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Florida law school graduate charged with murder

A University of Florida law graduate is facing serious consequences today after a tragic incident in June. The 33-year-old man has been charged with serious felony charges -- murder, strangulation and harassment -- after the death of his 27-year-old girlfriend. The defendant has pled not guilty.

On June 7, it seems the girlfriend had informed police that her boyfriend had beaten her in May. She allegedly was left with two black eyes and had to use crutches after that incident. Moreover, during her conversation with police, her boyfriend purportedly called her cell phone and made threats, which were heard over speaker phone. She was then granted a protective order.

She was found dead on June 26 in the apartment they rented together. Her body was lying in the bathtub face up, surrounded by bags of ice. It was later determined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to her torso and neck. Prosecutors say that the boyfriend called police the day the body was found to report a "domestic incident."

He explained that they had gone to a party together, and he had passed out drunk. When his girlfriend attempted to wake him up, he became angry and threw her against the wall, knocking her unconscious. Police found two notes when they discovered the girlfriend's body. One read "it was an accident, it was an accident, it was an accident," and described the fight they had when he was intoxicated. The other stated the woman's name followed by "I will love you forever," signed with the defendant's first initial.

The prosecutor has upgraded the charges from what they originally were because he claims there is evidence that the defendant intended to torture the victim. His attorney, however, claims that there are no facts to support a charge of premeditated murder. Rather, he argues that his client is suffering from "emotional disturbances" that caused him to behave as he did. One thing that is certain is that the defendant is facing serious charges and will need the best legal defense possible to ensure his rights.

Source: Bradenton Herald, "Fla. Law grad charged with killing ex-girlfriend," Colleen Long, July 23, 2012

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Andrew M. Coffey has been recognized as a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer by the Florida Bar. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

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