On August 13, 2017, police received a call about gunshots fired near the Owens Housing Complex in East St. Louis. Officers found two gunshot victims in a Chrysler. The male in the driver’s seat was dead, and the person in the passenger’s seat was bleeding from several gunshot wounds. A suspect was finally arrested on November 6, 2017, but details of the crime and the police investigation remain sketchy. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney may find fertile ground for attacking the prosecution’s case.
Police were notified of gunshots at 2:22 a.m. on the morning of August 13th. Upon arriving at the scene, police found the victims in a red Chrysler. The woman in the passenger’s seat survived her wounds. The suspect has been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery for discharging a firearm during an armed robbery. He is being held in the St. Clair County Jail on $1 million bail.
Police claim that the suspect has been convicted of other serious crimes. In 2010, he was convicted of retail theft, in 2015 he was convicted of theft, and in 2016 he was convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. In 2017, he was found guilty of resisting a peace officer and is still awaiting sentencing.
The suspect’s prior convictions do not bear upon his guilt or innocence in the East St. Louis shootings, though. Before a conviction can be obtained, he must be proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by evidence that is relevant to the events of August 13th. However, his prior criminal record may affect the severity his sentence, should he be found guilty of one or both of the shootings. Additionally, the prosecution may try to use those prior convictions to establish a pattern of behavior.
The criminal allegations in this case could hardly be more serious. Anyone facing similar charges may wish to seek advice from a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer about potential defenses options.
Source: Belleville News-Democrat, “Centreville man charged with murder in August shooting,” Kara Berg, Nov. 7, 2017