Attorneys for 18-year-old migrant accused in death of St. Johns County deputy seek to dismiss manslaughter charge

Attorneys for Vergilio Aguilar-Mendez are pushing for the manslaughter charge he is facing to be dropped.

Aguilar-Mendez was accused of resisting an officer with violence and aggravated manslaughter of an officer after a confrontation with St. Johns County Sergeant Deputy Michael Kunovich happened in May 2023.

Kunovich died from a heart condition, according to the medical examiner. He collapsed and was taken to a hospital following a struggle with Aguilar-Mendez as Kunovich tried to search and detain the 18-year-old from Guatemalan.

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Court documents show that Aguilar-Mendez’s lawyers argue that “Kunovich’s death by natural causes (heart attack) after an arrest was not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of any action taken by Mr. Aguilar Mendez; therefore the manslaughter charge against him must be dismissed due to lack of legal causation.”

Aguilar-Mendez was ruled not competent for persecution and is currently being treated while in the Volusia County jail. The defense said “it is unknown, if and when Aguilar Mendez will reach legal competency, as this delay is rooted in the very fabric of his being and cannot be changed on command.”

So the defense is asking for a hearing on the motion to dismiss the charge as soon as possible.

The defense team recently asked for a bond in his case, arguing that Aguilar-Mendez didn’t know he was resisting deputies with violence and stating that his actions did not lead to Kunovich’s death.

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