A man wielding a Jason (from Friday the 13th) mask and a gun is believed to have shot and killed a woman outside of a West Palm Beach bar, according to authorities. Among the evidence against the man is a surveillance video showing a hockey-mask-wearing man in the parking lot. Police recovered the man’s vehicle with a hockey mask, a gun, and a thumbprint. The police indicated that cellphone records also tie the man to the scene of the crime.
Surveillance video shows a man wearing a hockey mask attempting to open a woman’s car door. After failing several times, he fired a single shot into the vehicle, killing the woman. Police say that a thumbprint taken from the car door matches the thumbprint of the individual they have in custody. It is unclear what connection the woman had to the assailant, but police believe she was being targeted for some reason. Her family has requested privacy during this time, so that information may not be forthcoming.
Dead to rights?
It looks pretty bad on paper. You have a thumbprint on the car matching the suspect’s, a gun that can be tied to the bullet that killed the victim, and a hockey mask that was caught on camera during the attack. Ballistics have already tied the bullet to the gun found in the defendant’s trunk. In other words, the police have provided prosecutors with enough evidence to get a conviction in front of any jury. However, there is still one defense left to those who are “dead to rights”. They can claim that the police placed the evidence in the trunk of their car in an effort to frame the defendant.
Do police really frame defendants?
Police really do frame defendants, but often it’s for personal gain. As an example, a police officer can be charged under the laws of any state for committing crimes they hold the American public accountable for. In these cases, so-called “dirty” cops will often frame defendants to give themselves probable cause to initiate an arrest. However, they seldom work their way back from murder to frame a random suspect—unless they are the ones who committed the crime.
What a jury will need is a good reason why the police wanted to frame the individual. Even in a highly-publicized case like Steven Avery, the prosecution was able to frame the entire thing as a choice between believing police officers or the defendant. The jury chose to believe police officers. While choosing to believe police officers is not the standard of evidence that is employed in the majority of criminal trials, it works because people are afraid. They need to believe that police officer have their best interests at heart and that the system, as a whole works. If police officers are framing suspects for murder, then the system doesn’t work, cannot be trusted, and people are left to feel unsafe.
That being said, even in a case like Steven Avery’s, the defense was not able to successfully argue that he was framed ever after he was exonerated in another murder case in which he was apparently framed. So chances are bad that a framing defense will work for this defendant.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
The West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. represents the interests of defendants in both federal and state prosecutions. Call today to schedule an appointment and discuss your options in more detail.