Gainesville man finds freedom after avoiding attempted murder charge
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - It all started at Krispy Kreme on 13th Street in Gainesville where an argument over doughnuts in 2019 led to a Gainesville man facing life in prison in 2021.
“My expectation was met, I’m free.. I’m free,” said Julius Irving. In 2019, he worked at Krispy Kreme.
He got into an argument with another employee and later on her boyfriend attacked Irving.
“Outside this situation. I’m a father, I’m a son, I’m a brother. I’m an amazing dad. I’m an uncle. I’m a community member, I’m an activist and I’m a revolutionist.”
Irving was arrested, admitted to the crime, spent 2 to 3 months in the Alachua County Jail before bonding out, then Irving was charged with first-degree attempted murder.
He said he was defending himself.
“I was ready, I had two years of preparation. I had two years of fear but it was just peace, power and expectation.”
Nearly two years later, on February 11, a jury of his peers agreed with him with his not guilty plea and set him free.
“But you can overcome fear and understand that you won’t be found innocent by the judge, the jury and the correctional system. It’ll be a jury of regular people. You got to stand your ground in more ways than just a self-defense type of way. Self-defense is more than just defending yourself against a physical attack. It’s against that attack in that courtroom too.”
Data from the NAACP shows 1 in 3 Black men in the United States from the time they’re born can expect a prison sentence.
“See when you say beat the system right, it’s this thing with wars. A war consists of many battles. Whoever wins the most battles wins the war. I just won a battle. There’s still a whole war going on right. But to everybody that I’m fighting for, everyone that I’m living for, and I’m willing to die for too. But it’s more important that I live for them.”
Irving said those odds do not define him and he’s had his family by his side, every step of the way.
“Stand for justice or don’t stand at all. I’ll be there,” said Hattie Irving, Julius’ mother.
In and out of the courtroom, the Irving family fought for Julius’ freedom. They fought with support from Dream Defenders and the Legal Advocacy and Empowerment Hub in Gainesville.
“Not only did Jesus give us that victory,” added Hattie. “The community itself gave us the victory. Our family members gave us the victory. Everything went up in the air and when it came down, we got that victory. We stood fast not only as a family but as a community.”
In their future, the Irving’s said they’ll continue to fight for those who seek justice.
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