Las Vegas “Road Rage” Killing Actually Self Defense?

People all across the country have been shocked by a seemingly senseless fatal shooting in Las Vegas, NV, one which apparently stemmed from an earlier road rage incident.
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As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, no case is straight-forward; one must consider all possibilities and angles when analyzing a criminal case, especially one involving charges of murder.

While first reported as a clear-cut road rage-fueled shooting, the defense attorney for the 19-year-old defendant is now saying that the shooting was in fact carried-out in self defense.

Early reports indicated that there was a connection between a road rage altercation and the fatal shooting that took place later that night. Apparently, according to the family of the victim and the police, a Las Vegas mother of four took her daughter out for a driving lesson after dark, nothing unusual because in Nevada, in order to obtain your license, you must have documented training hours of night driving.

While the daughter was driving the car, another car, apparently filled with 2+ teenagers, sped up behind the car and then swerved next to it, prompting the driving-in-training daughter to honk the horn. According to the family of the woman killed that night, a teenage boy (the defendant in the case) stopped his car short and walked over to the car occupied by the woman and her daughter. Before walking back to his car, the defendant allegedly threatened the two.

Authorities argue that when the mother and daughter returned to their home, the daughter went outside, and a son emerged from the house. The husband of the deceased woman contends that the mother and son then left the home, apparently to remove the car (now known to the teenager from the road rage incident) from the vicinity of the home, so the teenager wouldn’t know where the woman and her daughter live(d). As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers understand, shortly after the mother and son left the house in their vehicle, fire was exchanged and the woman of four was left dead. According to this version of the story, it seems as though the teenager was clearly the aggressor from the get-go.

Not so fast, according to the defense attorney for the 19-year-old. Based on statements from 19-year-old Erich Nowsch’s lawyer, the teenager feared for his life, and fired in self defense when the woman and her 22-year-old son, armed with a 9 mm pistol, came looking for the teenager, who had allegedly been involved in the road rage incident from earlier. While it’s uncontested that Nowsch fired the fatal shot, it’s also been reported that the woman’s son pulled his weapon and fired bullets at the teenager during the altercation. Nowsch’s lawyer says he has questions about the stories put forth by authorities and the victim’s family, citing inconsistencies and “evolutions” in the story of events from the night in question.

If the legal defense team can cast enough doubt on the theories espoused by the police and the prosecutors in this case, they might be able to succeed in their self defense legal strategy. In Florida, for instance, one is allowed to use force — including deadly force — if responding during an incident in which one reasonably fears for the safety of his or her life. The inconsistencies in the story, coupled with the fact that the woman and her son, armed with a firearm, went out searching for the teenager, after the road rage incident had settled (if it took place at all), raises serious doubts about who was the aggressor in this incident, regardless of who was fatally shot.

If you have any questions about self defense legal strategies or if you’ve been arrested for or charged with a crime involving a firearm in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact our lawyers 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.

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