Florida Trumper convicted for opening fire on two people over Biden flag on jet ski
A judge's gavel (Shutterstock)

On Thursday, the Miami Herald reported that a jury has convicted a South Florida supporter of former President Donald Trump who shot at two people in a conflict that erupted over a flag supporting then-candidate, now President Joe Biden on a jet ski.

"The six-person jury deliberated less than two hours in convicting Eduardo Acosta, 39, on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault with a firearm and armed robbery. He faces up to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum of at least 20 years, when he is sentenced on Dec. 16," reported David Ovalle. "The case was decided against the backdrop of increased political rancor ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. The case made for a challenging jury selection process, with many potential jurors unable to serve because of their own political biases."

"Prosecutors alleged that Acosta was on his Jet Ski with a group of men on Nov. 3, 2020, when they allegedly approached two other men on a small Biscayne Bay island near Miami Marine Stadium," said the report. "Those two men, Wilson Peralta and Alfredo Garcia, were on their own Jet Skis, and one of them flew a Biden flag. Triggered by the flag, prosecutors said, Acosta began to argue with the men, claiming that anyone who supported Biden was a 'child molester'" — a trope common among believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which states America is secretly controlled by Satanic cannibal child sex traffickers.

Cell phone footage shows that Acosta tried to charge Peralta and Garcia, but was held back by members of his own group. Prosecutors say he later returned with a handgun and shot at Peralta and Garcia, who fled on their watercraft and then fell off into the ocean. Acosta then allegedly caught up to them, held them at gunpoint, and said in Spanish, “Don’t come back to this island. I’m going to kill you.”

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"Defense attorney Eric Matheny argued Acosta had grabbed his gun because he was fearful of the two men who had been acting erratically after they had come back to the island," said the report. "Matheny told jurors the gun went off accidentally as he was on his Jet Ski."

While Acosta claimed the shot was accidental and did not offer an affirmative defense, perpetrators of shooting incidents in Florida frequently claim at trial that they were fearful for their safety, a legal tactic bolstered by Florida's controversial " Stand Your Ground" law that allows the use of deadly force whenever the perpetrator is in a place they have a right to be, and fear their death or serious injury is imminent — regardless of whether they could reasonably retreat from danger.

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