Jacksonville Beach man on trial for murder, accused of intentionally driving over his friend

The trial of a man accused of purposefully running his friend down and killing him is expected to conclude this week. The defendant faces mandatory life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the death of his 35-year-old friend, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The two men were watching a basketball game at a Jacksonville Beach bar and, when the defendant’s team lost, he became upset and the victim moved to another table, the newspaper reported. This upset the defendant and the two got into a fight, which got the defendant tossed out of the bar, the newspaper reported.

The victim then went back to his apartment after being told his dog was out and saw the defendant parked across the street. The state says the victim then confronted the defendant, thinking he was the one who let the dog out, and the defendant drove over the victim and never returned, the newspaper reported. The defendant says he was scared when the victim came after him and was just trying to escape, the newspaper reported. The defendant hit a curb the same time he hit the victim, so he said he didn’t know he’d hit anyone, the newspaper reported.

This presents an interesting Jacksonville Murder Case a jury must now decide. By charging first-degree murder in this case, the state is saying that the defendant drove at the victim with the sole purpose of killing him or doing great bodily harm. If the state’s case was that there was a struggle and the defendant drove off in fear, it could be vehicular homicide, or even manslaughter. In this Jacksonville Violent Case, though, the crime has nothing to do with a vehicle. The fundamental element of the crime is the defendant is accused of using a weapon to kill another person. The car just happens to be the weapon in this case, rather than a gun or a knife. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally tried to kill the victim and it will be interesting to see if the jury looks at other charges outside of first-degree murder in this Jacksonville Murder Case. If convicted, the defendant faces mandatory life in prison. The only two possible punishments for first-degree murder in a Jacksonville Murder Case are life in prison and the death penalty. The state is not seeking the death penalty in this Jacksonville Murder Case.

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