BY GWEN FILOSA UPDATED JANUARY 06, 2022 9:57 AM
The owners and managers of a Stock Island marina agreed to pay $6 million to two families after a shooting in 2020 on the property that left one man dead and another seriously injured, attorneys for the victims said this week. The settlement, announced Wednesday by the Haggard Law Firm of Coral Gables, avoids a civil lawsuit. Jose “Pepe” Clemente was survived his longtime partner Jacqueline DelCarmen Gonzalez and their daughter, Brianna Clemente. Jose “Pepe” Clemente, 45, was shot to death on June 15, 2020, after working on a fishing boat that docked at Safe Harbor Marina, owned by the Bernstein Trust and operated by Fishbusterz, a Keys fish retailer that runs a market on Stock Island. The father of three was found face down on the ground bleeding from his chest in an area known as “La Curva” off Fifth Avenue on Stock Island, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Iliecer “Amarillo” Noa, 44, was wounded by a gunshot to his abdomen and airlifted to a Miami-Dade hospital. The injuries led to three amputations: both legs below the knees and one arm from just above the elbow, said attorney Adam Finkel of the Haggard Law Firm. Of the $6 million, $2.5 million went to Clemente’s family and the rest was paid to Noa. “Mr. Noa needs the money to continue on,” Finkel said in an interview. Finkel and attorney Michael Haggard worked alongside the Mustell Law Firm, which represented Noa.
HOW SAFE WAS THE MARINA?
The issue behind the settlement was the level of safety at the marina. Two gunmen were able to enter the property because of a lack of security measures, the law firm said. “Specifically, the gate was broken, the number of cameras was limited, the property was dark and there were no guards, despite a history of drug use and vagrancy on the property,” the firm said Wednesday. A voicemail left at Fishbusterz was not returned. A Bernstein Trust representative could not be reached. Finkel said other marinas are secured by gates with pass codes and surrounded by fences. “Two families were very much destroyed by this,” Finkel said. “When you look at how obvious it was that something was going to happen and they did nothing. It’s sickening.” The Bernstein Trust said that they had nothing to do with the daily operations of the property and that they trusted their tenant, Fishbusterz, to run it, the law firm said. “In the end, despite suggestions that Pepe and Amarillo were intoxicated, and that there had never been a similar prior shooting or murder on the property, both Fisbusterz and the Bernstein Trust tendered their available insurance policy limits for a total of $6 million,” according to a law firm statement. The Bernstein Trust agreed to pay $2 million and Fishbusterz agreed to pay $4 million. Jacqueline DelCarmen Gonzalez said losing Clemente, her partner of almost 25 years, means her family will never be the same. “We’re not complete anymore,” she said. “I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.” Clemente was born in Cuba and lived in Key West for 26 years, she said. “Jose was a fisherman,” Gonzalez said. “That was what he loved to do.”
CRIMINAL CASES CONTINUE
The murder case played out on the evening of June 15, 2020, near the water on Stock Island in the middle of the marina property. Police said the killing was a “targeted hit” over the overdue return of a Mercedes-Benz. But the attorneys for Clemente’s family gave this account: Around 5:30 p.m., Clemente was hanging out at the site near lobster traps with a group of fishermen that included Noa. Clemente often stayed after work to have a few drinks with friends and play dominoes. Two men approached and called out to Noa, asking where another local fisherman was. Noa said he didn’t know and an argument started. Gunshots followed. The suspects fled the country, police said. Mayque Marin Gomez and his brother, Jose Luis Espinosa Gomez were later arrested in Mexico. The brothers were charged with murder and attempted murder. Their cases are pending in Monroe County criminal court.
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