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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Monday, Jul. 16, 2018 11 months ago

Teens in Roger Trindade case sentenced to high-risk program for juveniles

Jesse Sutherland and Simeon Hall, found guilty of killing 15-year-old Roger Trindade, will be detained for at least roughly nine months.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

The trial of two teens charged with the death of 15-year-old Winter Park High School student Roger Trindade has finally come to an end – but an empty feeling still remains for the Trindade family.

Suspects Simeon Hall and Jesse Sutherland we’re both sentenced by a judge to a high-risk program for juveniles on Monday, July 16.

Assistant State Attorney Teri Mills-Uvalle said Hall and Sutherland could be confined to the detention program for nine to 14 months before potentially being released. The high-risk program is a mid-tier level of confinement – a step below the maximum-risk program and a step above the nonsecure program, she said.

The sentencing comes more than a year and half after a violent altercation in Winter Park’s Central Park that took the life of Trindade. Reports and testimonies indicate that Trindade was in the Park Avenue area with a friend the night of Oct. 15, 2016. Trindade was sitting on a half wall when another juvenile – who he didn’t know – sprayed him with a foul-smelling spray as a joke. Trindade and his friend reportedly pursued that juvenile to find out what they’d just been sprayed with. Suspects Jesse Sutherland, Simeon Hall and a third juvenile confronted Trindade and his friend in Central Park shortly after, and a punch was thrown that struck Trindade and knocked him to the ground. Roger was later found brain dead in the park. He was put on life support but taken off it just days later.

Defense attorney David Fussell, who represented Hall, acknowledge that it was a tragic incident – but the sentence was appropriate, he said. 

“It’s a tragedy for Trindade – he wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Fussell said. “Simeon and Jesse were going down there to help a friend. Someone died, and unfortunately sometimes these things happen – it’s pretty rare. … It wasn’t even a fist fight, it was one blow. … None of these kids came there to kill anybody. They went down there to defend a friend of theirs.”

Last month the decision was made by a judge to place Sutherland and Hall into a juvenile facility, leaving Trindade’s parents, Rodrigo and Adriana, in shock after the two teens were found guilty of manslaughter and battery in adult court just two months earlier.

Trindade’s parents chose not to attend the final sentencing hearing on Monday.

Rodrigo told the Observer that justice was not served in this case.

“Our son was an innocent child – he was murdered,” Rodrigo said. 

“It’s not over. It’s never going to be over for us. … This is fake justice. This is a travesty of justice.”

Tim Freed is the Managing Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida....

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