As reported by the Miami Herald, a widow, Janepsy Carballo, is on trial in Miami facing charges of second-degree murder in the shooting death of her late husband’s suspected killer.
As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers understand, in April 2008, Ms. Carballo’s husband was gunned down on his front lawn, allegedly by two men, one of whom was Ilan Nissim, a business partner of the victim. Following the shooting, police urged Ms. Carballo to get close to Nissim in an effort to garner as many clues as possible.
Then, in May 2008, Ms. Carballo shot Nissim dead when he appeared at her house. Two years later, charges were brought against her, and two years after that her trial is underway. At the core of the case is the debate over whether Ms. Carballo shot and killed Nissim as an act of revenge, which might justify the charges, or whether she shot him out of fear and in self defense, in which case she would likely have been justified in shooting the man.
Following the fatal 2008 shooting death of Ms. Carballo’s husband (which remains an open case in which nobody has been charged), Ms. Carballo told police that she suspected Nissim in the killing because of a real estate transaction that had allegedly gone wrong. Because of the information she provided to law enforcement officers following the shooting, police urged her to “get close” to Nissim as to be able to collect any valuable information he might let slip.
In court on Wednesday, the prosecution used their advice to Ms. Carballo against her, hammering her for getting close to Nissim, when getting close to Nissim is exactly what police told Ms. Carballo to do.
As part of their strategy to prove to jurors that the shooting death of Nissim was an act of revenge on the part of Ms. Carballo, police pointed to the fact that Ms. Carballo and Nissim often exchanged phone calls and saw one another (all things, as our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, are components of “getting close). This information was provided to jurors in an effort to demonstrate that when Nissim showed up at Ms. Carballo’s house in May of 2008, he was not unexpected and therefore it would have been unlikely that the shooting would have been in self defense. But that’s a reach; even if the two had become close, he still could have threatened her in a manner justifying her shooting him. (Domestic violence and domestic shooting cases occur far too often, and the parties involved expect one another to be in the household.)
The prosecution also claimed that Ms. Carballo had gone to a store to buy a gun, allegedly telling the store clerk that she wanted a gun “that won’t miss.” We believe that this bit of information adds nothing to the prosecution’s case and shouldn’t be interpreted as evidence of guilt in any way, shape or form. Ms. Carballo’s husband had just been murdered — shot dead with a firearm; wouldn’t she want a firearm in the home to be able to protect herself and her toddler son (who was himself grazed by bullets in the shooting death of her husband)? Further, if you’re buying a gun, wouldn’t you want a gun that won’t miss? If you’re defending yourself, isn’t it imperative that the firearm you have to defend yourself doesn’t miss its intended target?
For the defense, one bit of evidence the prosecution has at their disposal does prove ostensibly problematic; the testimony of an informant who had been investigating a drug case and had come into contact with Ms. Carballo. According to the informant, Carballo discussed the shooting of Nissim as an “eye for an eye” and said that she shot Nissim because she wanted his daughter to grow up without a father just as her son has to grow up without a father. First of all, it’s important to question the validity of the informant’s statements. If the informant has anything to gain from providing police with apparently damning information, then there’s the possibility that such an informant has a motive to lie.
But even if the informant is telling the truth, none of the statements made by Ms. Carballo run contrary to the defense that she shot Nissim out of fear or in self defense. Just because she shot him in self defense doesn’t mean that it was not also an “eye for an eye” and it also doesn’t mean that Ms. Carballo might also get satisfaction from the fact that his family now has to suffer just as her’s has and will.
If you have any questions about this criminal case or if you’ve been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert to schedule a free consultation by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you.