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Florida Man Accused Of Murdering, Biting Face Of South Florida Victim

South Florida is a beautiful place and it conjures images of glamorous beach strips and crystal clear waters. There is another side, however, that makes the news for tragic reasons. In 2012, Rudy Eugene was found in a disturbing act of violence, biting a homeless man’s face on the MacArthur Causeway. Police officers shot Mr. Eugene and he did not survive long enough to face any charges.

In an eerily similar situation, 19-year-old Austin Harrouff recently stabbed a married couple in their South Florida Home. Both husband and wife died in the attack and again, the accused was found biting the victim’s face. Mr. Harrouff survived and is expected to be charged with two accounts of first-degree murder as well as aggravated battery.

Murder Charges Require Strong Defenses

Homicide is the taking of another human’s life and such an act is severely punishable Homicide is further distinguished as either murder or manslaughter. Murder is more serious and requires intent whereas manslaughter may arise from an accident where the accused acted wrongfully or recklessly but did not have any intent to kill another person.

A first degree murder charge in the state of Florida requires that the defendant premeditated the killing. Second degree murder is a lesser offense and does not require premeditation, but rather a depraved mind acting dangerously and in disregard of human life. Third degree murder charges may result when the accused causes a death without intending to do so and without acting with a depraved mind, but while engaged in certain felony offenses.

Punishment for murder in the state of Florida is as follows:

  • First Degree Murder: life imprisonment or death penalty
  • Second Degree Murder: 10 years to life in prison
  • Third Degree Murder: up to 15 years in prison, or up to 30 years if a firearm is used

The penalties for murder are undoubtedly serious, and the state’s prosecution will do everything they can to see that you are punished to the fullest extent of the law. There are scenarios, however, where you can assert defenses to murder that will drastically reduce your punishment if argued by an experienced criminal defense attorney.

If you are charged with murder in Florida, you can either assert that you did not kill the victim, or that you did kill the victim, but that you should not be charged with murder because your actions do not fit the definition of the murder statute. For example, in the incidents first discussed above, there is a serious question as to whether or not the accused were sane at the time of the criminal act. If they were not sane, then they likely lacked the intent required to commit first degree murder. Using several legal tests, the defendant must prove by clear and convincing evidence that they were legally insane at the time the criminal act was committed.

Insanity Defenses Are Complicated But Crucial

An insanity defense is a difficult defense to prove, but if applicable, can mean the difference between life and death for an individual who truly did not understand the nature of his or her acts. If you or a loved one has been charged with murder in South Florida, you must seek legal defense. Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., utilizes state of the art technology along with industry experts to develop the strongest defenses available in murder charges. Contact our offices today for a consultation; we are here to help.

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