A West Palm Beach teen has been arrested following an incident that left one woman dead. Eighteen-year-old Ezequiel Nunez will face charges of murder, robbery with a firearm, aggravated assault, and tampering with evidence.
The clerk at the gas station told police about the incident. She said a man pointed a gun at her as she opened a second cash register when she heard gunshots. She dropped to the floor as the man escaped the liquor store and called police. Moments later, she realized that there was a woman who’d been shot on the floor. That woman was 36-year-old Jacqueline Rae Barthelme. The gas station clerk also said that there was another man holding the door, but police have not arrested anyone else in conjunction with this incident.
Another Employee Says Two Individuals Were Involved
A second employee, who was outside the gas station at the time of the shooting, said he saw two men escaping on foot into the Cabana Colony neighborhood. A neighbor then reported seeing two men run into a residence two streets north of the gas station. SWAT and helicopters were called to the scene and were able to find a man throwing a handgun onto the roof of a home. Police say that the bullets inside the 9mm Glock matched shell casings found at the scene.
Police eventually caught up with Nunez when they spotted him crawling under a boat. Nunez was taken to the hospital for wounds inflicted by police dogs. Police asked the 18-year-old to come out, but he said he was afraid because of all the police shootings in the country. Nunez told police he was never at the gas station and didn’t know anything about the shooting. The gas station employee, however, identified Nunez as the gunman during the robbery.
A second assailant has not been found.
Tallying Up the Charges
We don’t really have to do too much tallying here. If someone is shot and killed during an armed robbery attempt, the general inclination of the state is to sentence a defendant to life in prison. Will the law be as harsh on an 18-year-old as they would be on someone older? Maybe or maybe not. The law is under no obligation to structure sentences in terms of the age of the defendant but likely would not impose a capital sentence (which is possible) in this case.
Even robbery with a firearm can be enough reason to sentence someone to life in prison and carries a mandatory ten-year sentence. Even if the defendant did not go into the store with the intent to murder anyone, the law punishes this crime under Florida’s felony murder rule. Felony murder is treated as first-degree murder under the law.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re facing felony charges, then you will require the aid of skilled West Palm Beach criminal attorneys. Call The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to learn more about how we can help.