TALLAHASSEE, FL (November 20, 2019) — Two weeks after a grand jury indicted a man on a shooting murder that happened on January 2, an alert Tallahassee police officer spotted a vehicle without tags and pulled the car over. Inside the car was the person the grand jury indicted for murder. The wanted man previously resided in Riviera Beach, some 400 miles away from Tallahassee, according to the Palm Beach Post. The wanted man was the sole passenger in the vehicle. The passenger also had a warrant for his arrest after missing a court date in mid-January for a case involving motor vehicle charges. The individual is now held without the possibility of posting a bond after his capture.

The report from the Palm Beach Post regarding the incident suggests that the driver of the sports utility vehicle the Tallahassee officer observed with invalid tags pulled over into a local store after the officer signaled to stop. The officer opined the driver was attempting to comply with the officer’s order. The situation escalated from there.

Both driver and passenger alighted from the car despite the officer’s commands to remain within the auto. The driver and passenger took off running. Police never captured the driver but did apprehend the passenger. Police captured the passenger went he dropped to the ground to surrender to police. Police found evidence of drug dealing on his person. The passenger told police he ran because the driver said there might be a gun in the car. Also, the passenger gave a false name. Officers were able to identify him when a tattoo on his arm betrayed his statement to the contrary.

Police booked the suspect into the Leon County jail, and then authorities transferred him to the main detention facility of Palm Beach County, where he remains held without bond on a charge of first-degree murder, possibly stemming from an armed robbery.

First-degree Murder with Deliberate Premeditation Charges in Florida

First-degree murder in Florida is either the deliberate and premeditated killing of another or the death of another person during the commission of any felony listed in the statute. The felonies listed are inherently dangerous felonies, such as rape or armed robbery.

First-degree murder with deliberate premeditation requires proof of a plan or scheme, such as lying in wait, as mandated by §782.04(1)(a)(1) of the Florida Statutes. Felony murder, on the other hand, does not require the specific intent to kill. The government needs only to prove that the defendant killed another during the commission of any one of the listed felonies in §782.04(1)(a)(2).

Florida law offers only two options for punishment for a person convicted of murder in the first-degree. The offender may be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole. The government may elect to proceed against the accused without seeking the death penalty as a sentencing option and seek only life without parole.

When the government seeks the death penalty, the court conducts a second trial, which is known as the penalty phase. The jury then votes whether the defendant should be sentenced to death or life in prison.

The person facing a first-degree murder indictment can engage in plea negotiations. For example, the person could offer to plead to a reduced charge in exchange for a prison sentence that offers the opportunity to earn parole.