Rather than face a possible life sentence on a second-degree murder charge, a Jacksonville man instead opted to plead guilty last week to one count of manslaughter with a weapon for stabbing his daughter's boyfriend to death. Carlos Dupree's murder trial was set to begin last week when he instead pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The key for Dupree in this Jacksonville Violent Crimes case is the amount of prison time he was facing. Second-degree murder is a first-degree felony and the judge has the option of sentencing a person to up to life in prison.
Dupree will be sentenced on the manslaughter charge next month, according to the newspaper report. In this Jacksonville Violent Crimes case, Dupree is accused of confronting her daughter's boyfriend because he thought the 18-year-old was disrespecting him, the newspaper reported. Dupree allegedly punched the teen and then stabbed him in the stomach with a butcher knife, the newspaper reported. The line between second-degree murder and manslaughter is very thin, though it makes an enormous difference for the defendant. In neither charge is the state saying it can prove the defendant had a premeditated plan to kill the victim. In second-degree murder, a death is caused by an obviously dangerous act that showed no regard for human life, even if the direct intent to kill was not present. Manslaughter is more typically charged in Jacksonville Violent Crime cases where a two people are involved in a fight that results in one of the parties being killed. Manslaughter revolves more around negligence than it does a particularly violent intent.
In most Jacksonville Violent Crime cases where a person pleads guilty to manslaughter, they were initially facing a murder charge. It is a charge that is most often the result of a plea agreement. From the state's perspective, by agreeing to a manslaughter plea, prosecutors are not risking having someone who they believe killed someone be able to walk right out of the courtroom and onto the street if a not guilty verdict is returned. For the defendant, it's limiting the risk in terms of time behind bars. Dupree is 41, the newspaper reported, so even if he is sentenced to the maximum amount under law, he'll still be out of prison by his mid-50s.
In the end, Duval County criminal defense is about limiting damage for a person accused of a crime. In some cases, that means pressing to trial and getting a not guilty verdict to exonerate the accused. In others, it means cutting your losses and not risking spending the rest of your life in prison. Our Jacksonville Violent Crimes attorney has worked on thousands of criminal cases and can help lay out all of the options so you or your loved one can make the best decision with the situation at hand.
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 Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.