film the week he was arrested but was fired from the movie project after his legal troubles.