A man shot and killed by Jacksonville police last month was one of five teens convicted in the brutal 1993 shooting of a female corrections officer. Of those five, three received life sentences, according to the Florida Times-Union. Two others testified against the group and got 15 years. One of those two was Thomas McMullen. McMullen was wanted in an apartment complex shooting last month and, after being chased by police and refusing to show his hands and surrender, was shot and killed by a veteran Jacksonville police officer. McMullen did not have a gun on him, but police found one two blocks away on the path of the chase and said he likely threw it during the foot chase, the newspaper reported. McMullen, 32, was 14 when he and four others tried to rob two women in a convertible. The driver, a Duval County corrections officer, pulled a gun and the boys ended up shooting and killing her.
The case shows the disparities in sentencing and that they aren’t always based on the propensity for someone to reoffend. McMullen was released from prison in 2008 and had been arrested three times since, though he was only convicted once, according to the newspaper. His reduced sentence, as many are, was based solely on the fact that he testified in court against the rest of the boys involved. The state rewarded him for his cooperation with the reduced sentence. Now, McMullen was very young at the time, and he and the other 14-year-old involved got the reduced sentences. The shooter was 13 and the other two involved were 16 and 18. The 1993 shooting rattled some in the community because the boys were just riding on bikes looking for people to rob; the corrections officer happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There was no connection between the killers and the victim. The state was under pressure to make arrests in Duval County and make the charges stick and the passenger in the officer’s car was also shot, though she recovered. Prosecutors must have needed more evidence, and they got it in the form of McMullen and the other 14-year-old.
Friendships have a funny way of losing their importance when people are looking at spending the rest of their lives in prison. People often turn against each other in these situations and police can often have a way of making a suspect think everyone else is pointing the finger at them and their only way out is to start talking, too. If you or a loved one is facing a charge with multiple suspects, you need an experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney who is looking out for you – and only you. Our Jacksonville violent crimes lawyer has represented hundreds of clients who’ve been implicated with friends or other people and will lay out all of your options so you or your loved one can make the best decision in the case. If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Violent Crimes Lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your criminal matter. Our Duval County Criminal Law Firm represents people charged with crimes in Duval, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns Counties.