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VIDEO: Orlando Man Acquitted In Self-Defense Case After Fatal Hotel Shooting

ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA — Rafael Villaverde, a 24-year-old from Orlando, was acquitted of second-degree murder charges related to a 2022 shooting at the Heritage Hotel, where two brothers, Dylan Jimenez (21) and Bryan Richardson (28), were killed. The incident occurred after an altercation between Villaverde and the brothers. Jimenez reportedly initiated gunfire, wounding Villaverde, who then retaliated in self-defense.

During the confrontation, Richardson, accompanying Jimenez, fled to a nearby parking lot where he collapsed. Richardson, armed and non-compliant with deputies’ orders to disarm, was fatally shot by a responding officer. Both brothers succumbed to their injuries in the hospital.

Villaverde’s defense, citing Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, argued he acted in self-defense after being shot by Jimenez. The state contested this, suggesting Villaverde provoked the incident. However, the judge ruled in favor of Villaverde, stating his actions prior to Jimenez’s arrival were not sufficiently provocative to invalidate his self-defense claim. The judge highlighted that Villaverde had no option but to return fire after being attacked.

Consequently, Villaverde, who had been incarcerated since the incident, was released. The identity of the deputy involved in Richardson’s shooting remains undisclosed.

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