PUNTA GORDA — A trial is underway in Charlotte County for James Gainvors, 36, who stands accused of second-degree homicide in the death of 39-year-old Matt Hanson on July 5. The incident allegedly occurred following a dispute over fireworks between the two neighbors residing on Corrine Avenue, just off Kings Highway.

According to reports, Gainvors and Hanson had a heated exchange after a Fourth of July firework landed in Gainvors’ yard, sparking a small fire that was promptly extinguished by Charlotte County firefighters the night before the tragic incident. The disagreement reportedly escalated when Gainvors retrieved a firearm from his residence and allegedly shot Hanson while the latter was on his porch, in the presence of at least one of Hanson’s children.

Family and friends of Hanson gathered for a memorial, attended by over 50 people, expressing concern and frustration over the alleged delay in Gainvors’ arrest by Charlotte County deputies.

Gainvors has asserted a claim of self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, a contention disputed by Hanson’s family. Notably, Gainvors remained at the scene and cooperated with law enforcement during the initial investigation on July 5. He was subsequently arrested in late July after what the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office described as a “lengthy investigation.”

The defendant’s earlier motion for immunity under the law was denied by Circuit Court Judge Lisa Porter in October. An appeal was made in November, but it seems to have been unsuccessful.

Court records indicate that Gainvors’ legal team filed a motion during the discovery phase, stating their intention to call all listed witnesses for the prosecution, along with the defendant and a relative. However, the State Attorney’s Office has countered with a motion to strike all “state’s witnesses” from the defense’s list, expressing skepticism over the proposed 60-plus witnesses for the defense.

The ongoing trial runs concurrently with the proceedings against Cassandra Diane Smith, who is being tried in connection with the death of Deputy Christopher Taylor in 2022.