Legal follies

“The death penalty is applied fairly!”

Look, I’m against the death penalty too, but what does it have to do with this case? The defendant wasn’t even accused of a capital crime. Or are you suggesting that a poor person with no criminal record would have been accused of something other than first-degree murder under similar circumstances?

Murder isn’t a capital crime? He was tried for murder (as opposed to man slaughter, or some other crime), but they didn’t get a conviction.

I don’t believe so, at least not in all cases. The article said something about him facing a 99 year prison sentence if convicted.

In this particular case, he may have been charged with second-degree murder instead of first-degree (the article doesn’t say). Second-degree murder does not permit a death sentence.

Murder one requires premeditation. In this case, it seems that the victim entered the defendent’s apartment for some other purpose and an argument ensued during which the defendent shot and killed the victim. There were no other witnesses and very little evidence of intent or malice aforethought. The only thing that suggested intent was the way the defendent very carefully cleaned up the evidence after the fact.

Depending on the charges and the way the evidence was presented, I might have acquitted him too.