New Albany Murder Conviction
In 2015, Noah Nevil severely beat a man, then set the house on fire to cover his tracks. Allegedly, the two men were friends. Earlier this week, he received a murder conviction after a jury trial in New Albany, Indiana.
I recently posted about the differences between murder and manslaughter. One of the primary differences is that the person committing the act intended to fatally harm the victim. “Intention” is a key element in securing a murder charge and an eventual conviction.
A WDRB news story reported that the victim was rescued from the fire and taken to the emergency room. Unfortunately, the man later died at the hospital.
An experienced defense attorney who handles murder cases would normally attack the charges from several angles. One objective would be to get the homicide charges reduced from murder to manslaughter in the 1st or 2nd degree. Another objective would be to weave in a defense such as justification, self-defense or extreme emotional disturbance. The penalties for manslaughter are significantly less than a murder sentence. As of now, Noah Nevil faces a potential sentence of sixty-five (65) years in prison for the murder conviction.
Another strategy the defense lawyer might use is that “yes, there was an assault, but there was no intent to commit murder.” At the same time, it might be possible to prove that the fire was unintentionally started. These factors could be used to show that intent to commit murder was not present in the mind of the defendant.
As a Kentucky criminal defense attorney, I’m not licensed to practice in Indiana. However, had this incident occurred in Kentucky, the prosecution would have also considered and likely brought charges of arson. If it could be proven that the defendant intended to set fire to the house destroy the building – knowing that someone was inside it at the time, the charge of 1st degree arson, by itself, can bring a sentence of 20-50 years in prison. There are various degrees of arson, under Kentucky law. We’ll deal with those in a future post.
The defendant will be formally sentenced in an upcoming hearing. Unfortunately, it just proves the old saying, “With friends like these…”