A murder accusation can change one's life forever. A murder conviction can be even more devastating.
A Florida man recently entered a plea of "not guilty" after being charged with second-degree murder, according to WESH.com Orlando. Officials claim the man is guilty of murdering his wife, after they had an altercation regarding a possible divorce. The wife and their two children are missing, and police have announced that all three are presumed dead. The man has also been charged for the death of the two children.
The report indicates that the allegedly deceased woman's mother spoke with the man, who told her that "what happened was 'an accident'" and has not answered any further questions regarding the bodies of the missing wife and kids. An extensive search has taken place in the Volusia County, Florida, region, and no evidence of the bodies has been found. The man's attorney told the press that he feels "It's possible to prosecute someone [for homicide] without a physical body of a victim. It's very rare, but it has been done."
While facing a conviction for the murder of your wife is undoubtedly difficult to handle, the stress has apparently proved to be too much for the Florida man. The press has indicated that the man allegedly admitted to killing his wife, and also attempted to commit suicide while in jail on charges relating to a domestic dispute, which were filed just before his plea was entered in the murder case.
Convictions of murder without a recovered body
Results of cases involving murder charges where the victim's body was not recovered vary greatly. In 2010, a Florida District Court of Appeals heard the case ofRamsammy v. State, the court held that "where a conviction is based wholly upon circumstantial evidence, the State is required to show to a reasonable and moral certainty that the accused and no one else committed the offense charged." The court determined that the circumstantial evidence-meaning, the various facts regarding the case-even if it did tend to show a strong probability of guilt, was not enough toconvict the accused. In Ramsammy, the facts were somewhat similar to the information available in the recent Florida case, as both cases involve an alleged domestic dispute, and a sudden disappearance of the missing party, who was later presumed to be deceased. The court further explained that "evidence presented by the State was still not sufficient to demonstrate the defendant's criminal responsibility as the victim's body had not been recovered [and] no evidence as to manner of death had been presented."
The recent Florida case poses potential issues, as reports indicate that the man allegedly confessed to the murder of his wife, despite his plea of not-guilty. A 1993 case before the Supreme Court of Florida, Sochor v. State, involved a conviction for a man who apparently confessed to the murder of the victim, whose body was never recovered.
If you or someone you know has been accused of committing a serious crime, it is important to immediately seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. In matters regarding evidence, confessions, and statements made to authorities and others, every word you speak without legal counsel could jeopardize your innocence and your future. Contact our office today for a consultation.
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