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Florida woman claims self-defense in death of boyfriend

Earlier this month an argument between a man and his girlfriend in Florida turned violent and resulted in the death of the man. The 33-year-old girlfriend is now facing a first-degree murder charge.

According to authorities' allegations, sheriff's deputies responded to an emergency call that was made shortly before 1:00 p.m. in a rural area near Holopaw in Osceola County. When deputies arrived on the scene, they spoke to the girlfriend. She said that she and the man had been arguing. She said he he had beaten her and was coming at her with a knife when she shot him. Deputies found the man's body nearby. The 39-year-old man was an Irish national who had lived in the United States for some time.

According to authorities, evidence at the crime scene and from the autopsy conflict with the woman's claim of self-defense. News reports do not indicate what this evidence is. As a result of the alleged evidence, the woman was charged with first-degree murder.

All felony charges are serious, but first-degree murder is the most serious of all. A person facing this charge needs the best defense counsel they can get.

In Florida, a person is justified in using deadly force to defend themselves, if they reasonably believe they have to use deadly force to prevent an assailant from killing them or inflicting great bodily harm. In this case, the accused is apparently the only living witness to the incident. Prosecutors will necessarily have to rely on the evidence allegedly found at the crime scene and in the autopsy to prove their case. By the same token, defense counsel will have to cast as much doubt on this evidence as possible.

Source: Irish Independent, "Irishman is shot dead by girlfriend in Florida," Daniel McConnell, Aug. 25, 2013

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