Acquitted for One Crime, Arrested for Another – Tampa Rapper Charged with Murder

February 20, 2023 Criminal Defense, Violent Crimes

Just because a defendant gets acquitted of one criminal offense does not mean they cannot be prosecuted for another alleged crime. In a recent case in Tampa, a Florida-based rapper had been acquitted for less than two weeks before getting arrested for an additional murder.

This article will provide the case details, along with information on recidivism in Florida, and the relative criminal charges.

What was the Incident?

Billy Adams, also known as rapper Ace NH, had just been acquitted of a 2020 double murder charge when he was arrested again for the death of his pregnant girlfriend. Several individuals have called the case “unimaginable.”

According to the report, Adams shot and killed two men in a Lutz recording studio after claiming the shooting was in “self-defense.” Detectives believed the shooting to be gang-related, as Adam’s identified himself as a member of the “Crips” gang.

Only 13 days after his acquittal, Adams and his 22-year-old girlfriend, Alana Sims, were supposed to be heading to a party to celebrate the rapper’s acquittal. However, several hours after the two met in Tampa on February 8th, 2023, Sims was found by witnesses lying in a pool of blood.

Not only did Sims die from her injuries, but she was also pregnant at the time of her death. Police also found Sims’ 18-month-old son sleeping inside her car. The young boy was unharmed and has been placed in the care of a relative.

According to court records, Adams told detectives that he had been out with his friends the night of Sims’ death, and provided them with “video proof” from his phone. However, upon further inspection, the video was recorded a week prior to the shooting. Once again Adams tried to use self-defense as the reason for the shooting.

After being arrested from his parent’s home in Tampa, Adams confessed to killing Sims. Police believe that Sims was pregnant with the defendant’s child and that he didn’t want Sims or the child in his life. Adams has since been charged with first-degree murder and the killing of an unborn child by injury to the mother.

“Mere days after he was acquitted of a separate crime, our homicide suspect did the unthinkable when he killed an innocent woman and her unborn child,” said Interim Chief Lee Bercaw. “I hope this arrest brings some closure to the victim’s family who is mourning the loss of two loved ones. We are working with the State Attorney’s Office to ensure the suspect is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”  

Acquittal Process in Florida

A person can be acquitted of a criminal offense in Florida if they are found not guilty by the jury, or if the judge dismisses the case. An acquittal is an official decision in a court of law that the defendant is not guilty of their accused crime. The ways in which a person can be acquitted of a crime are as follow:

  • Jury Acquittal – During a criminal trial, the Prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It is the jury’s responsibility to decide whether the burden of proof has been met. If not, the jury can return with a verdict of not guilty, which results in the defendant’s acquittal.
  • Directed Verdict – If the State fails to present sufficient evidence to support the defendant’s guilt, the defense team may request a direct verdict of acquittal. The judge must then grant the motion, and if they do, then the defendant is acquitted of the charges against them. A motion for a directed verdict is made before the case goes to a jury. It is normally made after the State rests its case and once again after the Defense rests as well.
  • Plea Bargain – In certain cases, the State may offer the defendant a plea bargain. A plea bargain is a negotiated agreement between the defendant and the State during a criminal case. By agreeing to the plea, the defendant states that they are guilty of the crime but shall receive a lesser charge or reduced sentence in doing so. When a defendant accepts a plea bargain, it means they waive their right to a trial by admitting their guilt.
  • Case Dismissal – The judge has the power to dismiss a criminal case for multiple reasons. Reasons for dismissing a case include a lack of evidence, misconduct by law enforcement, or violations of the defendant’s rights. If the case is dismissed by the judge, then there is no possibility of an acquittal. This is because a Dismissal means that the issue of guilt was never decided. However, a dismissal can be done with or without prejudice. If a case is dismissed with Prejudice, then the prosecutor is barred from refiling the charges in the future.

Important: When a defendant is acquitted of a criminal offense, it does not necessarily equate to innocence. Instead, getting acquitted simply means that the prosecution did not prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, the defendant cannot be retried for the same offense after being acquitted.

By working with a skilled defense attorney in your area, you have a better chance of determining if your charges can be dismissed or acquitted.

Issues with Recidivism in Florida

Recidivism is defined as a tendency to relapse into a previous behavior or condition. In relation to criminal law, recidivism is the condition of being convicted of a crime, serving the assigned sentence for said crime, and then committing another crime which results in a new conviction and sentence.

According to a report by the Florida Sheriff’s Association Research Institute, 83% of prisoners released from 30 state prisons were arrested for a new crime at least once during the first nine years following their release.

Out of 401,288 convicted persons in Florida State prisons who were released in 2005 were rearrested for nearly 2 million crimes within 9 years. That makes an average of five arrests per released person. In addition, the recidivism rate in Florida is around 25% within three years of being released from prison. Within five years of release, the percentage goes up to 35%.

Florida’s Prisoner Release Reoffender Law

In 1997, Florida Legislature passed Florida’s Prisoner Release Reoffender law. The law was created to address habitual, repeat offenders. Codified under Florida Statute Section 775.082, a person who has been convicted of a felony offense within three years of being released from prison may be qualified as a “prison releasee reoffender” (“PRR”).

If the person is considered a PRR and they are charged with a subsequent offense, the judge may impose the harshest of penalties, or the maximum sentence for the alleged criminal offense.

Under Florida Statute Section 775.082(9)(a)(1), a PRR is any defendant who commits, or attempts to commit any of the following subsequent criminal offenses after their release:

In addition, a person convicted of the above offenses as a PRR shall only be released from prison after their full sentence has been served. If convicted, the person will not be eligible for parole, controlled release, or early release of any kind.

Killing of an Unborn Child by Injury to the Mother

If a criminal offense leads to the death of another person, the person responsible can face serious consequences. If the deceased person was a pregnant woman, there are additional charges that can be brought on. This is regardless of whether the defendant was aware of the woman’s pregnancy or not.

Florida Statute Section 782.09 explains that the unlawful killing of an unborn child by the injury to the mother, which would be murder if it resulted in the death of such mother, shall be deemed murder in the same degree as that which would have been committed against the mother.

If the unlawful killing to the unborn child was by injury to the mother which is considered manslaughter, it shall result in an additional manslaughter charge. Manslaughter is considered a second-degree felony in Florida. The penalties for a second-degree felony include up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison. It would also be considered a second-degree felony if the killing was murder in the third degree if it resulted in the mother’s death.

If the unlawful killing to the unborn child was by injury to the mother which is considered murder in the second-degree, it shall then result in an additional second-degree murder charge. Second-degree murder is a first-degree felony in Florida. The penalties for a first-degree felony include up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.

If the unlawful killing to the unborn child was by injury to the mother which is considered murder in the first-degree which constitutes as a capital felony, it shall then result in an additional first-degree murder charge. In Florida, first-degree murder is considered a capital felony. The penalty for a capital felony offense is either life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

In Florida, violent criminal offenses have strict penalties if the defendant is found guilty. After the convicted person has been released from prison or their detained state, Florida law enforcement is always wary of recidivism. If the released person is accused and convicted of another crime, they can face the harshest penalties for such an offense. If you or someone you love has been accused of a crime in Florida, it is in your best interest to seek out a Tallahassee defense attorney in your area.

Don Pumphrey has years of experience representing Florida citizens of various criminal offenses. His team of attorneys will provide outstanding legal service by strategizing a strong defense for your case, protecting your rights, and helping you navigate the ins and outs of the legal world. For a free consultation, contact Pumphrey Law Firm at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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