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Felony murder charges filed in pepper spray robbery case

A 20-year-old man has been charged with felony murder in connection with the death of a woman during an alleged robbery at a Weston truck stop. He is the second man facing felony charges in the case; a 21-year-old suspect was arrested a week earlier.

The murder charges arise out of the death of a 28-year-old woman which occurred while the two men were allegedly robbing another patron in the parking lot of the truck stop. One suspect allegedly sprayed pepper spray into the man's face as the other tried to pull a silver chain and medallion from around his neck. There was a large crowd attending a "Jamaica Night" party at the truck stop, and as the pepper spray began to spread into the crowd, it caused a panic. A number of people, including the victim, started running to get away from the pepper spray.

The victim died when she had trouble breathing after inhaling the pepper spray. She fell and struck her head on the bumper of a vehicle. She was taken to the hospital by paramedics but never regained consciousness. She died the following day. An autopsy concluded the pepper spray caused her death.

Unlike other forms of murder, felony murder does not require proof of a specific intent to kill. If the defendant is committing a felony and a death results, even if unintended, the defendant can be charged with felony murder. Many times in these cases the victim is a bystander or someone who was never targeted as a victim. Murder cases often go to trial and the accused can face many years in prison if convicted.

Source: CBS Miami, "Second Suspect In Weston Truck Stop Murder Arrested," Oct. 16, 2012

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