Murder and Attempted Suicide

Can the family bring charges in a murder and attempted suicide?

WDRB reported on a Louisville shooting outside of a church.  When the police arrived, they found a woman, who was shot multiple times.  Shortly after arriving, police and investigators heard another gunshot.  They found a wounded man who appears to have been the man who shot the woman.  It appears this may have been a murder and attempted suicide.  The man was taken to University Hospital for treatment.

Now, this brings up an interesting legal situation.  I’ll use it as an example to illustrate what legally happens in Kentucky when a homicide occurs.

Assuming the shooter survives, what would happen if the family of the deceased decided not to pursue charges?  In Kentucky, it’s not the family who brings charges for a murder.  The state, defined as the prosecution working for the Commonwealth Attorney’s office (or potentially Federal authorities), brings the charges.  This is why you may have heard cases referred to as, “Commonwealth vs. John Doe.”

Murder is considered a crime against the Commonwealth.

The family of the victim actually takes a back seat to the Commonwealth’s prosecution.  This is how our criminal justice system works.  However, the family may be able to pursue a civil law suit for personal injury or wrongful death.  The criminal and civil systems are both part of our overall legal system.

In the case of this murder and attempted suicide, the police will investigate the death of the woman as a homicide.  Charges can, and likely will, be brought against the surviving shooter.

Forensic evidence will probably show that the bullets that killed the woman probably came from the same gun the shooter used to attempt suicide.  Investigators can certainly place the shooter in the area of the deceased, because it’s where he was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  There may be witnesses who will testify they actually saw the homicide.

The man who allegedly committed this murder and attempted suicide has a steep, legal hill to climb.  This is why we have a criminal defense attorney available to represent people charged with crimes.  Yes, there may be a steep legal hill to climb, but the man has rights.  In fact, it might be coincidence.  It may have been someone else, or maybe the man himself was also a victim in a double shooting.

Criminal defense cases ultimately come down to only what the prosecution can prove.  While it may look fairly cut and dry, very few cases actually are that black and white.  There is a legal process which must take place.  The man has constitutional rights, even if you don’t agree with his actions.  Those rights, by the way, would also be extended to you if you’re ever involved in a crime.  Never forget that last point.  It’s important to each and every citizen.


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