Jacksonville man prosecutors initially charged with murder accepts deal to plead guilty to criminal mischief charge

A man charged with felony murder after the state said his actions led to a driver running over and killing a man in a Jacksonville parking lot was credited with time already served in jail after pleading guilty to a significantly reduced charge. The defendant was charged in connection with the murder after police said he was punching and fighting a man who was trying to leave a Jacksonville night club and continued to punch the man as he tried to drive off, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The driver took off and hit and killed a person in the parking lot, the newspaper reported.

State prosecutors came out firing with the felony murder charge, along with a charge of burglary with an assault or battery. Both are first-degree felonies with maximum penalties of up to 30 years in prison, so the man was facing up to 60 years in state prison on these charges. Felony murder can be charged when a person is killed during the commission of another felony, according to state law. So, in this Jacksonville Felony Case, the state alleged the defendant’s beating of the driver led to the driver driving away recklessly to escape, which led to the driver running over the man who was killed. It seemed like a stretch at the time in 2012 when he was charged and now it appears that it was. Instead, the state agreed to file a criminal mischief charge – a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and likely to do with damage to the vehicle. The defendant, who bonded out of prison late last year once the bond was reduced to a more manageable amount, was sentenced to the more than a year he had already served in prison awaiting the trial, so his punishment in terms of jail time is complete.

Felony murder is typically used in Jacksonville Violent Crimes Cases when someone is, for example, shot during a robbery gone bad and all of the suspects in the crime – not just the shooter – are charged. The Jacksonville Murder Charge that was just dropped had too many variables and the defendant seemed too far removed from the actual death for the charge to stick. Even the driver in the case, was who legally drunk and convicted of DUI, spent less time in jail, the newspaper reported. He was sentenced to six months in jail and was released last year, the newspaper reported. In some highly publicized cases like this, unfortunately, the state comes out strong with little to back it up. By giving it a little time, sadly with someone sitting behind bars, the state in some cases realizes the overcharge and comes back with a more realistic charge. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney has over a decade of experience in Duval County and can help assess the potential outcomes in the case and allow for you to make an informed decision for you or your loved one.

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.