Two Teens Face Second-Degree Murder Charges

September 10, 2022 Criminal Defense, Violent Crimes

Second-degree murder is a charge designated when a person dies without the initial intention of killing them, or without “premeditation.” Even if the accused individual did not plan on killing someone else, if the victim dies it can still result in very serious consequences.

There are additional charges for a murder that takes place during another crime, which is referred to as felony murder. We will give details of a recent Florida case in which two minors are now facing second-degree murder, along with information on second-degree murder and felony murder in Florida.

What was the Incident?

Davione Marquise Nelson, 16, and Spirit Iday Reath, 15, have been arrested for the death of another 15-year-old boy in Miami-Dade County.

Officers responded to a call about a shooting on July 31st, 2022, around 11:30 pm. When the police arrived at the scene near Northwest 30th Avenue and Northwest 79th street, they found the body of Frank Vacarro, 15.

According to the arrest report, Reath had previously lived with Vacarro in a foster home. Police believe that the teen’s death took place during an attempted robbery with the three teenage boys.

Detectives found and arrested both Nelson and Reath, who are now being held without bond at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami-Dade County. The two suspects are facing charges of second-degree murder for the death of Vacarro.

Second-Degree Murder in Florida

Florida Statute Section 782.04 defines second-degree murder as the “unlawful killing of another human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life.” What separates second-degree murder from first-degree murder is premeditation, meaning whether the defendant intended to kill the victim.

If there was no premeditation but the victim still died, then it is classified as second-degree murder in Florida. Getting charged with second-degree murder can result in a first-degree felony. This can result in up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.

Felony Murder in Florida

Felony murder is defined as the death of another human being during the commission or attempt of committing a certain felony. Florida Statute Section 782.04(1)(a)(2) lists the following felonies that can result in a felony murder charge if someone dies during the commission or attempted commission:

Getting accused of felony murder can result in getting charged with a capital felony. Getting convicted of felony murder can result in a first-degree murder charge. The penalties for a felony murder conviction can lead to life in prison without parole or the death penalty. Felony murder charges can be complex, and penalties can vary depending on whether the victim died at the hands of the defendant or if the defendant was a witness or accomplice to the felony murder. Working with a skilled defense attorney is the best way to strategize a strong defense against a felony murder charge.

To find out more about felony murder and its possible defenses, read our page here.

Juvenile Offenses in Florida

When someone under the age of 18 gets accused of a crime, it is typically the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice that deals with the case. When teens commit a crime, they often think it won’t leave a lasting impact since they are not yet old enough to be tried as adults.

However, a child can still be tried as an adult and even get sentenced to federal prison depending on the severity of the case. The State Attorney can decide in Florida whether the child should be tried as a juvenile or as an adult. The deciding factors are typically the age of the defendant, the crime committed, and other statutory guidelines.

This means it is extremely important even for children and teens to receive legal assistance in a criminal case. The best way to build a strong defense in a criminal case—regardless of the defendant’s age—is to work with a skilled defense attorney in your area.

To find out more about juvenile crimes and resources, read our page here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Getting accused of a violent crime in Florida comes with serious consequences. Even if the defendant is not yet legally an adult, they can still face expensive fines and potential imprisonment for violations of the law. In the case of the two teens mentioned above, they are now facing second-degree murder charges and could very likely be tried as adults.

If you or a loved one have been accused of a violent crime, make it your top priority to speak with a skilled defense attorney. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have experience representing clients of all ages for various criminal charges. Contact us at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website for a free consultation today.

 Written by Karissa Key

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