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Murder charge against robber for accomplice's death

An attempted robbery of a Florida gas station turned deadly when the store clerk shot and killed one of the accomplices. The surviving accomplice, a 19-year-old man, faces murder charges for the death of his 23-year-old partner even though he did not pull the trigger that killed him. Florida law holds a robber liable for the death of an accomplice during the commission or attempted commission of certain crimes no matter who actually committed the fatal act.

On the night of the attempted robbery, a homeless man witnessed the two men donning masks outside of an Exxom Mart gas station in Hollywood. The homeless man entered the store to warn the clerk who was able to arm himself in self-defense. According to investigators, the clerk killed the 23-year-old accomplice by gunshot while the 19-year-old fled from the scene, but was later captured.

In addition to the murder charge, the 19-year-old man faces two counts of accessory after the fact and one count each of aggravated assault with a firearm and attempted robbery with a firearm. If he is convicted of his partner's shooting death, the accused may be sentenced to life in prison. He remains in custody at the Broward Main Jail without bond until his next court date.

Murder charges can carry serious consequences for the accused, including a lifetime prison sentence or even the death penalty in some states. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help build a valid defense in the case of an accused whose mental state may be in question. If it can be shown that an accused had a diminished capacity at the time of the commission of the crime, it may serve as a defense to the felony and possibly result in the conviction of a lesser offense.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Suspect in foiled robbery charged in accomplice's murder," Rafael Olmeda, Feb. 19, 2013

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