Passing drivers saw a man lying on the side of the road naked from the waist down. They alerted authorities, who tracked the man’s movements to an area bar. From there, they enticed the man into their van, where he was beaten and strangled. His body was dumped on the side of the road, and now both are facing first-degree murder charges.
It is fair to ask whether or not both defendants can be charged with the murder. It may end up being that one of them is charged with first-degree murder for the strangulation and physical assault that led to death while the other is charged with felony murder. This would divide itself along the vector of man and woman. The woman would likely be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, while the husband would be charged with perpetrating the physical death.
At this point, we know little about the details other than what has been reported in the press. However, it is still possible that a first-degree murder charge against the wife will happen. If it does, the couple is unlikely to ever see one another again in person. They will be separated in prison.
At this point, both defendants have been charged with first-degree murder.
How Do You Defend This?
In a case like this, it is easier to defend the wife than it is the husband, although both may have contributed significantly to the death of the victim. A criminal defense attorney would advise their client (the wife) to lay the blame on her husband for the purpose of getting a better deal. We do not know specifically what contributions each party made to the murder, but the law will assume they both wholly intended to commit first-degree murder. It remains unclear if this was a robbery or if there was a sexual component to the crime.
It has happened in the past that couples have committed terrible crimes against the public, including serial murder. For a defense attorney, it becomes difficult to defend the couple from the actual crimes. In these cases, the defense attorney can help the serial killers remain alive in prison for the rest of their lives. However, in a state without the death penalty, that is not a large hurdle.
The most likely trajectory of this case is that the husband pleads guilty to first-degree murder, and the wife attempts to argue that she was coerced, controlled, and scared. That defense may or may not move a jury to acquit her on the most serious charges. But the burden of proof shifts to the defendant when they make such a plea. In other words, it would be her defense attorney’s job to establish a cycle of abuse that rendered her less likely to make the decision to kill on her own.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
David Freidberg represents Chicago area residents in criminal cases. Call today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing the best way to defend yourself from the charges immediately.