It appears as if a jewelry store owner in Jensen Beach who was the victim of a robbery won’t be charged after shooting a teen after a robbery. The matter has been referred to prosecutors, but at this point in time, police have no intention of making an arrest. The owner of the jewelry store is a retired New York City detective.
A spokesman for Jensen Beach Police characterized the shooting as justified and within the scope of “using justifiable force during the commission of a forcible felony.” The store’s owner fired into the rear window of a getaway car, hitting a teen passenger in the back of the head.
Possible Felony Murder Charge
The teen reportedly tried a few pieces of jewelry on and ran to a waiting car when still wearing the jewelry. An employee tried to take the jewelry from the car, but he was pushed back to the ground. The store owner believed that the employee had either been hit by the car or shot. That’s when he fired a single shot into the rear of the car. It appeared unlikely that the teen would survive. If he dies from the shooting, the getaway car driver could be charged with murder under Florida’s felony murder doctrine. That young man is 16 years old. He is in custody of juvenile authorities.
Felony Murder Doctrine
First degree murder in Florida requires the specific intent to take the life of somebody else. According to Martin County criminal defense lawyer Jeffrey H. Garland, under felony murder doctrine, a person can be charged with first degree murder without the specific intent to kill a person if during an enumerated offense, somebody dies during its commission. The rule applies regardless of their role in the offense. Robbery is one of those enumerated offenses in Florida.
Rationale of the Doctrine
The intent of the felony murder doctrine is to deter criminals from committing specified offenses. If anybody dies during the commission of the offense, all participants in the crime can be charged with first degree murder. In the Jensen Beach case, that would be the driver of the getaway car.
If you’re being investigated on a felony murder charge, don’t give police any type of a statement or confession. Exercise your right to an attorney, and contact Saint Lucie County Criminal Defense lawyer Jeffrey H. Garland at 772-489-2200.