Victim: Wathson Adelson (killed)
The accused: Alcisviades Polanco


Wathson Adelson

Black male

Age at time: 20

Weapon: unarmed

Victim photo: Family photo


Alcisviades Polanco

Hispanic male

Age at time: 62

Weapon: ice pick

Case type:
Road rage




Case year:

Location details: On a public street in Tampa, Hillsborough County, on Nov. 21, 2011

What happened: After Alcisviades Polanco's car cut him off in traffic, Wathson Adelson, 20, passed him, blocked the road with his car, then walked back to confront Polanco, 62. The argument escalated. Polanco grabbed an icepick from his car and stabbed Adelson in the head and arm. Adelson, who was unarmed, died three weeks later. Polanco told police that Adelson punched him in the head and body, and the two were tussling on the ground when Polanco stabbed Adelson in the arm and head. He said Adelson was pulling on his collar so it felt like he was being choked. One eyewitness told deputies that after a heated dispute, the two men "squared off like fighting cocks" and ran at each other, ending up on the ground.

The outcome: No charges were filed against Polanco. "After listening to the case and the evidence presented, it was determined that we couldn't refute the gentleman's claim of self-defense," Mark Cox, spokesman for the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office, said at the time.

Investigating agency: Hillsborough County Sheriff

Case decision made by: Prosecutor

Trayvon Martin’s death became controversial because circumstances leading up to the shooting cast doubt on who was to blame. The Tampa Bay Times reviewed other “stand your ground” cases for similar circumstances. The Times relied on available information, some of which may not tell the whole story. When the situation was unclear, that was noted.

Yes No Unclear/

Did the victim initiate the confrontation?


Was the victim armed?


Was the victim committing a crime that led to the confrontation?


Did the defendant pursue the victim?


Could the defendant have retreated to avoid the conflict?


Was the defendant on his or her property?


Did someone witness the attack?


Was there physical evidence?


Source: Florida State Attorney, Dec. 19, 2011.

Source: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Nov. 21, 2011.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, Dec. 13, 2011.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, Feb. 25, 2012.

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Case last updated: Aug. 10, 2013