Fort Lauderdale Millionaire Killed; Girlfriend Arrested and Charged With Murder

The recent high-profile case of a Fort Lauderdale self-made millionaire being found dead, wrapped in bedding and his girlfriend being charged with his murder has made headlines throughout South Florida.

But the woman turning herself in to detectives doesn’t make her guilty. According to The Miami Herald, she had found out that police accused her of the homicide and agreed to turn herself in to authorities rather than remain at large. It goes without saying that murder charges in Fort Lauderdale are serious and carry severe penalties. But hiring an experienced Broward Criminal Defense Attorney before answering to the charges can be a critical step in protecting your rights.
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According to The Herald, the 70-year-old man’s body was found in June at his newly purchased mansion in the Tarpon River neighborhood. Police arrived after someone called 911 and found that his body had been wrapped in duct tape and covered in bedding and plastic bags.

Police told the media that they had several pieces of evidence linking the man’s 54-year-old girlfriend to the crime and they know how he died, but they declined to release the information to the public. According to police, the couple’s relationship had recently soured.

According to the newspaper, the victim started his career selling Honda motorcycles in San Diego and began selling Honda cars, owning several dealerships as the company became more popular in the United States. He met his girlfriend there and they moved together to Fort Lauderdale, where he purchased several million-dollar-plus houses.

Charges of murder in Florida can be brought by the state in several different formats. The most common charge where a person is killed may be second-degree murder. Second-degree murder, which is punishable by 30 years to life in prison, is defined as “the unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual,” according to Florida Statutes 782.04.

First-degree murder in Florida can be charged by prosecutors in two different circumstances: if they can prove the crime was premeditated (thought out in advance) or if it was committed while committing another felony. First-degree murder is punishable by life in prison or death by lethal injection.

Manslaughter is another charge that can be brought by the state in cases where a person is killed. This is defined under Florida Statutes 782.07 as essentially someone being killed by negligence without justification. Manslaughter carries with it a maximum of 15 years in prison.

So, as you can see, charges involving homicide in Florida are severe. And that’s why hiring the right lawyer, attorneys who have been prosecutors and understand how prosecutors think and how police do their job is critical. These aren’t charges that should be taken lightly and a diligent lawyer, one who will put in the research, file scores of motions to restrict evidence and aggressively go after witnesses is crucial.

If you are arrested on murder charges in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida, contact Leifert & Leifert at 954-523-9600 or 561-988-8000 for a free consultation.

Additional Resources:

Girlfriend arrested in killing of multimillionaire, 70, by Diana Moskovitz, The Miami Herald
More Blog Entries:

Palm Beach Homicide Case Illustrates Importance of Experienced Criminal Defense: Jan. 29, 2011

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