Jacksonville police arrest wrong teen in mall shooting case

Police have released an 18-year-old man they initially charged in a shopping mall shooting and charged another teen with two counts of attempted murder and carrying a concealed weapon. Keith Brown was released from jail, four days after he was arrested and charged in Jacksonville – despite vehement denials, according to a report from News4Jax. Now, it’s Joshua Davis who faces the same charges. Police told the television station Davis has confessed to firing at a couple he had a standing beef with. Davis missed both intended targets, but one of the bullets ricocheted and hit a clerk in the shoulder. She was treated at a local hospital and has since been released. Police said the couple that was shot at picked Brown out of a lineup, as did a store clerk. Now, police say all three were wrong.

Detectives constantly hear people deny involvement in a crime. It’s part of the job. And, at least in this case, the denials did not help Brown a bit. He was still arrested, his name and mug shot paraded across the news, as police patted themselves on the back for a quick resolution to a high-profile shooting in a crowded shopping mall. The key in Brown’s release wasn’t that he said he didn’t do it. It was police had someone else to charge. If you’ve been arrested, chances are pretty solid that until they have someone else, you’re the guy.

This highlights the perils of eyewitness identification. How could all three people be wrong? It depends on the pictures included in the lineup – was there anyone else in the photo spread (even Davis) who looked similar to Brown? What was the demeanor of the officer? Was there more attention given to any particular suspect? According to the television station, police caught the mistake when they talked to two of the teens seen at the mall with the alleged shooter. Both named Davis and said he had a gun, the television station reported.

Unfortunately, more and more cases are ending up in trial where police are relying solely on eyewitness testimony in the absence of any physical evidence. When this happens, you need a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney that can quickly sort through the evidence and prove police are barking up the wrong tree. If you or a loved one needs a violent crimes defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County criminal lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.