Cape man sentenced to life in prison in stabbing death
A man who wanted to use the Stand Your Ground law as a defense in the New Year’s 2010 stabbing death of a Cape Coral man in front of his family and friends will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Reginald Etienne, 32, who lived at 1152 S.W. 47th Terrace, was handed the sentence Tuesday by Judge Ramiro Manalich after a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder.
Etienne was convicted of killing Joshua Jay Sands, 35, of 3227 SW Seventh Ave.
Previous reports and an interview with prosecutor Marie Doerr show that on Jan. 1, 2010, several people, including Etienne and Sands, attended a New Year’s party at 1140 S.E. 47th Terrace.
The two men got into an argument. Etienne, Doerr said, had been asked to leave because of his “bizarre behavior. He had been drinking a lot of Haitian rum and was rapping disparaging things about Sands’ fiancé. “Mr. Etienne took offense, he didn’t want to leave. He said: ‘I’m not going to let anyone ruin my fun.'”
Etienne ran home – he lived next door to the party hosted by Aaron Madoo- came back with a large kitchen knife and stabbed Sands 18 times including in the liver and heart.
After the fight, Etienne fled and was found hiding in a Dumpster. Etienne remained in Lee County Jail since his arrest.
The medical examiner, Doerr said, testified that the heart wound was not survivable and the liver wound “may have been survivable if he was on the (operating) table.”
Sands, whose death was the first of 2010, had stab wounds to his back and torso and defensive wounds to his arms.
“This was a particularly vicious attack, in my opinion,” Doerr said, adding she told the judge she wanted no less than a life sentence for Etienne. The defense argued for a 25-year sentence. He could have received as few as 20 years.
In October Etienne’s attorney argued the Stand Your Ground Law which allows a person to protect himself if he feels his life is threatened. The judge denied his request.
Sands’ fiancée, Melissa Reid, watched the events of that fateful New Year’s Day unfold and attempted to breathe life back into him. Sands and his fiancé only knew Etienne casually.
Sands is survived by three children: a son who was 7 months old at the time of his death, a daughter who was not quite two years old; and a teenage daughter.
“I do believe that with the facts of this case that a life sentence is the only sentence the judge could have handed down,” Doerr said.