Convicted murderer gets life in prison, Jacksonville prosecutors say they’ll try again for death sentence

A Jacksonville man facing murder charges in three different cases has been found guilty of the first two and last week received his second life sentence when a judge opted against the death penalty. But that doesn’t appear to be stopping the state from pressing forward once more to have DeShawn Green executed, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The state plans to proceed to trial on the third murder charge and seek the death penalty, even though Green is already facing two life sentences, the newspaper reported.

In this second Jacksonville Murder Case, Green was convicted in the shooting death of a man at a Jacksonville apartment complex and police said he was out for revenge after two of his friends were shot, the newspaper reported. Green and Bruce Brice Jr. were both charged in the shooting, though neither admitted to firing the shots. Brice worked out a plea deal to testify against Green and, in turn, was sentenced to just seven years in prison, the newspaper reported. In convicting Green, the jury found him guilty of being part of the crime, but did not find beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the actual triggerman, the newspaper reported.

In first-degree murder cases in the state of Florida, there are only two possible sentences: life in prison or the death penalty. If the state chooses to seek the death penalty, which it does in Jacksonville more frequently than many other parts of the state, the same jury that sat through the trial is asked to make a recommendation to the judge regarding the death penalty. In Green’s Jacksonville Murder Case, the jury voted 7-5 to sentence Green to death. But, in death cases, the jury recommendation is only a recommendation and the judge has the final say. In this case, the judge said he went against the jury’s recommendation because of the doubt as to whether or not Green fired the shots, the newspaper reported. Prosecutors have appealed in Jacksonville Murder Cases when a judge chooses life in prison against the recommendation of the jury, so that could be an option in this case. The narrow 7-5 vote may dissuade the state from that option, especially with another murder trial for Green coming soon. Interestingly, the only thing a jury does that it doesn’t have to be unanimous in is recommending death. From a petit theft misdemeanor case all the way up to a first-degree murder case, a jury must be unanimous to convict a person of a crime. All it takes is one person and, if an agreement cannot be reached, the jury is considered hung. From there, a mistrial is declared and the trial would have to start all over again with a new jury in place. In a death sentence, though, majority rules. Until the decision reaches the judge.

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 Violent Crime Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.