Tampa Woman Guns Down Teen who Carjacked her Son, Raising Stand Your Ground and Felony Murder Issues

In a recent Tampa gun crime case, a woman and her son met who they thought were potential buyers of their vehicle in a Tampa-area parking lot. The plan was to meet in person and negotiate the car transaction with the two prospective buyers, two teenagers. When everyone arrived at the designated location, the teens pulled firearms and demanded that her son give up the keys to the vehicle. The mother gave up the keys, but as they were driving away, she fired a shot that hit one of the teenagers. He was later pronounced dead from the gunshot wound at the hospital.The surviving teen is being charged with second-degree murder and armed robbery. Under Florida felony murder laws, the alleged carjacker, as a co-conspirator, can be charged under the felony murder statute, if he participated in a felony and another person died in the commission of the felony.

Under these circumstances, the prosecution might allege that the driver of the vehicle was in the act of committing armed robbery when he was driving away and his co-conspirator was killed. The felony murder statute applies when another “human being is killed” and does not require that the person who died not be a co-conspirator.

As a separate matter, the District Attorney’s Office has not brought charges against the mother for shooting and killing one of the teens who carjacked her son. Different authorities interviewed for the news report diverged on whether Florida’s “stand your ground” law would apply to her actions. The law has three principal elements:  (i) the force used was done to prevent grievous physical harm, (ii) the person using such force was legally there, (iii) and the person using such force was not engaged in illegal activity. Commentators noted that there is a timing issue facing the woman who fired the shot. The issue of whether the shot was fired to prevent harm, as they drove away, can be argued by both sides. If charges are brought against the mother, whether there was an immediate threat to her safety could be the crux upon which the case is decided.

Even if you have not been arrested, charges can still be filed against you at a later time. If you retain an attorney early in the process, your attorney can help guide you through the investigation and the court’s procedures. This is why it’s important to hire an experienced attorney if you are being questioned about a gun crime or another offense. Tampa attorney Will Hanlon has represented those charged with crimes for over two decades. Call Hanlon Law at at 813-228-7095 or use our online form to set up your appointment as soon as possible.

More Blog Posts:

Florida Appeals Court Affirms Aggravated Battery Conviction but Overturns Conspiracy to Deliver Cannabis Conviction, Tampa Criminal Lawyer Blog, October 10, 2017

New Stand-Your-Ground Law at Issue in Tampa Murder Trial, Tampa Criminal Lawyer Blog, September 7, 2017

Florida Trial Court Committed a Reversible Error By Not Properly Instructing Jury as to Self-Defense Claim, Tampa Criminal Lawyer Blog,