The Hernando County State Attorney’s Office has filed a criminal indictment against a Brooksville, FL man charged with the 2006 murder of Patrick and Evelyn DePalma, an elderly couple living in Masaryktown, Florida. John Frank of the St. Petersburg Times reports there may still be other indictments coming down relating to the DePalma murders.
The State Attorney’s Office has yet to make a decision as to its sentencing goals in this matter, but the defendant could face the death penalty if convicted in these cases.
The DePalmas’ murder shocked the Hernando County community where they lived as they were much like any other elderly, retired couple living in the area. As a result, there has been a substantial amount of media attention surrounding the two-year investigation into the murders, which could make it difficult for the defendant to get a fair trial in Central Florida.
In most murder cases, the defendant’s intent to kill comes into question. Defense attorneys often argue that the accused never intended to kill the victim or that the killing was a result of some other motive– like to scare someone, or just injure them, not necessarily kill them. In addition, because these murders occurred during the course of other felonies, namely armed robbery and armed burglary, the defense will likely focus on challenging the State’s evidence with respect to the elements of those crimes. This is because under the felony murder rule, Prosecutors can hold any participant in a dangerous felony criminally responsible for any deaths that occured during or in furtherance of that felony. Essentially the rule gives Prosecutors an easier way to secure a murder conviction.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a serious crime like Murder, Robbery, Burglary, any Firearms Charge or Grand Theft, contact Brooksville, FL Criminal Lawyer Whittel & Melton, LLC now at 1-866-608-5LAW(5529) or go to www.flcounsel.com.