When one is arrested for a serious, violent crime, a strong criminal defense may be the only thing standing between him and the death penalty or a lifetime in prison. Two North Carolina men may need that help now after being charged with murder in the death of two individuals near the Wingate University campus. Police allege the two accused individuals were committing robberies when the shootings took place, which left two victims dead in the middle of the road and another injured. Wingate University was subsequently locked down while police searched for the suspects, when they apparently found them leaving a suspect's girlfriend's apartment.
When one faces a first degree murder charge, typically meaning the victim's death was caused by the defendant's willful, deliberate and premeditated killing, then the death penalty may be in play. Even if the death penalty is taken off the table, a defendant will still have to face the possibility of spending life in prison without the possibility of parole.
An arrest, coupled with the threat of these penalties, can be nerve-wracking for a criminal defendant. A misidentification, grudge or simple misunderstanding may put him in the hot seat, where his very life is in jeopardy. Luckily, there are several defenses to murder and a prosecutor must clear the high hurdle of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant committed the crime.
A North Carolina criminal law attorney may be pivotal in putting forth a murder defense. Amongst the options available to a defendant are claiming innocence, self-defense or heat of passion. An attorney can describe what each defense entails and may advise as to which defense provides the best opportunity at a positive outcome. Once the decision is made as to which defense to put forth, an attorney will vigorously search for evidence to support his legal arguments, thus maximizing the chances of success.
A violent crime like murder is a tragic reality in our society. But trampling a criminal defendant's legal rights does not have to be. By retaining legal counsel, a defendant ensures his rights will be protected to the fullest extent possible.
Source: The Charlotte Observer, "2 arrests in double homicide near Wingate campus," Steve Lyttle, Dec. 5, 2013