Articles Posted in Murder/Homicide

Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Michigan homicide case discussing the lower court’s decision to exclude evidence of the defendant’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ultimately, the court determined that the lower court properly excluded the evidence and denied the defendant’s appeal.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was involved in an altercation with the co-owner of an after-hours club. Evidently, the two men got into an argument earlier in the evening, and witnesses heard both men saying that they would return with a gun. The victim returned with a shotgun, that he held at his side as he locked up the club. The defendant also returned to the club. While no one saw what happened, it was uncontested that the victim was shot eight times. Later, the defendant admitted to shooting the victim.

At trial, the defendant attempted to present evidence that he had PTSD. PTSD is a mental health condition that stems from a traumatic event. Those who have PTSD can be triggered by certain events, sounds, sights, or feelings, bringing them back to the moment of the original trauma. Evidently, the defendant was the victim of a prior shooting, that left him with permanent brain damage. In the defense expert’s opinion, this affected the defendant’s ability to control his impulses when he felt threatened. The defendant intended on admitting the evidence to help establish his claim that he shot the victim in self-defense.

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In March, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Michigan homicide case discussing the propriety of a show-up identification made by a witness. A show-up identification is one in which police show a single person to a witness, asking if that is the person they believe committed the crime.

Show-up identifications are inherently suspect because they are suggestive in that the witness will almost always know that the person they are asked about is being investigated for their involvement in a crime. Thus, courts require law enforcement officers to take special precautions to ensure these identification procedures are not unfairly suggestive.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was pulled over on suspicion of homicide after his vehicle was identified by a witness. Another witness, Jones, identified the defendant as the shooter. At the time of the shooting, Jones was riding in the back seat of a car. Jones described the shooter as a bald black man wearing black pants and a white shirt.

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A 21-year-old man has been charged withsecond-degree murder in a crash on Detroit’s west side that killed a young girl and left four others hurt.image

The incident occurred February 17 when the driver of a Chrysler Sebring sped through a stop sign and lost control of the vehicle. The car struck a parked car and smashed into a tree.

A three-year-old passenger in the car was killed. The driver and three other passengers – all of whom were minors – were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

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