Jacksonville woman avoids chance of death sentence, pleads guilty to shooting and killing ex-boyfriend

Rather than face a trial and the possibility of the death penalty, a Jacksonville woman pleaded guilty this month to killing her ex-boyfriend last year. Arianne Myles was accused of shooting her ex-boyfriend outside a Jacksonville post office, shortly after learning the man was engaged to another woman, the newspaper reported. Myles was charged with first-degree murder, which is only punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. Prosecutors were pursuing the death penalty against Myles, and the key element of this plea deal is that it takes the death penalty off the table. By pleading guilty to second-degree murder, the maximum penalty is life in prison. The death penalty can only be applied in first-degree murder cases.

And while it may appear to be a small victory for Myles, this is just another example of the state using the death penalty as a bargaining chip in a Jacksonville Murder Case. The inclination locally has been to charge first-degree murder, seek the death penalty and negotiate from there. It’s all part of the process, and the practice of starting a negotiation with one charge and bargaining it down to a reduced charge is not uncommon for many Jacksonville Felony Cases, even Jacksonville Misdemeanor Cases. But the death penalty is reserved for the most heinous of heinous crimes, and literally threatening someone with their life seems to be the new tactic in Jacksonville Murder Cases.

Myles was driving down a Jacksonville road when she saw her ex-boyfriend’s car in a post office parking lot, according to a report on News4Jax. She is accused of turning the car around, pulling into the parking lot, getting a gun from her glove compartment and killing him, the television station reported. The premeditation needed for first-degree murder does not need to be days or weeks of plotting, but could be met just in the time that Myles turned around and decided to go and shoot the victim. But would that have qualified this Jacksonville Murder Case as a death penalty case? At the end of the day, we won’t know. Myles is scheduled to be sentenced next month in this Jacksonville Murder Case. The maximum penalty is life in prison, but the plea agreement does leave it open that she could receive a sentence that would allow Myles, 23, to be released at some point. A very small percentage of Jacksonville Criminal Defense Cases end up in trial, so a key is often being able to negotiate the best possible outcome for the you or your loved one. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the case so you can determine whether it makes sense to try to negotiate or to take the case to trial.

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