KEY WEST, Fla. (December 12, 2019) – An online news article published by www.miamiherald.com reports that a 24-year-old Florida man faces attempted murder charges after firing a gun at two women, with one woman taking a bullet to one of her legs.
The 24-year-old Florida man was charged with "attempted homicide, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, fleeing and eluding police, and resisting arrest." According to a police spokesperson, the man was firing more than one shot inside the house where he shot the two women. The article indicates that the man is a convicted felon who cannot legally possess a gun. As such, the man is facing an additional charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
A 25-year-old woman inside the home was struck in one of her legs and airlifted to a trauma center. The woman was later released from the hospital. The other victim, a 27-year-old woman inside the home, did not sustain any gunshot wounds. The man remains in jail, pending further action on his case.
Attempted Murder Under Florida Law
Under Florida Statute Section 782.051, a person may be convicted of attempted murder if he or she took acts that could have resulted in another person's death. For purposes of punishment, Florida law treats attempted murder as the same as murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in jail. The penalty is more substantial when a victim sustains injuries.
Additionally, the punishment will also depend upon the type of attempted murder a person is charged with. Attempted murder in the first degree alleges that a person acted with premeditation, planning to kill someone. Attempted murder in the second degree does not involve the same level of intent. Rather, the attempted murder is not planned. This type of attempted murder is known as a "crime of passion," one which is carried out in the heat of the moment. A person convicted of first-degree attempted murder faces life in jail while a person convicted of second-degree murder faces up to 15 years in jail.
Prosecutors will evaluate a variety of factors when charging a person with attempted murder. Such factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Whether the person facing attempted murder charges has prior criminal convictions;
- Whether a firearm was used;
- Whether the attempted murder was directed at a public official or police officer;
- Whether the crime was gang-related;
- Whether any victim was injured in the course of the attempted murder; and
- The severity of the conduct at issue (i.e., whether a person was painfully tortured or severely injured).
Anyone charged with attempted murder can present defenses to dispute the allegations. Such potential defenses include, among others, the following:
- Self-defense of oneself or the defense of another person;
- Lack of intent to harm; and
- Mistaken identity (for example, if a person shoots who he or she believes to be an intruder in his/her home and the person is a friend or family member).
When presenting self-defense as a defense to the alleged crime, the individual charged with attempted murder must show that he/she reasonably believed he/she was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury or death.