Articles Posted in Homicide

The case is packed with so many odd twists and turns, it sounds like some kind of made-for-television movie. And strangely, that’s what the defendant says she was trying to do: Act the part of the villain so she could score a reality television show. The alleged victim was even in on it, she said.lipstick

But the Boynton Beach police who arrested her for allegedly paying a hit man to kill her now-ex husband say the plan was real. Meanwhile, the police were filming a “COPS” episode of the whole investigation, and even staged a fake murder scene as part of the case.

Dalia Dippolito was charged and later convicted of solicitation to commit first-degree murder with a firearm and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Then the conviction was overturned two years ago based on improper jury selection. Now, Dippolito’s defense lawyers are arguing the charges should be dropped, presenting testimony from her one-time friend-turned-police-informant Mohamed Shihadeh says he was pressured by police to set up Dippolito.  Continue reading

A single shove outside a Florida tire shop ended one man’s life and forever altered another.
Casey Fletcher, 28, is facing a charge of manslaughter, following an altercation outside the store on Prospect Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The fact pattern in this case has been described as “unique” for the fact defendant did not intend to cause harm to the alleged victim. Rather, he was coming to the aid of his girlfriend, and he didn’t try to use or even have possession of a weapon.

However, that single push resulted in the 66-year-old falling on the concrete, striking his head hard on the ground. His brain injuries were serious. His brother recently spoke with a reporter about the decision to take him off life support. He described his “shock” and called the whole incident “a shame.”
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For the death of his 5-month-old son as a result of violent shaking, a Lake Worth man will serve five years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Initially, defendant had been charged with first-degree murder and faced up to 30 years in prison. Defendant’s wife, the child’s mother, supported defendant and the two even went on to have another child, a daughter, after the death of their son.

This may have prompted prosecutors to agree to a plea deal with much lesser prison time than what he could have served. As part of the deal, prosecutors dropped the first-degree murder charge and child abuse charge in exchange for a guilty plea to manslaughter. Even that charge carries a possible prison sentence of up to 15 years. That he had no prior criminal record, authorities say, also factored into the agreement for him to serve less time.
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A man convicted of murder will soon be released after the Florida Supreme Court ordered the lower court to enter acquittal, upon finding DNA evidence of defendant’s DNA under victim’s fingernails was not enough proof of guilt.
The court ruled the state had not met its burden of proof in this capital case, which required the state to present competent, substantial evidence.

In Hodgkins v. State, defendant was on death row when justices with the Florida Supreme Court reviewed the case on appeal.
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Several sociologists, psychiatrists and law school professors have in recent years sought to answer the question of whether a defendant’s perceived matters in criminal cases.

For example, the “Capital Jury Project in South Carolina,” by researchers of law at Cornell University delved into the issue of remorse in capital murder cases: The role it plays and how jurors perceive a defendant as remorseful. They studied more than 150 juries in that state, and concluded a defendant’s remorse or lack thereof did matter in capital case sentencing, though not with every defendant. When crimes were perceived as especially vicious, remorse didn’t tend to matter.

More recently, there was the analysis published in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, which explored the fact that defendant remorse is generally accepted as a mitigating factor in capital murder sentencing in the legal system and concluded the ways in which jurors determine whether defendants are genuinely remorseful.
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A Florida appeals court has applied the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law to throw out second-degree murder charges against a man who shot two other men outside an Opa-locka Chili’s in 2008.hand-cuffs-12754-m.jpg

The case exposes the trouble state judges are having in applying the controversial law, and emphasizes the need for experienced representation whenever a defendant claims that his use of deadly force was justified.

Although most people understand they have they have a right to defend themselves against a violent attack, our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer understands what it takes to mount a defense in a Stand Your Ground case.

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A Fort Lauderdale jury will hear very different sides in the trial of a teen accused of attempted second-degree murder of another teen – one who used to be his friend. fireflames.jpg

Fort Lauderdale juvenile defense lawyers know that when it comes to alleged crimes involving teens, a skilled attorney won’t count on a defendant’s baby face being enough to sway a judge or jury.

Particularly when a juvenile is being tried as an adult – which they overwhelmingly are for crimes like homicide and sex assault – securing a defense attorney with experience becomes critical.

This case involves three teens accused of setting a fourth on fire, causing him to suffer near-fatal burns. He ultimately survived.

The case drew worldwide attention and great sympathy for the alleged victim.

The teens were all in middle school when the alleged crime occurred, but they all faced very adult sentences.

A now-17-year-old pleaded guilty and was given eight years in prison followed by 21 years of probation. A now-18-year-old was given an 11 year prison sentence followed by one year of house arrest and 18 years of probation. Those two have both already pleaded guilty.

The third defendant in the case has decided to go to trial. He could be sentenced to as much as 30 years behind bars if convicted on the charge of attempted second-degree murder, defined in FL Statute 782.04. The main difference between a first-degree charge and a second-degree charge is premeditation. In this case, prosecutors aren’t alleging that the boys necessarily intended to kill their former friend. But it is clear, they say, that the teens intended to harm him.

Prosecutors say that the teen who is currently on trial was angry with the alleged victim over a $40 video game for which the victim had never paid him. Plus, the alleged victim’s parents had one of the suspects arrested several weeks earlier for trying to steal a bicycle from their porch.

In an effort to exact revenge, prosecutors say the teen on trial encouraged one of the others to dump rubbing alcohol on the victim. Then, the other boy light a match and threw it on the victim.

The alleged victim had burns covering about 65 percent of his body, and is said to have only survived because he jumped into a nearby pool. He was reportedly flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where he then underwent a serious of surgeries over the course of five months.

The defense doesn’t argue that the victim was seriously hurt. However, the series of events that led to that point, they contend, were very different than what the prosecutor is alleging.

They indicate there was no premeditation, no plan. It was a prank – albeit a stupid one – and they never expected that the victim would be burned, let alone seriously hurt.

What’s more, the defendant who is on trial now never actually touched the victim himself.

Prosecutors say the fact that he orchestrated it is enough to secure a conviction.

What is not in question is that this teen will require an aggressive and skilled lawyer to mount a strong defense in the weight of such evidence.
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Murders at nightclubs in South Florida are becoming more commonplace, according to a new report by the Palm Beach Post.


Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys know that when it comes to prosecuting someone for a murder charge in South Florida, a case must be airtight. Murder is the most serious crime on the books, and punishment can be severe – up to and including the death penalty in Florida.

But when a shooting or stabbing or some other assault is alleged to have occurred at a night club, there are specific challenges, particularly with regard to witnesses.

The newspaper reports that in 2011, there were at least nine shootings inside South Florida nightclubs, more than double that of 2010. Within the past 10 years, 20 people have been killed in nightclubs. Within that decade, Broward had the most gun deaths – 13, including one that was a suicide. Another 42 people were hurt by stray bullets in the last 10 years, some of those with injuries that were life-threatening, though they ultimately survived.

With regard to knife injuries, five people were stabbed to death in South Florida nightclubs over the last 10 years. Four of those instances happened in Broward and one in Palm Beach County. One instance last year involved a man who officers said was so livid over a bar tab that he stabbed one man to death and cut four others at Fishtales in Fort Lauderdale.

Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti was quoted as saying that nightclub fatalities are on the rise. Reports indicate that all of the alleged shooters and most of the alleged victims were males, with the exception of one 17-year-old girl who was shot when a group of men fired into a crowd at a West Palm Beach bar.

One would think that when a crime is alleged to have occurred amid a crowd of people, the perpetrator would be easy to identify. But when a nightclub is the crime scene, Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys know that witness accuracy may be called into question.

First, you have an atmosphere that is dark and loud. The strobe lights are flashing and the bass is pumping hard, drowning out much of the conversation. This is often why people flock to the club – but it is also going to impact the ability of any potential witnesses to accurately recount how events transpired. Patrons may not have clearly seen or heard how a situation unfolded. This is often the case with assault charges in Fort Lauderdale and other more common nightclub crimes.

Also, night club owners often jam-pack their venues for an optimum nightly payout. What that means, though, is that even if someone is standing or dancing just a few feet away, they may not actually see or hear what is going on a few steps behind them.

Another important factor to consider is whether any potential witnesses have been drinking. Alcohol can fog a person’s recollection, and make events seem fuzzy or unclear. It’s important for law enforcement to accurately record how much witnesses had been drinking at the time they provided their statements.

Each element must be carefully weighed by a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney who is prepared to fight for you.
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jimmy%20ho.jpg Former Florida Atlantic University Police Officer Jimmy Ho has been arrested in connection to the murder of a 29 year old Boyton Beach woman. Sheri Carter was pronounced dead at the Delray Beach Medical Center. According to doctors at the hospital, Sheri Carter died from injuries “directly related to being shot.” Neighbors of Sheri Carter say that she worked for a South Florida escort agency.
Florida Atlantic University had placed Ho on administrative leave, however Officer Ho quit shortly after being placed on leave by the University. It is important to note that Florida Atlantic University Police Officer Jimmy Ho was fired from the Broward Sheriff’s Office for violating “moral character standards” prior to being hired by FAU. Furthermore, Ho was involved in a fatal collision killing a 74 year old Holocaust survivor while employed with the Lauderhill Police Department.
According to investigators, Sheri Carter sent a text message to her boyfriend stating that she was with a client that was “acting wierd and scary.” Investigators have checked cell phone records and have determined that Jimmy Ho had contacted Carter prior to sending the text message to her boyfriend.
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Broward County Judge John “Jay” Hurley ruled that Ryan LeVin, 35, should be held on an out of state warrant from Illinois. Parole officials in Illinois allege that LeVin failed to report his out of state travel when he arrived in Florida to be arrested on two charges of vehicular homicide by Broward County Law Enforcement.

Although LeVin posted his $21,000.00 bond set for the Florida charges, Judge Hurley ruled that Florida law dictates that LeVin should be held in Florida until the resolution of his Broward County case. Only the governor can intervene.

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