A man serving a life sentence for robbing a Jacksonville cell phone store has now been charged with the 2011 killing of a Jacksonville woman and police say the robbery and her death are connected. Police arrested Kenneth Thompson last week and charged him with murder in the death of Michelle McCoy, who was last seen being pulled into a minivan in January 2011, according to a report by News4Jax. Police said this week that Thompson and McCoy knew each other and Thompson was trying to get back a stolen phone from McCoy, according to the news report. McCoy was missing for three weeks before her remains were found in a vacant lot. Thompson was convicted this year of a Jacksonville Robbery for robbing a Metro PCS store just weeks after McCoy went missing. Thompson has long been a person of interest in the McCoy case, as was his uncle, a convicted rapist who killed himself in a police standoff, saying he'd rather die than return to prison, the television station reported.
Prosecutors used one of their common strategies in cases like this where the evidence on the murder case may not be as strong as they'd like it to be. The state took Thompson to trial on the Duval County robbery charge first, where he was convicted and received a life sentence. Now that he's in prison for life, there's no risk of him getting out on the street if he is found not guilty on the murder charge. What this does is cut the risk significantly for the state, knowing that Thompson is in prison for life regardless. It also bought detectives some time to get the case as locked down as they can before making Jacksonville the arrest. There's no rush, Thompson's not going anywhere. From Thompson's perspective, it also likely guarantees the case will go to trial in Duval County. He's in prison for life anyway, why not fight it? The jury will not know that he's already serving a life sentence, unless Thompson decides to testify in the case, which would appear to be unlikely.
Our experienced Jacksonville Trial Attorney knows that criminal cases typically hinge on who has the leverage in a case. If, for example, the case is thin and the state knows it, there is often an offer that might have a lower sentence than is typical for a crime of that nature. A Jacksonville Criminal Attorney then has to consult with the defendant to determine if he or she wants to take that deal or push forward any try to expose the flaws of the case in a trial. In that hypothetical situation, the defense has the leverage. For Thompson, because prosecutors opted to try to the armed robbery before even charging him with murder, the state is clearly in the driver's seat even if the murder case is flawed. As the case moves on, it will be interesting to see how both sides address Thompson's uncle role in the case, especially since he cannot defend himself from any accusations.
If you or a loved one needs a Criminal Defense Attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Jacksonville Crime Lawyer, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.