Man Facing 2nd-Degree Murder Claims Gun Went off Accidentally

A West Palm Beach man is facing charges for second-degree murder after he said a struggle with his girlfriend resulted in the accidental shooting. The man first told police that an intruder had entered the home and shot his girlfriend. However, surveillance camera footage did not support such a claim. He later told police that the gun was in the cushions of the couch and he pulled it out. His girlfriend, who was offended by the weapon, attempted to grab the gun away from him. That’s when the gun discharged and she was shot, according to the defendant.

Finding secondary evidence

At this point, the police don’t even have enough to prove manslaughter. At best, they have the man on a weapon’s charge. But prosecutors cannot prove the incident didn’t happen exactly the way the defendant said it happened. While we already know that the defendant lied, people lie to the police all the time because they don’t want them sniffing around something that they could construe as illegal. In reality, if you’re standing over a dead body with a gun in your hand there is a roughly 0% chance you’re sleeping in your own bed that night. The police aren’t going to take your word for it regardless of what you say.

Now, at this point, the police can prove that the defendant lied about an intruder entering the home and shooting the girlfriend. They know the girlfriend died, but the circumstances around her death aren’t necessarily murder-worthy. To prove even manslaughter, the police would need to establish that the defendant was culpably negligent. That means that the defendant was careless to the point of being reckless and never spared a thought for the consequences of their actions. If the defendant was waving the gun around while doing a happy dance or something, and the gun went off, then that’s manslaughter. In this case, the girlfriend allegedly grabbed the gun from the boyfriend’s hand and that’s when it went off. While police likely believe the defendant is lying again, they will need to prove otherwise. How can they do that?

It would be a “fit of rage” narrative in which the boyfriend became irate with the girlfriend, pulled a gun, and fired it without considering the consequences. That’s still second-degree murder. Typically, you would hear screaming, shouting, and other indicators of an individual who is in distress or an individual who is extremely angry. It is unclear whether police have that corroborating evidence. A history of abuse in the relationship would also strongly indicate malice. At this point, it’s unclear whether the police have anything to prove culpable negligence let alone malice.

Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney

The Skier Law Firm, P.A. represents the interests of those charged with serious crimes. Call our West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys today to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.


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