Pablo Lyle, the Mexican telenovela star who fatally punched a man during a 2019 road-rage confrontation, was sentenced to five years in state prison on Friday.
Lyle, 36, was facing up to 15 years in prison after he was convicted of manslaughter in October. He was caught on camera throwing his fist at Juan Ricardo Hernandez, 63, at a Miami intersection in March 2019. Hernandez fell, cracked his head on the roadway and died at the hospital four days later.
The state, at the Hernandez family's request, asked for Lyle to receive 15 years in prison - the maximum sentence permitted for the charge. Defense attorneys urged the court to sentence Lyle to a year and a day, the recommendation in a probation officer's report.
"This is one of the most difficult determinations I've had to make," Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez said. "Nobody here is going to be satisfied. Nobody here is going to forget the pain this has caused."
In addition to the five-year sentence, Lyle received eight years of probation and 500 hours of community service. Prosecutors told the Miami Herald Lyle will not get time served for the years he was under house arrest. Lyle's attorneys said they plan to appeal the sentence.
READ MORE: Mexican actor Pablo Lyle convicted of manslaughter in fatal road-rage case in Miami
Lyle, with his wrists shackled, scanned the courtroom from his seat. He looked calm, but his eyes told a different story. They went from slightly red to brimming with tears as the verdict was announced. It wasn't the first time that he wept during the hearing.
Before the sentencing, family members of both Lyle and Hernandez took the stand. Tears trickled down Lyle's face as his loved ones - and those of the man he fatally struck - spoke about how the 2019 incident changed their lives.
Lyle's family, each referencing his character and remorse, begged Tinkler Mendez to spare him from years behind bars.
"Unfortunately, our families have been joined by this incident," sister Silvia Lyle said in Spanish. "Peace we will never find with more pain and vengeance."
But the Hernandez family remained firm. They wanted Tinkler Mendez to hand down the maximum sentence.
"I know it wasn't [Lyle's] intention to kill him, but anything can happen in a second," Hernandez's fiancée Mercedes Arce said in Spanish. "Every action has a consequence."
Lyle's defense attorney said the actor repeatedly asked to apologize to the Hernandezes. Today, he had the opportunity to do so for the first time.
"I wanted you to hear it straight from my mouth," he told the Hernandez family in Spanish. "With all my heart, I'm very sorry."
He then turned toward the judge again.
"Mr. Hernandez lost his life because of something I did," Lyle said. "It haunts me when I go to bed and it's still there when I wake up."
On March 31, 2019, Lyle and his family were heading to the airport after a 10-day vacation. They were in an SUV driven by his brother-in-law, Lucas Delfino, who got off on the wrong exit and cut off Hernandez as he tried to get into a left lane to make a U-turn.
Hernandez honked his horn, and when the cars stopped at a red light, he got out and approached the SUV at the intersection of Northwest 27th Avenue and 14th Street.
Delfino, too, hopped out of his vehicle and the two argued before it began rolling into the intersection because it wasn't in park. He then ran back to the SUV, while Lyle had gotten out to try and stop the car.
That's when Lyle charged at Hernandez - who had walked back to his car - and delivered the fatal punch. An eyewitness told jurors that Hernandez raised his hands and pleaded for Lyle not to hit him.
After delivering the blow, Lyle and his family drove off. He was later detained at Miami International Airport.
Lyle's defense attorneys cast Hernandez as an unhinged attacker who banged on the door and cursed, terrifying Lyle's wife and two children. They tested Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law, arguing that Hernandez was a threat and could've been going to get a weapon in his car. One was never found.
The trial, which was widely followed across Florida and Latin America, also had ethnic undertones, with Lyle referred to as the "Mexican actor" and Hernandez the "Cuban." It even mimicked a Spanish-language drama plot: a wealthy, handsome son of privilege faces justice after killing a poor working man.