People who feel that they will be charged with a crime sometimes try to take additional steps to avoid law enforcement and the criminal justice process. 

A woman who was suspected to be involved in the murder of a baby in the Destin area attempted to take her own life before she could be questioned by law enforcement. 

Police find a dead child and the injured mother in a parking lot

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office responded to a parking lot in the boardwalk area on Okaloosa Island. They first found an infant inside a pickup truck, and a woman was also found nearby on the ground covered in blood. The baby was pronounced dead shortly afterward, and an autopsy found that the child had taken a gunshot to the torso area. They also found that the woman nearby had been seriously injured by a self inflicted gunshot. 

Police believe that the 30 year old female who was hospitalized was probably the mother of the deceased child, and she is the primary suspect in the murder case. The infant was only five months old, and related domestic violence issues which may overlap with this case are also being looked into. There was still an active investigation ongoing at the time of the news report, and police did not release the identities of anyone involved. 

Okaloosa Island borders Destin to the west. 

Avoiding law enforcement and sentencing

Attempts at flight, suicide, and other ways to avoid law enforcement are common after certain serious crimes. Fleeing and eluding law enforcement is even charged as a separate felony from the underlying crime in Florida. Prosecutors often argue that these actions show a guilty conscience and an attempt to avoid punishment for a crime, when a suspect knows that they have done something illegal. However, all elements of the offense still need to be shown for each separate charge.   

Guilt still needs to be formally proven

A person who is charged by the state still needs to be proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt before they will begin to serve a criminal sentence. This is true even if they face additional charges for fleeing law enforcement or have done something as extreme as attempting suicide.  

The job of a defense attorney in the criminal justice system is to make sure that prosecutors can make a strong enough case to convince a jury of the defendant’s guilt. If the evidence is weak or there are gaps in the state’s case, the defendant may not be convicted. 

One of the reasons these protections were built into the constitution is the belief that it is better to set a guilty person free than punish an innocent person. Therefore, many procedural protections function to make sure that guilt is as close to certain as possible. 

Speak with a local lawyer for more info

There are attorneys in Destin and nearby parts of north Florida who routinely handle criminal cases and defend suspects against the state’s charges. Contact ASG Legal for more information about your specific case. 

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