A store clerk died after being shot during a robbery at a check cashing store on Sunrise Boulevard recently, The Miami Herald reports.
Robbery that leads to murder in Fort Lauderdale is typically charged as first-degree murder, which can lead to a possible penalty of up to life in prison or the death penalty. That’s why a defendant facing these types of charges must hire an experienced Broward County Criminal Defense Attorney.
According to the news report, Broward County Sheriff’s deputies received distress calls from inside the building saying there was a robbery. When a SWAT team arrived, shots were fired, police said. A clerk inside died from her injuries, while a suspect and a person found across the street, who may have been a bystander, were also injured.
A two-hour standoff situation insued. Officers thought they had a hostage situation and when paramedics attempted to treat a man on the ground outside the store, they noticed he was armed and waited for SWAT to extract him.
The other man, who hasn’t been identified as a bystander or suspect, was treated by paramedics. All were taken to Broward General Medical Center.
Eventually, SWAT team members broke through a window of the business and brought out the clerk. Traffic on the typically busy six-lane West Sunrise Boulevard was cut off during the standoff.
In Florida, a person can be charged with first-degree murder by police, but in order for the charge to go forward to trial, the State Attorney’s Office must seek a grand jury indictment, meaning a panel of people on the grand jury must agree that the charges rise to the level of first-degree murder. That’s because of the severity of the penalties against someone facing that charge.
First-degree murder charges in Florida mean a person can face life in prison or possibly death by lethal injection. It can be proven either by proving a premeditated plan of committing murder or if the defendant committed another felony –in this case, a possible armed robbery — while committing the murder.
Among the crimes that can lead to a first-degree murder charge: trafficking, arson, sexual battery, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, escape, aggravated child abuse, aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, aircraft piracy, unlawful throwing, placing or discharging of a destructive device or bomb, carjacking, home-invasion robbery, aggravated stalking, murder of another, resisting an officer with violence and a felony that is an act of terrorism.
As you can see, there are many potential reasons to be charged with first-degree murder if a person dies. But this doesn’t just apply to someone who was the intended target of violence.
In fact, there have been many cases of a co-defendant dying during some sort of planned robbery and the surviving co-defendant is charged with murder — even if the police, for instance, shoot and kill the suspect. In other cases, a person may have a heart attack during a house break-in and those responsible for the break-in can be charged with murder.
That’s why hiring an experienced Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney should be the first step in defending a crime of this nature. Getting sound legal advice in a case like this is critical to ensuring a defendant’s rights are upheld from the very beginning.
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.
More Blog Entries:
Robbery Suspect Leads Police Through High-Speed Fort Lauderdale Chase: July 15, 2011
Clerk dies after robbery at Broward check-cashing store, by Linda Trischitta, The Miami Herald