The of anger that can erupt in a split second on any day, at any Miami intersection, was the basis of a stunning verdict by a Miami jury, that on Tuesday convicted up-and-coming Mexican actor Pablo Lyle, 35, of manslaughter stemming from a brutal road-rage incident.
The jury got it right, but what a shame that this incident happened at all, caused by two men who could not control their tempers. One is dead; one is going to prison. No winners here.
The telenovela actor faces 15 years in prison for killing, with a punch, 63-year-old Juan Ricardo Hernandez, a working-class Cuban American, who slammed into the pavement, cracked his head and died days later.
After five hours of deliberation, jurors rejected Lyle's argument that he acted in self-defense after Hernandez angrily approached his car at a Miami intersection in March 2019. Lyle's brother was driving. He cut off Hernandez as he raced to get the actor and his family to the airport.
We mention both men's nationalities because that proved an issue as the trial played out in Miami.
As attorneys selected a jury, they had to consider tensions between Hispanic groups over a Mexican actor who killed a Cuban man in a county dominated by Cuban Americans in Spanish-language media coverage, Miami Herald Reporter David Ovalle detailed in an article last week:
"Ethnicity always comes up. Members of the defense have heard it throughout the community over the years - 'that Mexican,' and they say it in a nasty way - punched that Cuban. This really concerns me," Miami defense attorney Philip Reizenstein told the judge last month as lawyers began questioning potential jurors.
Beyond nationality, the defendant and victim were also extreme contrasts in social class, age and status.
All of that was obvious to those of us who watched the incriminating video of the incident captured by a gas-station security camera.
Even on a grainy video, Lyle looked the part of an actor.
The footage shows the buff Lyle jump out of his car, long hair blowing in the wind, and chase the modestly dressed Hernandez back to his vehicle. Hernandez quickly backed down.
Did he realize he should not have jumped out of his car, all full of anger, and race to Lyle's car and bang on the driver's window?
But Lyle still struck him with such hatred and force.
At trial, Hernandez's final words to Lyle were revealed: "Please don't hurt me."
Lyle took no pity on him, later saying he feared Hernandez could have harmed his wife and kids inside his car. The most incriminating act was yet to come. Lyle and his brother jumped back in their car and drove away, leaving an unconscious Hernandez on the roadway.
Lyle didn't know his violent act and cowardly fleeing had been captured on video until he received a call from police. The actor will be sentenced this month.
Lyle and his family, by the way, made it to their flight to Mexico that day. Hernandez never made it to his destination.