A dispute over the cause of death resulted in a Bessemer murder trial to result in a hung jury, with the defendant facing the possibility of a retrial or maybe a plea deal on a lesser charge.
Our Birmingham criminal defense attorneys view this case as a perfect example for how every single detail in a murder case matters. Juries don’t take murder convictions lightly. They pay attention. That’s why it pays for you to invest in a good defense. If you’re facing murder charges, you truly can’t afford not to do so.
Prosecutors obviously failed to prove their case in this situation, but it should also be considered a success of the defense that what might otherwise have been an open-and-shut domestic violence homicide was given closer consideration. Ultimately, jurors weren’t able to unanimously buy the version of events as presented by the state.
The Bureau of Justice and Crime Statistics reports that intimate partner violence is responsible for 30 percent of all homicides of women and 5 percent of all homicides of men.
Interestingly in this case, the defense did not dispute some of the key facts of the prosecution’s case. Those were:
- The pair had once dated, but were technically no longer;
- One night in July 2008, a fight broke out between the two around 2 a.m.;
- The woman picked up a gun and shot the man.
This would seem like a simple open-and-shut case.
But first of all, it’s important to note the arrest of the man earlier that year on a charge of third-degree domestic violence against the woman. He reportedly hit her in the mouth. This shows that the woman had a reason to fear him and his ability and desire to harm her.
What’s more, as a result of that arrest, a no contact order had been established. That meant that on the night in question, the defendant was breaking the law by being at the woman’s home – regardless of whether she had consented to have him there.
But all of this wasn’t even the biggest issue with the case, as his presence alone would not have necessarily given the woman license to shoot him.
The real kicker was that the man didn’t die right away.
He was initially transported to the emergency room with a serious gunshot wound. But he knew that once he recovered, he would be arrested for violating that no contact order. So rather than stay and receive treatment, he fled the hospital in order to avoid arrest.
In fact, for two months, he received no treatment. At that time, he then sought the aid of a primary car doctor. He was ordered to undergo a physical therapy regiment. He didn’t follow it.
But that wasn’t his only health issue. He suffered from ulcers. He was also significantly malnourished. And, he was suffering from congestive heart failure. All of this, the defense team alleges, was what led to his death – 10 months after the shooting.
Still, a grand jury had indicted the ex-girlfriend on a charge of murder after he passed away.
Now that the case has ended in a mistrial, her attorneys are requesting that the original indictment be dismissed so the case is not retried. A decision by the judge has yet to be made.