A Nassau County jury took just four minutes to set free and man accused of setting a string of well-publicized fires in an apartment complex. The man went to trial on two counts of arson, and was found not guilty of both counts, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The defendant was charged with two counts of second-degree arson, both second-degree felonies with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison on each count. The charges were filed shortly after police went public with the news of about 10 early morning fires set at an apartment complex over a several month period, the newspaper reported. At the same time, police publicly offered an $11,000 reward for information that led to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in these Nassau County Felony Crimes, the newspaper reported.
The defendant’s ex-girlfriend called police and named the man as the one who set the fires, the newspaper reported. He was initially charged with three counts of arson, but one was dropped before a trial, as were two burglary counts. But the state chose to press forward with two Nassau County Felony arson charges. It backfired. Nassau County Criminal Defense attorneys for the defendant outlined the volatile relationship between the man and his ex-girlfriend and said she concocted the story to try to get the reward money, the newspaper reported. The jury resoundingly sided with the defendant and returned a verdict in a matter of minutes. The verdict allowed the man to walk free – he’d been in jail for 10 months waiting for his trial, the newspaper reported.
Typically, it is difficult to place too much emphasis on the length of deliberations because you never know what jurors are discussing in terms of the case. But with a four-minute verdict, it’s clear they did not have much to discuss and were in pretty clear agreement in this Nassau County Felony Crime case. And a jury coming back that quickly brings up a legitimate question of why the state decided to take the case to trial in the first place. State prosecutors have an important role in the checks and balances of the Nassau County Criminal Justice System. Police make arrests and prosecutors make the decision on which cases to file. Shouldn’t there be some look into the accuser in a Nassau County Felony Case like this to determine what hard evidence the state has against the defendant and if the accuser has any motive at all to make up the story? Our Nassau County Criminal Defense attorney knows that, in many cases, the only way to clear a defendant’s good name is to take the case to trial. Our Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate your case and help you make an informed decision on how best to proceed.
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 Nassau County Felony Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.