Possession as a defense in Florida

Jamie Amoguea Fonseca, 32, of Tampa, Florida. [Photo credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]

Officers responded to a residence in Tampa around 1:30 am Sunday morning on a report that a child had been abused.


When they arrived at the home they made contact with a 14 year old boy that alleged that an adult had burned his back with a lit cigar.


According to the probable cause statement filed by the Tampa Police Department, the boy stated that he had returned to his home and found people standing in a circle in the living room engaged in a Santeria ritual.


The boy told authorities that he declined participation as he does not involve himself with Santeria.  He stated he went to the restroom and when he emerged, his shirt was grabbed from behind and lifted.  He was then burned on the center of his back with a cigar, he said.


The man holding the cigar is identified as 32 year old Jaime Javier Amoguea Fonseca.


He told authorities that he 'loses control of his body and is unaware of his surroundings when he’s possessed by spirits' but also claimed that while possessed by spirits, the child had brushed up against him accidentally while walking past him.


The mother declined providing a sworn statement to authorities but did say that she had invited Fonseca and other friends over to interact with spirits.  According to WFLA, the mother stated that Fonseca had been possessed and had not harmed her child.  When the officer directed her attention to the clear burn on her son's back, she is reported to have said that she saw nothing.


Fonseca was arrested and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail just before 3 am on a charge of aggravated child abuse/ torture.  On the afternoon of the 13th, he made bond and was released.  It is not immediately known when he is due to appear in court.