State drops first-degree murder charge in drive-by killing, man sentenced to five years in prison

In rare move for Jacksonville prosecutors, the state dropped a first-degree murder charge against a Jacksonville man and instead allowed him to plead guilty to lesser charges that now amount to five years in prison. Keir Delancy instead pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and attempted manslaughter, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Delancy was sentenced to five years in prison on each count, but the judge ordered they be served concurrently. That means Delancy serves the two sentences at the same time and will serve just five years total for the two charges. The judge also allowed Delancy to serve these two sentences concurrent to the 15 years he is now serving for selling cocaine, charges he pleaded to last year. So on the 25 years he was sentenced to for various Jacksonville Gun Crimes and Jacksonville Drug Crimes, Delancy will only serve 15 years. And if he stays out of trouble in prison, he will serve just 85 percent of that time and be released in less than 13 years.

That’s a remarkably good deal for Delancy and a far cry from the mandatory life sentence the 26-year-old would have been facing had he gone to trial on the first-degree murder charge. In first-degree murder cases, the judge does not have any discretion and Florida law requires the sentence to be either life in prison or the death penalty. The state was not seeking death in this case. Delancy and another man were both charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder for their roles in a drive-by shooting that killed one man and injured another in 2010. Delancy’s co-defendant, Brandon Acker, has yet to go to trial. Delancy and the victims had an ongoing dispute, presumably over drugs sales, the newspaper reported. The newspaper report does not say if Delancy agreed to testify against Acker, but that could certainly be one obvious reason for the state to pull the first-degree murder charge and offer Delancy a deal that is typically unheard of in Jacksonville. Prosecutors declined to discuss why the murder charge was dropped and the attempted murder charge was reduced, the newspaper reported.

In recent years, prosecutors have been extremely reluctant to drop any charges, let alone a first-degree murder charge. Had the case been solid, it’s very unlikely the state would have an offer as generous on the table for Delancy. It will be interesting to see if something similar comes around for Acker in this Jacksonville Gun Crime and Jacksonville Drugs Crime Case. Or if Delancy will appear on the witness stand to testify against him.

If you or a loved one needs a Jacksonville Gun Crimes attorney in Duval County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.