A 39-year-old Riviera Beach man now faces charges of burglary with assault or battery, robbery by sudden snatching and aggravated battery on a person 65 or older in connection with an attack on a 79-year-old woman who’s neck was broken, The Palm Beach Post reports.
Florida law allows for enhanced penalties for certain circumstances, whether it be the location of a drug sale in Fort Lauderdale, age of a victim in a West Palm Beach battery or if a weapon is used in a crime.
Our West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers believe that because of these enhancements it’s even more important that defendants have sound legal representation. Without an advocate, a person won’t have the benefit of years of experience and knowledge about the law, past court cases and effective strategies to point out facts that can work in the defendant’s favor.
In this case, according to the news report, a 79-year-old woman told police that when she pulled into her garage around 4:15 p.m.. one weekday afternoon, she was hit with something she described as a “sledge hammer” between her shoulders. The woman was knocked to the ground unconscious and when she woke up, her wallet, cell phone, papers, credit cards and other goods were missing.
When the woman came-to, she went to a neighbor’s house and called 911. The woman was transported to a local hospital, where she was given surgery to fix a broken neck.
Police detectives told the newspaper that they later found the woman’s purse and phone in an alley trash can in Lake Worth. They say they were able to obtain video surveillance of the woman’s Mastercard being used at a gas station in Lake Worth as well.
Detectives say the video surveillance shows a man similar to the suspect trying to use the card. They said they found fingerprints on some of the items at the scene that matched some found in a fingerprint database matching the suspect.
What must be questioned is whether police have solid proof that the fingerprints are a match and that they can prove the man was at the scene. Without that, it’s possible the two met in some other way or the print match isn’t accurate.
Also, if police aren’t able to prove the man is connected to those stolen goods, it may be difficult to prove he stolen them or committed the assault. It’s rare that a person is attacked by a random stranger in a different city. So, if there are no witnesses who saw the attack, simply having grainy video that isn’t conclusive may not be enough for a conviction.
These are serious felony charges that can result in years or decades in prison. Prosecutors must have more proof than circumstantial evidence if they hope to lock down a conviction. And defendants must have solid legal representation in order to ensure that they get a fair trial and their rights are upheld.
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:
Woman Charged With Inciting a Riot at Pompano Beach Bowling Alley: February 17, 2012
Riviera Beach man accused of breaking neck of woman, 79, on Valentine’s Day, by Alexandra Seltzer, The Palm Beach Post