Woman Faces Federal Murder Charges For Hit-And-Run
The federal government does not typically pursue murder charges related to hit-and-run accidents. Typically, the feds will only pursue murder charges related to organized crime or violations of The Hobbes Act, which is also an anti-organized crime statute aimed at eliminating interference in interstate trade. Otherwise, you must commit a hate crime to get yourself charged by the federal government for murder.
However, there is one exception. If you commit the murder on specialized non-state territory that is under the direct control of the federal government. In this case, that’s exactly what happened – so the rarity makes it interesting to follow.
Charges were filed by both the state and federal government, but the feds are claiming they have jurisdiction because of where the death occurred. A state court murder case against the woman remains open.
Police responded to a call that a pedestrian had been struck by a vehicle. However, at the scene, they did not find any evidence of damage to the car or skid marks that would be apparent during an accident situation.
The defendant called police later that day after she attempted to track her phone. The phone was lost at some point during the night. The woman told police that the deceased was her girlfriend and that they had been dating for at least two months. The woman told police that she and her girlfriend had gotten into a fight and that she left her by the side of the road. The woman indicated that the altercation had turned physical.
Police noted inconsistencies in the woman’s story and found damage on her car consistent with an accident involving a person. Later, she told police that her girlfriend attacked her while she was driving. The defendant pulled over and the girlfriend got out of the car. She then found a large rock with which she would apparently smash the windshield. The defendant then struck the woman with her vehicle and drove off. She has since been charged with second-degree murder. She claims that she felt her life was in danger when the victim attempted to smash her windshield with the rock.
Does she have a self-defense argument?
The incident happened in Maryland but is being prosecuted by the federal government. So, Florida’s stand your ground protections will not apply to this case. The federal government will claim that the woman could have driven off without hitting the girlfriend. The woman will claim that the girlfriend threatened her, and she panicked.
At the very least, she should be able to get the charges reduced to negligent homicide for not alerting authorities to the altercation and leaving the victim to die.
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