The owner of the property in Mandarin where a 19 year-old St. Augustine man was beaten during a bonfire party says he’s tried to block off his family’s camping grounds from trespassing teens for years.
Phil Genovar, the owner of Dixie Auto Parts in St. Augustine, tells our partner Action News that he used wire fences and tree stumps. He said all the cables have been severed either with a power saw or a cutter.
He says teens always find a way in and find mischief, and he wishes he could have stopped the tragedy.
Genovar said he had no idea anybody was on his property the night of the bonfire.
Attorney Dale Carson says Genovar can’t be held responsible because in the state of Florida, you don’t owe any duty to a trespasser. He says clearly the teens were trespassing, and there’s evidence that there was an effort to keep people out.
Genovar says he has already met with JSO deputies to discuss increasing patrol efforts.
Ford later died in the hospital as a result of his injuries. Christopher Hoffman, 25, has been charged with manslaughter. Robert Cline, 22, faces a lesser charge of battery for admitting to punching Ford.
Ford’s funeral is Thursday at 11 a.m. at Anastasia Baptist Church.