Prosecutors drop charges against student accused of killing tutor

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The family of a South Florida math tutor who died after a fight in a parking lot is upset that prosecutors decided not to try the man accused of killing him.

David Grant loved to tutor his students in math and enjoyed helping them improve on their report card, until one day he got into an argument with a student that turned deadly.

It’s been five years since Grant died in the parking lot in July 2012, but his sister, Carol Fields, is still feeling the heartbreak.

In a 7News exclusive, Fields told us Thursday her brother got into a fight with a student over payment for tutoring.

“He physically attacked David, and he kicked him to the ground, and he knocked him out,” Fields said, “and then he left David face down in the parking lot, while he fled in his vehicle.”

Ten hours after the incident, 28-year-old Joni Donley was arrested by Davie Police and charged with murder.

The police report said when Donley was told David was dead “he began crawling on the floor stating, ‘Oh my God, I took a life. John, it doesn’t matter who, you took the life.’ ‘Oh my God, this can’t be happening.'”

The charges were eventually downgraded to manslaughter, and now, the case against Donley has been dropped altogether.

“Today is one of the saddest days of my life,” Fields said, “and today was the day that officially, I was told, that that trial will never come.”

Friday marked almost five years to the day that Grant died, and the man he fought with walked away a free man.

“I cannot understand. It totally confuses me how the State Attorney’s Office could not prosecute a case like that,” Fields said.

State Attorney Michael Satz declined to talk to 7News but instead released a statement that read, “While the cause and manner of death was deemed homicide by strangulation, the doctor’s report also opined that cardiovascular disease was a ‘contributory cause of death.'” And the only eyewitness “graduated from college and returned to his country.”

“There will never be justice for my brother, David Grant,” Fields said.

7News crews reached out to Donley by phone Friday to see if he would speak to us, but we didn’t receive a call back.

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