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After ice pick death, family fears 'Stand Your Ground' | Crime

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After ice pick death, family fears 'Stand Your Ground'
Crime

Tampa, Florida -- Wathson Adelson's family remembers him through photos.

"We miss him a lot," says the 20-year-old's uncle, Raphael Adelson. They strive to help Wathson's memory live on through his five-month-old son.

"Just looks like his dad, you know," says Wathson's father, Kerlin Adelson.

Now his family is honoring him by rallying in Sanford for Trayvon Martin, the teenager who was shot dead in a Sanford community by a neighborhood watch volunteer.

Wathson's family sees similarities in the way each of them died.

"He's not supposed to die like that, you know," Kerlin says. "So I went over there to support the family, the community."

Four months ago, Wathson was in Tampa driving home after taking his girlfriend to work. Near the intersection of Waters Avenue and Manhattan Avenue, he and another driver cut each other off in traffic. Their verbal fight turned physical and Wathson was fatally stabbed with an ice pick.

"This was a shock for the whole family," says Raphael.

What came as more of a shock: the 62-year-old man who allegedly stabbed Wathson was never criminally charged because of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, the same law at issue in the case of Trayvon Martin.

"I think that the problem is criminals hiding behind this law to kill and go free," Raphael says.

Under Stand Your Ground, if you're attacked in any place you have the right to be, you don't have a duty to retreat before using force. Instead, you can use deadly force if you have a reasonable belief that doing so will protect you from great harm or death. But determining what constitutes a "reasonable belief" is where the law is open to interpretation.

In Wathson's case, the family says the other man arming himself with an ice pick shows his physical force may have been premeditated. Deputies say that day, Wathson was unarmed.

"It's hard," Wathson's uncle says. "It's hard to swallow."

That's why they want the state to look at how the Stand Your Ground law impacts justice, and families.

"Yesterday, that was my family," Raphael recalls. "Today, it's the Martin family. Tomorrow, it could be anybody else's family."

Governor Rick Scott has announced that a new task force will thoroughly review Stand Your Ground and other laws that concern public safety and citizen protection.

Wathson's family also plans to take part in a Tampa rally on Saturday that seeks justice for Trayvon Martin.

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