(NEW YORK ) — The son of a Real Housewives of Miami star plans to plead not guilty to charges of simple battery for allegedly assaulting a homeless man, his lawyer said.
Peter Rosello, son of Real Housewives of Miami star Alexia Echevarria, was charged with simple battery with prejudice Wednesday, according to Miami Beach police. Due to hate crime law, his charges are a felony instead of a misdemeanor because the victim is homeless.
Rosello, of Miami Beach, Fla., turned himself in to police Wednesday and was released on $5,000 bond.
Police discovered a YouTube video Oct. 3 showing the 20-year-old saying, “Going to punch a hobo,” before punching a sleeping man in the groin and running away.
“They don’t know my son. My son has a huge heart,” Echevarria told ABC affiliate WPLG. “He’s just a good kid who made the wrong choice at that time.”
Rosello’s attorney, Richard Sharpstein, said he has yet to speak to the prosecutor but he told ABC News Rosello’s case could be affected by his mother’s celebrity status.
“I think it’s affected the case already in the sense that it’s gotten a little bit more attention than it might have otherwise,” he told ABC News.
Echevarria expressed her son’s remorse to WPLG.
“He’s very sad about this, and, hopefully, we’ll get through it, all the family, because everything else I have going on in my life,” Echevarria told WPLG.
Miami Beach police reached out to the city’s Homeless Outreach Teams who identified the homeless man to police as Gary Lee Brown. Brown, 62, told police the 20-year-old assaulted him for no apparent reason and he wanted to press charges.
Echevarria, who is the executive editor of Venue Magazine, said “any mother could identify” with the situation and she knows her status as a reality star has had an effect on it.
“You never think about this side and how unfortunate it is and how people — the humanity — they have this hate inside their heart,” Echevarria told WPLG. “They like this — they like to see other families suffering. To me, that’s the saddest think of this whole situation.”
Echevarria’s Real Housewives of Miami bio on Bravo’s website says the star “admits she is at times more of an older sister than a disciplinarian to her two sons from a previous marriage.” The Real Housewives of Miami is in its second season.
Rosello’s arraignment hearing is set for Nov. 9.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Noelle Baldwin, Deseret News
Chandrika Narayan, CNN
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com