ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.-- Remnants of the bonfire party that took 19-year-old Ryan Scott Ford's life lay scattered across Phil Genovar's property.
"It's so tragic that you have a young person that was killed," he said. "My heart goes out to the family."
Genovar, owner of Dixie Auto Parts in St. Augustine, says he wished he could have stopped the tragedy that took place on his property. He says he's tried to block off his family's camping grounds from trespassing teens for years, using wire fences and tree stumps, but he says they always find a way in and find mischief; the way they did, according to police, the night Ford was beaten to death.
"All the cables have been severed, either with a power saw or a cutter," he said.
Genovar told Action News he never gave anyone permission to be on his land the night Ford was killed.
"I had no idea anybody was on the property," he said.
Attorney Dale Carson says Genovar can't be held responsible for the tragedy.
"In the state of Florida, you don't owe any duty to a trespasser," said Carson. "Clearly these people were trespassing, you have evidence that there was an effort to keep people out."
For now, it's back to the drawing board for Genovar to keep trespassers off his land and protect his property. He has already met with JSO deputies to discuss increasing patrol efforts.