Dedrick Williams, the 22-year-old man suspected for the murder of rapper XXXTentacion, is being held without bond on a first-degree murder charge. Williams was brought in by the Broward County Sheriff’s office on the 20th of June.
Williams is charged with first-degree murder without premeditation.
The rapper was said to be ambushed by two suspects and shot. He was transported to a local hospital but died on the scene.
What is First-Degree Murder without Premeditation?
Little is known about the suspect, other than the fact that he shot and killed a famous rapper. Thus, his motives for the apparent homicide are unclear. Nonetheless, Florida can charge a suspect with first-degree murder when a victim dies in the commission of a felony.
It is believed that Williams was attempting to rob XXXTentacion at the time of the ambush. Since armed robbery is a felony under Florida law, the suspect can be charged with first-degree murder without premeditation.
Of course, as more information is revealed about the case, it is likely that the charges will be amended.
Understanding Felony Murder
Felony murder is a controversial law adopted by some states that can hold victims accountable for first-degree murder even if they did not commit a premeditated homicide. In fact, a suspect can be charged with felony murder even when they did not harm anyone at all.
A famous example of this is when young men escaping police on foot are shot and killed by the police officer. Every young man in the group is then charged with the slain man’s murder. This remains true even though it was the police officer who pulled the trigger.
In other instances, felony murder makes sense. For instance, if Williams actually did approach XXXTentacion for the purpose of robbing him and pulled the trigger that ultimately ended his life, then it makes sense to charge him with first-degree murder even though the act was not necessarily premeditated in any way.
Understanding Murder One
First-degree murder, known colloquially as “murder one”, involves what the law calls “malice aforethought.” In other words, there must be some malicious intention prior to the homicide. First-degree murder presupposes the legal principle of mens rea, meaning “guilty mind”.
In this case, the defendant must be shown to have an evil disposition or a callous indifference to the life of the other person. While laws differ from one state to the next, Florida’s laws tend toward the more severe. In other words, first-degree murder need not be premeditated. In fact, a defendant need not, actually, murder anyone in order to be charged with it.
Understanding Murder Two
Second-degree murder is often considered a lesser charge than murder one. It is presupposed that there was no other felony being committed at the time since that would be felony murder and could be charged as first-degree murder.
For a prosecutor to successfully convict someone of second-degree murder they need to show that the defendant had a “depraved mind”. Premeditation is not required to prove murder two.
Have You Been Charged with a Crime?
If you’ve been accused of a crime, you have a Constitutional right to a fair trial. The West Palm Beach attorneys of Skier Law Firm, P.A help those accused of crimes get an honest chance to defend themselves against their accusers. We’ve handled high-profile murder cases as well as routine drunk driving cases. Give us a call at (561) 220-3355 or contact us online, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.