A 28-year-old Lauderhill man was arrested in connection with an early morning shooting that claimed the life of a woman and her daughter and injured the man’s grandmother in what police are calling a Fort Lauderdale domestic violence incident.
Domestic violence can be classified as a violent episode between family members and usually relates to a husband and wife or girlfriend and boyfriend who get into an argument. But it can also mean a more serious altercation that leads to life-altering injuries. And it can involve children, siblings or distant relatives.
Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers have seen where these incidents can start off as minor arguments, escalate to physical fights and then lead to battery charges that carry possible long-term penalties, including prison time, probation, fines and fees, community service and other sanctions.
But simply being arrested and charged with a crime isn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect has committed the crime. And that’s the standard that is applied to criminal cases. Police officers are able to make arrests with a much lower standard of proof and that’s why sometimes charges end up getting dropped by prosecutors before trial.
In this case, a Lauderhill man is charged with shooting his wife and her daughter, killing them both. The alleged incident also ended in the man’s grandmother being shot, but not fatally. Police reported that the man was taken into custody without incident in Fort Lauderdale.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Lauderhill police were called to the NW 55th Avenue home because of a shooting. According to the newspaper, officers found a 34-year-old woman and her 19-year-old daughter, home from college, dead. Shot in the arm was a 73-year-old woman who police said was the man’s grandmother.
Witnesses allegedly saw the man driving away from the house in a 2000 pickup truck around 6:30 p.m. The couple had been married for about two and a half years and family members said the two had a “hectic” marriage.
Police surmised that the argument started after the 19-year-old said something in response to comments the man made to his wife. Police believe she was killed first. The couple had a 7-year-old daughter together, who was at the home at the time, but was not injured.
The newspaper didn’t list what charges the man will face, but it’s likely he could face two counts of second-degree murder, a charge of aggravated battery or attempted murder and even a possible count of child abuse.
Perhaps the key facts in this situation will be the credibility of the witnesses who say they saw the man driving away from the house in his truck. It’s obvious there will be DNA from the man at the scene because he lived there, so that’s not helpful to the state. And if he was at his mother’s house miles away when he was arrested more than 10 hours later, police will have to have strong proof that he was in the house at the time of the crime.
Perhaps connecting a weapon in his possession to the bullets fired at the victims would be a key piece of evidence. Without it, it may be difficult for the prosecution to prove its case. While the state sometimes tries to rely on assumptions and circumstantial evidence, this can’t be the tactic used in a murder case.
When someone’s life is on the line and justice must be done, the state must have solid evidence in order to convince a jury that the suspect is guilty. Anything less is unacceptable. And an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer will be there to point out the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
If you are arrested 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:
Love Tryst Turns Violent With Boca Raton Shooting: October 4, 2011
Man in custody after three shot, two killed in Lauderhill, by Ariel Barkhurst and Tonya Alanez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel