Thirty-eight-year-old Jermaine Ward has been arrested and is being held without bail after police say he shot another man in the stomach. Ward is also facing charges of being a felon in possession of a weapon.
The shooting occurred early on September 7. The victim managed to call Palm Beach police after he’d been shot and that he was being driven to a hospital. A few days later, the police interviewed the man at the hospital.
He told them that he and Ward were out that night when Ward shot him for no apparent reason. The two were friends after spending time together in the county jail.
Ward’s most recent conviction is drug-related.
Attempted First-Degree Murder
In the State of Florida, the crime of attempted first-degree murder carries the same punishment as a successful first-degree murder. The law doesn’t distinguish between trying to kill someone unsuccessfully and trying to kill someone successfully. For that reason, a charge of attempted first-degree murder can result in a capital sentence or the death penalty. More likely, Ward is facing life behind bars.
However, the prosecutor must be able to prove what the defendant intended to do, and I suspect that won’t be as easy as it might sound. First of all, not even the victim/complainant knows why Jerome Ward fired his gun at him. To convict a defendant on a first-degree attempted murder charge, the prosecutor needs to know why the crime happened. Then the prosecutor can argue as to why the crime was premeditated and what the defendant hoped to gain from the murder.
None of the major elements of attempted first-degree murder are apparent from the story as told in the paper. The prosecutor needs to prove that the defendant planned out the attack and it went beyond merely thinking about it. They must also show that there was a thought process behind the entire event. In other words, it was a setup.
So how does the prosecution prove this?
Well, they will need to provide a convincing theory to the jury that explains why Ward agreed to hang out with the victim the night of the shooting. For example, perhaps Ward thought that the victim had a decent amount of cash on him. He could shoot the victim, take his money, and then go on a shopping spree.
The prosecution could prevent evidence that the victim’s wallet was missing and then transaction reports from Macy’s after the perpetrator had his money. But failing that, the stakes go down a lot.
If it isn’t attempted first-degree murder, it could still be attempted second-degree murder. Since a firearm was discharged, Ward would be facing a mandatory 25 years plus whatever additional penalty is added for possessing the gun. However, the prosecution still needs to prove that Ward intended to kill.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a serious crime, call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today. We can begin preparing your defense immediately.