A 14-year-old Florida boy is facing first-degree murder charges for allegedly shooting a 39-year-old man to death in Mascotte during a botched drug deal on Feb. 10. He was arrested in Orlando on Feb. 28.

The defendant was taken into custody at Southwest Middle School by members of the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Arrest Unit. He was later handed over to the Division of Juvenile Justice and was held at the Orange County Juvenile Detention Center.

According to a spokesperson for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, he is expected to be tried as an adult despite his young age. So far, he has been charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder, but the investigation is ongoing. Following the defendant’s arrest, the principal of Southwest Middle School sent a phone message to parents promising them that their children were not in harm’s way and that student safety was the school’s “top priority.”

First-degree murder charges carry severe consequences in Florida, including the possibility of life in prison without parole or even the death penalty. Because murder charges are so serious, defendants may want to contact Orlando, Florida, violent crimes defense lawyers for help. Defense lawyers may investigate the case and develop a plausible defense against the accusations. For example, if lawyers discover that the defendant was forced to kill in self-defense, the charges might be dropped, or an acquittal may be won at trial. Another defense strategy might involve negotiating a plea deal that mitigates the most serious charges, which may lead to a lighter sentence.

Source: Click Orlando, “14-year-old boy accused of murder arrested at Orlando school,” Anna Johnson, March 1, 2019