Controversial Case Leads to Murder Conviction
The mere thought of a murder charge is enough to bring the strongest person to his knees. It is the most serious of offenses, with lifelong penalties and public condemnation. When faced with allegations of murder, a suspect must act rapidly to craft a defense that will counter the evidence against him. This can be a daunting task, especially when combined with the possibility of a conviction and the stress that accompanies the charge. The assistance of an experienced attorney is vital to an adequate and successful defense. Without it, a defendant may find himself facing the worst of punishments.
A judge recently convicted a Florida man of first degree murder in a case that has garnered national attention. According to reports, the 47-year-old man was sitting in his car at a Jacksonville area gas station. In an SUV next to him, four young black men were allegedly playing their music loudly. The parties reportedly argued about the volume of the music. According to defense arguments, the accused, who is white, claimed that one of the teenagers brandished a gun and threatened his life. The defendant then reportedly shot into the vehicle, fatally wounding one of the teenagers.
The trial began in February of this year, when a jury found the man guilty of three counts of attempted murder for the surviving passengers in the SUV. However, they were unable to come to a consensus on the first degree murder charges, which led to the recent retrial. The accused put forth a self-defense argument, asserting that the victims threatened him with a gun. However, there was no weapon discovered in the truck or on the passengers, which may have hurt the credibility of defense arguments.
Florida Murder Laws
The state of Florida classifies the act of murder in a variety of ways. Each of the classifications require a distinct set of elements and carry their own potential penalties.
- Murder in the first degree – Applies to acts of premeditated murder or murder that occurs in the commission of a violent felony crime. In Florida, it is designated as a capital offense and punishable by the death penalty or life in prison.
- Murder in the second degree – Applies to murders that occur as a result of an act that shows no regard for human life. It is designated as a first degree felony, which carries a punishment up to life in prison.
- Murder in the third degree – Applies to unintentional killings that occur during the commission of a nonviolent felony crime. With a second degree murder designation, a conviction can result in a punishment of up to 15 years in prison.
- Manslaughter – Unintentional killings, along with those that are intentional, but justifiable. These are also designated as second degree felonies.
If you or a loved one is facing murder charges, Miami Criminal Attorneys Mycki Ratzan and Jude Faccidomo can provide you with an aggressive and comprehensive defense. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation.