A 28-year-old Florida man has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the assassination-style killing of a family friend. The alleged crime took place at approximately 11:35 p.m. on Feb. 15.
According to the Lakeland Police Department, the defendant reportedly left his home in the Homestead suburb of Miami-Dade County, drove four hours north to Artillery Motor Sports in Lakeland and fired 20 to 30 rounds at the 32-year-old decedent, killing him and wounding his 70-year-old father. The defendant then drove four hours back to his home.
Authorities say the defendant and decedent knew each other and, in 2017, the defendant rode out Hurricane Irma at the decedent’s home. However, investigators are trying to understand what would motivate the defendant to drive four hours away to kill an acquaintance in a barrage of bullets and then immediately drive back home again. Apparently, the defendant has not made any statements about the crime to the police. He has been charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and firing into an occupied business.
In Florida, individuals charged with first-degree murder could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole if they are convicted. However, it may be possible for a defendant to obtain a better outcome by contacting a murder and violent charges attorney for help. Legal counsel could investigate the case and work to build a strong defense against the allegations, which could cause the case to be dismissed. If the case is solid, it may still be possible to negotiate a plea bargain that mitigates the most serious charges.