1. ST. AUGUSTINE, FL (October 23, 2019) - Staugustine.com writes that a 65-year-old woman was arrested earlier this week and charged with second-degree murder. The murder took place late last week when the suspect allegedly shot and killed an 81-year-old man in St. Augustine. Police found the victim dead inside of a home in the Royal St. Augustine community.

Originally, the police arrived on the scene after receiving a call from a resident who said that she was going to harm someone else, and then herself. 

The victim had multiple gunshot wounds when he was found. The suspect was in a vehicle and had stab or cut wounds. Police ordered her out of her vehicle, but she refused to comply. Rescue workers brought the woman to a nearby hospital. After receiving treatment, the woman was released from the hospital and was arrested. 

Second Degree Murder Laws in Florida

Second-degree murder is a crime involving the unlawful and intentional death of another person. First-degree murder is distinguished from second-degree murder because to be charged with first-degree murder a person must be suspected of premeditation of the crime. In second-degree murder, the suspect does not have to have planned the killing. Second-degree murder is a First-Degree Felony that carries with it a possible life sentence. 

Oftentimes, second-degree murders are “crimes of passion” that happen in the course of a highly emotional situation such as a fight that escalates into violence. In these scenarios, the perpetrator did not calmly plan and consider the crime and its consequences, as would be the case in first-degree murder. 

When second-degree murder is carried out with a firearm, the minimum sentence is 25 years, with a maximum of life in prison. Any person charged with a crime that has a possible life imprisonment sentence will not be bondable. 

Like any crime, there are defenses for second-degree murder. One common defense is self-defense, and Florida’s stand your ground law is also sometimes used as a defense for these charges. 

Second-degree murder cases often end up going to trial because the prosecutors are unlikely to offer favorable plea deals for these cases.

In some situations, a person facing these charges might be able to have bond set for them after the defendant’s attorney requests an Arthur Hearing. These hearings are used when a person is facing a crime that is not typically bondable requests that a judge considers their individual case and determines if a bond could be set. Considerations brought up in an Arthur Hearing include whether the person is a threat to the community, who the person lives with, whether they have a criminal past, whether they have a supportive family and whether they go to school or work. A person might be allowed to stay at home rather in jail while the charges against them are pending, even in cases where the evidence against the person is strong. In some cases, an ankle monitor may be used to prevent the person from leaving the area.