A jury has found Jonathan Peden guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Holly Richardson in West Palm Beach. What’s interesting about this case is that Peden never fired the weapon that killed Holly Richardson. He did, however, fire the weapon that was used in her death.
The prosecution successfully argued that Peden was a “principal” to the crime for supplying the gun that was used in the murder. This begs a lot of questions, particularly now in the wake of several mass shootings where gun distributors and manufacturers cannot be held liable by statute for the manner in which their guns are used. Peden, however, can. So here, we’ll take a look at the law that allows someone who illegally sells a gun on the street to be convicted of a murder they did not commit.
Principal in the First Degree
Jonathan Peden, for the purposes of this trial, was considered a principal in the first degree. The Florida Statute that allows him to be tried for the slaying of a victim is 777.011. Unlike others who would be considered accessories before or after the fact, a principal can be charged with the same crime that someone else committed. In this case, Peden supplied the weapon used to kill Holly Richardson, so he has been charged with first-degree murder which generally requires a life sentence.
Prosecutors said that Peden supplied the gun that was going to be used in a robbery and that he knew that someone could have been injured or killed by that weapon.
Drug Deal Gone Wrong
According to accounts that the prosecutors used in court to convict Peden, Holly Richardson was attempting to buy drugs that evening when she ran across a man who was attempting to rob the drug dealer. Peden, who was arrested for an unrelated trespassing charge, told police about the shooting of Helen Richardson. He also told them that he supplied the gun that was used in the attack. So far, no one else has been charged with Richardson’s murder.
The jury then asked about the state of the investigation to which prosecutors answered that the case was still open.
Peden Gives Police All the Evidence They Need to Hang Him With
This is a very sad case for all involved, even for Jonathan Peden. Peden appears to have tried to do the right thing by going to the police and telling them that a crime had been committed. For doing so, he was tried and convicted of murder. It remains unclear what, if any, information Peden supplied to police concerning the actual murderer and whether or not that would have bought him a reduced sentence. While Peden is certainly guilty of several weapons charges, the prosecution successfully pinned a murder on him. One that he didn’t commit.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
When the police say that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, you should take that literally. Instead of talking to them, talk to the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. and don’t let them pin a murder on you that you didn’t commit.