Gwinnett County officials have reported another “drug deal gone bad.” According to the reports, three people were shot, including one fatality, in an alleged drug deal last night.
Michael White was found dead when officers reached the apartment complex they had been called to after bystanders called about what sounded like gunshots. They found two others, Jabril Adams and Carlos Tabb, injured at the scene.
Tabb was taken into custody at the hospital on charges of Georgia criminal attempt to purchase marijuana and felony murder. Adams, who is also in the hospital, will be taken into custody as soon as he is released from the hospital on charges of Georgia armed robbery and felony murder.
After investigating the scene, detectives have come to the conclusion that Tabb was meeting with both White and Adams to purchase marijuana. They also believe that Adams and White attempted to rob Tabb who then produced a handgun, which then instigated both Adams and White to produce firearms as well. Gunfire was then exchanged by the three men, leaving Adams and Tabb injured and White dead.
So, why are both Tabb and Adams charged with felony murder? As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I see the confusion and mix-up of the terms concerning homicide all the time in Georgia. These include:
Out of the types of murder that are defined by Georgia Law, felony murder seems to be the most confusing. In today's post, I will do my best to explain what felony murder means, how one is charged with felony murder, and what the penalty is if convicted in Georgia.
Felony Murder in Georgia
Georgia Law defines felony murder in the following statute:
“A person commits the offense of murder when, in the commission of a felony, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice.” O.C.G.A. §16-5-1(c).
A person is considered to be in the commission of a crime if he or she:
- Directly commits the crime;
- Causes some other person to commit the crime under such circumstances that the other person is not guilty of any crime either in fact or because of legal incapacity;
- Aids or abets in the commission of the crime; or
- Advises, encourages, hires, counsels, or procures another to commit the crime.
The above examples of how someone can be considered to be in the commission of a felony explains how both Tabb and Adams are being charged with felony murder after the alleged incident on Monday night.
In order for the state of Georgia to convict an individual of felony murder, they must show that he or she is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the prosecution must demonstrate that the accused person either attempted or completed a felony that is deemed serious or inherently dangerous under Georgia law.
The penalty for a felony murder conviction is a life sentence in prison without parole, the death penalty, or life in prison.
If you or a loved one has been charged with felony murder in Georgia, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today. There are applicable Georgia Criminal Defensesto felony murder in Georgia that our attorneys are not only experienced with but may be relevant to your case. These defenses include:
- The underlying or predicate crime was not a felony or was not inherently dangerous.
- The murder was independent of the felony because it either transpired before the felony or after the felony was committed. (Your attorney can seek for the felony murder charge to be dropped to murder in Georgia, which actually carries less significant penalties.)
- The murder occurred as a result of self-defense in Georgia.
- There is not sufficient evidence to support a conviction as a result of an alibi in Georgiaor sufficient witness testimony that proves that you were either not at the scene of the crime or that you were an innocent bystander.