Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Couple Carjack & Kill Reverend & are Caught Joyriding in his Stolen Car after posting Selfies on Facebook / Michael A. Haber, Esq. **ARRESTED / **305DUI

Meet 24 y/o Lashonda Williams and 23 y/o Roger Reed.  Yes, that's the happy couple below:

There they are again, all kissy and loving... a model of happiness.

Taking a car ride, enjoying the day, having a cigar....

What's the problem you wonder?  Well, here it, er, he is, er, was....   Meet 57 y/o Don Smith, 30 veteran Reverend of the Memphis Baptist Church.  

It seems that Lashona and Roger carjacked, shot, killed and left on the roadside the good Reverend, taking his wallet and car, not to fail to mention a whole bunch of "selfies" - which these two sociopaths proceeded to post on Facebook and which inextricably intertwine them and otherwise connect them to their heinous crime.

Lashonda and Roger were caught 4 days later about 150 miles away still driving around in the Reverend's stolen car, and easy investigation proves that the Facebook selfies were taken inside the jacked vehicle and posted within 24 hours of the killing.  

After being arrested and booked the happy couple doesn't look quite as elated, perhaps because these weren't selfies, and were 1st degree murder booking photos.

While I suppose that it doesn't get worse than 1st degree murder, still, the principle that I set forth in the title for this post applies to all crimes.  If you are found guilty, whether by plea or verdict, then you will face sentencing, and in that event your sentencing hearing will be even more important that the phase of the proceedings in which your guilt was established.

In Florida the Criminal Punishment Code incorporates a "sentencing guideline" system, the purpose of which is to "establish sentencing criteria... to make the best use of state prisons so that violent criminal offenders are appropriately incarcerated... {in a} neutral {manner} with respect to race, gender, and social and economic status... {that} the penalty imposed is commensurate with the severity of the primary offense and the circumstances surrounding {it}... {that} the severity of the sentence increases {commensurate} with the... offender's prior record... {and} that the sentence imposed... reflects the length of actual time to be served... (see F.S. 921.002 - ). In short, the Guidelines (and the CPC) are the Florida Legislature's attempt at standardizing criminal punishment throughout the State of Florida.

Still,  while the statutory maximum is theoretically the maximum sentence that you can receive for a given offense, in practice there are many ways that the math can be enhanced and a Judge can "bump up" your sentence. For example, certain factors will "bump up" (or "reclassify") a given offense from a lower to a higher level, like wearing a mask during the commission of a crime, possession or use of a weapon during the commission of certain offenses, and such things as committing your crime in an especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or depraved manner, or that no remorse or compassion was shown by the perpetrator.  

The crime / the act is malum in se (wrong or evil in itself), but, absent aggravating factors (most of which are done by the accused voluntarily) there are mitigating factors which can reduce a sentence.  If, as opposed to aggravating factors, you instead arm your lawyer with mitigation (such as showing remorse, surrendering, admitting guilt, seeking treatment, making restitution, etcetera - for a list of statutory mitigators in Florida please see FS 921.0026, a link follows) then you will be on the road to a lesser, as opposed to a harsher, sentence.

Doing such things as joyriding in a dead person's car for 4 days, smoking cigars, kissing and carrying on without a care in the world, is certain to be considered as an aggravating factor in this case. Again, it may well be that there is nothing to lose given the nature of these charges, but for most folks there is plenty to lose and little to gain, especially by social media posts which relate to your offense.

Consider the example of a DUI defendant who had been posting time stamped pictures of her/himself consuming beverages at a bar preceding the arrest.  Or think about the thief who posts ads to sell stolen merchandise on Craig's List or Ebay.  And what of the prostitute or hacker who acquires digitally recordings of folks in compromising situations and then attempts to extort them afterward.

If this story is accurate, if they cold-heartedly killed this Reverend, stole his wallet and joyrode in his car kissing and smoking cigars and posting pictures for days, then I don't suppose that much is going to help Lashonda and Roger, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a lesson in it for you folks.

Established in 1991, Michael A. Haber, P.A. has an unblemished record of providing creative, effective and zealous representation to clients, primarily in South Florida, on a wide variety of criminal matters ranging from DUI to drug trafficking and from misdemeanors to first degree murder. 

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"!

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

1-888-SHARK-8-1, 305-381-8686, 305-798-2220, **ARRESTED, **305DUI, **MIAMIDUI, **MIAMILAW or **HABERLAW.

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