West Palm Beach Police recently arrested Latoj Michael Banks for first-degree murder and attempted murder. The Palm Beach Post reported that Banks and two others allegedly opened fire at a family gathering. Banks was the third man arrested for the shooting. Witnesses told police that they saw the three men driving around the block before firing at houses, people, and cars. Some of the men were also seen getting out of the car and shooting.
Willie Garvin was shot and killed at the scene after trying to flee the area. Witnesses said they saw three men running after him and firing. More than 65 bullets were fired during the shooting, which also injured another person. The other victim was brought to St. Mary’s Medical Center and stabilized.
Homicide in Florida
As mentioned above, Banks was charged with first-degree murder. Florida law distinguishes between first, and second, and third degree murder.
First degree murder is a murder that is intentional. This can also be an intentional death caused by the distribution of certain illegal drugs, or that occurs during the commission of many enumerated serious and violent crimes. These crimes include sexual battery, arson, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, and child and elder abuse. First degree murder is a capital offense, which means that if the prosecutor chooses, he or she can ask for the death penalty.
Second degree murder is the killing of someone by another person who engages in imminently dangerous behavior and evinces a “depraved mind” without regard for human life. However, unlike first degree murder, second degree murder is not premeditated. Second degree murder can also be charged when someone is murdered during a number of serious and violent crimes including the ones above. Second degree murder is punishable by up to life in prison.
Third degree murder is when someone is killed and the perpetrator did not intend to cause death, and the death did not occur during the commission of a list of violent crimes very similar to the list above. Third degree murder is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison, or 25-30 years if a firearm was used.
Manslaughter, whether voluntary or involuntary, is also a felony. Voluntary manslaughter is when someone kills another person in the heat of the moment. The killing is intentional, but the person responsible was overcome with emotion and acted without thinking. Involuntary manslaughter is when there is no intention to kill someone, but the person responsible kills someone through his or her own recklessness or negligence. One common example of involuntary manslaughter is when someone is driving intoxicated and kills someone. The penalty for voluntary or involuntary manslaughter is up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Let Us Assist You with Your Case
If you are charged with homicide or another major crime, you need a knowledgeable defense attorney to defend you against the charges. Our experienced major crimes defense attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida have successfully defended major crimes including homicide.