Can one be charged with robbery and homicide during a drug transaction?

Asked over 1 year ago - Philadelphia, PA

The D.A. is charging my nephew-1 with a homicide and robbery, a man was killed attempting to by cocaine. nep said he didn't do it. witness in the car can't place him at the scene, nephew-2 got a rape charged drop to put him at the scene, nep-2 girlfriend said he was lock up at a work release program at the time of the incident what the best defense.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Michael Kotik

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, you can be charged with robbery and homicide during a drug transaction; it all depends on the facts. Homicide is a serious offense I would suggest hiring the right criminal defense attorney to help your nephew out.

    Answers are not of fact, but rather the opinion of the attorney answering the questions asked. At no time does... more
  2. Robert C. Keller

    Contributor Level 20

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A person can be charged with murder and robbery. As to the rest of your question, your nephew needs the best criminal defense attorney the family can afford. Everyone needs to pull their funds to help him and its best not to post anything else on a public site. Good Luck.

  3. Ross Marvin Miller

    Contributor Level 11

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, he can be charged. I think your family needs to take steps to ensure your nephew has quality representation. Remember, you can get a free consultation from most criminal attorneys including myself.

    This answer is based on general legal principles only and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. This... more
  4. William A. Jones Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You've already received the best advice possible at this point--secure the best criminal attorney the family can afford. I wish only to add a caution. Post no more details about your nephew's situation on the Internet. Secure counsel ASAP

  5. Brad Victor Shuttleworth

    Contributor Level 9

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It sounds like they both are going to need good representation. The facts you present are not enough to ascertain the "best defense". Call me for a free, confidential consultation. 215.665.1695

    This commentary does not constitute, and should not be construed to constitute, legal advice. In addition, this... more
  6. Brian M. Fishman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I'm sorry to hear about your nephew's situation. But, as all prior counsel have indicated, yes, one can be charged with homicide and robbery, even if a drug transaction is what brought the parties together. In fact, it's a fairly common charge. One goes into a corner store and only intends on robbing the place at gunpoint. But, things go wrong or the perpetrator panics and shoots the store clerk, who ultimately dies as a result of the gunshots. Obviously, this individual is going to be charged with homicide, robbery, gun violations, theft and related offenses.

    I agree with Mr. Shuttleworth that based on the minimal facts presented, it's hard to say what the best defense would be. Obviously, there's a suggestion in your question that he may want to present an alibi defense as you indicate that a girlfriend said that he was locked up and on the work release program at the time of the murder. Alibi defense can be risky. But, if they are strong, really strong, they can be extremely effective. Determining whether he was serving a work release sentence at the time of the incident should be easy enough as we would just need to get records from the county jail. However, that's not the end of the story as one has the opportunity to commit a crime while on work release as they are generally getting out of jail everyday to go to work. Therefore, the next question would be whether the crime was committed when he was present at the prison work release facility at the time of the murder. If that's the case, the alibi would seem pretty ironclad. But, if it was during the day when he was supposed to be at work, then it gets more complicated. We would next need to interview his employer to see if they have records that he was at his place of employment at the time of the incident. Someone simply saying, "Oh yeah, I remember that day...He was here all day" is generally not good enough because why does that day stick out to an average co-worker who's not just looking to protect your nephew. Preferably you would want a supervisor who has documentation that your nephew was at work at the time of the incident. A time card showing that when he checked in and checked out would be extremely helpful. And then, if you have co-workers corroborate the physical evidence by saying that they recall him being present at work that day, their testimony now has a lot more credibility.

    Finally, if the alibi evidence is not strong enough and the defense determines that it's too risky to put up an alibi defense, then you may want to consider an identification defense. That is, that they got the wrong guy. You said that the witness in the car can't place him at the scene so that would help with a mis-identification defense. Furthermore, nephew 2 who does put him at the scene appears to have a strong motivation to lie as he avoided prosecution on rape, an extremely serious offense, in exchange for his information that nephew 1 was at the scene. If this can be proven, nephew 2's credibility would obviously be greatly called into question. On the contrary, the DA will likley argue that it's extremely unlikely for a blood relative to lie on their own nephew and place him at the scene of a murder. So, you'd have competing issues there. Finally, the fact that this was during a drug transaction, leads me to believe that the DA may have a difficult time getting witnesses to cooperate with the investigation as nobody wants to put themselves at the scene of drug sales.

    I hope this gives you some idea of the possible defenses for your nephew. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I wish you all the best.

    Brian M. Fishman
    fishmanlaw@gmail.com
    www.PhillyCriminalDefense.blogspot.com

    The posting of an answer to this question in no way creates an attorney-client relationship between myself and any... more

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