Jose Manuel Clemente stands with his family in this undated photo. Clemente was fatally shot in 2020 on Stock Island. CONTRIBUTED

Two weeks after a jury convicted his younger brother in the 2020 fatal shooting of a local fisherman on Stock Island – and the near death of a second man – Jose Espinosa Gomez awaits his turn in court.

Espinosa Gomez, 37, is fighting the same charges as his brother: second-degree murder and attempted murder. His case was on the docket Sept. 5 for a trial status hearing. His next scheduled court date is Oct. 3. 

Both brothers admit they were involved in the brawl on June 15, 2020, at an area locally known as “La Curva,” that ended with Jose Manuel Clemente, 45, of Stock Island, face down and dead, and Iliecer Noa bleeding from a gunshot to his abdomen. 

Noa, now 47, survived the shooting, after being airlifted in critical condition to a Miami-area hospital. But doctors amputated his legs below his knees and one arm above his elbow. 

On Aug. 24, after a trial, Mayque Gomez Marin, 34, was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter and guilty as charged of attempted murder. He’s scheduled for sentencing Oct. 10 before Monroe County Judge Mark Wilson.

What Monroe County prosecutors called murder, the brothers said was instead self-defense during a “volatile confrontation” with the two fishermen, according to court filings. 

But Wilson rejected motions to dismiss the case from the brothers’ separate defense teams that raised Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which grants immunity to people who match the threat of imminent death with deadly force. 

The shootings were a “targeted hit” prompted by the overdue return of a Mercedes-Benz vehicle, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said in 2020. 

Attorneys for the victims’ families, who landed a $6 million settlement from the marina’s property owners, the Bernstein Trust, and their tenant, the Fishbusterz fish house, in 2022, had a different story.

The Haggard Law Firm, based in Coral Gables, said the killers were looking for another fisherman, and after Noa told them he didn’t know where the person was, an argument broke out. Gunshots followed and Clemente was killed.

The four men were acquaintances, according to Espinosa Gomez’s attorneys. The Gomez brothers went to 5515 5th Ave. on June 15, 2020, to ask about the return of a rented vehicle, 

“Jose Luis Espinosa Gomez, was aware of the alleged victims’ involvement in the drug trade and penchant for violence and armed with handguns and a knife,” Espinosa Gomez’s public defenders wrote in their motion to dismiss.

The meetup became violent “after a volatile confrontation due to alleged victims’ threats of violence and refusal to return items lent to the alleged victims,” according to the motion.

Espinosa Gomez and Noa struggled over a gun, the lawyers said, ending with Clemente and Noa being shot. 

Gomez Marin’s attorney, Naples-based Mark Youngblood, said his client’s brother expected to be met with threats of violence at “La Curva.”

“Mr. Espinosa Gomez knew that the character they would be confronting had a history of violence and a tendency to use deadly weapons,” Youngblood wrote in Gomez Martin’s motion to dismiss. “And that is exactly what happened.”

Gwen Filosa is The Keys Weekly’s Digital Editor, and has covered Key West news, culture and assorted oddities since she moved to the island in 2011. She was previously a reporter for the Miami Herald and WLRN public radio. Before moving to the Keys, Gwen was in New Orleans for a decade, covering criminal courts for The Times-Picayune. In 2006, the paper’s staff won the Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news and the Public Service Medal for their coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. She remains a devout Saints fan. She has a side hustle as a standup comedian, and has been a regular at Comedy Key West since 2017. She is also an acclaimed dogsitter, professional Bingo caller and a dedicated Wilco fan.