Houston Murder and Homicide Defense Attorney


What Am I Facing If I Am Charged With Murder?

Murder

In Texas, Murder is one of the most serious criminal offenses an accused can face. In other states in the US, what is termed plainly as murder in Texas is often categorized as second degree murder.

Range of Punishment for Murder

In Texas, Murder is a first degree felony that has a range of punishment; from 5 to 99 years imprisonment in a state prison and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000. Anyone facing such a charge must hire a very good attorney who is experienced in the defense of such a serious charge.

Elements State Must Prove for Murder Conviction

For the prosecution to successfully convict a defendant of murder, it must be able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt several factors. The prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly and intentionally caused the death of another person. Alternatively the prosecution must also show that the defendant did intend to cause serious bodily harm or injury and proceeded to commit an act that was by and large clearly dangerous to human life and this particular act ultimately caused the death of an individual.

Another option for the prosecution is; to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the defendant either committed or attempted to commit a felony other than manslaughter and while performing the said felony; the defendant committed an act that was without doubt dangerous to human life and this particular act caused the death of a person. It is worth noting that the prosecution needs only to prove one of the above options, but the key point in all the available options for the prosecution is that the murder has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Possible Defenses to Murder Charges in Texas

In Texas, just like in most states in the US, a defendant has a right to full representation by a qualified attorney. There are also a wide range of defenses he or she can pursue in an attempt to prove his or her innocence. An accused person can claim that the death of the person in question was not intended and was either accidental or caused by natural or unforeseen occurrences; lack of intent is an acceptable defense in Texas law.

One of the most utilized defenses is self defense; a defendant may be acquitted if he can prove that he had reason to believe his life was in danger and he thus needed to defend himself.

Another interesting defense may be the heat of passion argument. The defendant may claim that he was provoked to commit the said crime by some extreme emotion like terror, fear or rage arising from a valid cause. If it is found that the defendant was truly in the heat of passion, he may be charged with lesser included offenses like second degree felony which carries a sentence of between 2 and 20 years in a state prison and /or a fine of no more than $10,000.

It is worth noting also that the laws in Texas are constantly being changed and improved, it is important that you engage a licensed and practicing attorney to advise you accordingly.

Mario Madrid is a Texas Board Certified Attorney in Criminal Defense and has successfully defended individuals who have found themselves in the unfortunate situation of being charged with Murder. He practices in Harris County and counties throughout Texas.

Three Teens Charged with Capital Murder in Death of Teen

Criminal Sentencing/Punishments | Juvenile Crimes | Murder | Violent Crimes

Three teens in Harris County have been charged with Capital Murder in the death of another teen. According to this story, the victim was in the car with another male after buying Air Jordan shoes when an armed individual got out of a car and demanded the shoes. The victim was then shot by another individual. After being shot, the victim tried to drive away but crashed into two houses. The victim later died.

A Review of Capital Murder Charges

In Texas, under Texas Penal Code §19.03, one of the ways a Capital Murder may be committed is if a person commits murder and intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit robbery.

In addition, under Texas Penal Code §7.02, an individual can be criminally responsible for the acts committed by another person. Texas Penal Code §7.02(a)(2) explains that this is possible when an individual solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense if the individual is acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense.

An individual can also be criminally responsible for the acts committed by another person if, as stated in §7.02(b), in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators and the offense was committed in furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy. This is true even if the individual being held criminally responsible had no intent to commit the additional felony.

The individuals in this case are charged with Capital Murder, which carries the punishment of the death penalty or life in prison. According to the United States Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons and Texas Penal Code §8.07(c), if one of the defendants was under the age of 18 at the time of the incident, the defendant would not be eligible to receive a death sentence.

However, the teens charged in this case are 18 and 19 years old. Therefore, they are all eligible to receive the death penalty.

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense in Houston, contact Madrid Law, PLLC as soon as possible for review of your cases by a Board Certified criminal defense attorney.

Houston Man and Son Charged With Murder

Murder

A Houston man and his son were charged with the murder of a 17 year old teenager in Katy. The man is 45 years old and his son is 18 years old. A third man was charged with tampering with evidence.

The victim had a dispute with a group of people earlier that day. The group of people were driving a Jeep Cherokee. Later someone from the Jeep fired several rounds using a rifle. The victim who was in another vehicle was shot and killed. You can read more about the case in this story.

Murder is a First Degree Felony. First Degree Felonies are punishable from 5 years to 99 years or life in prison and a possible fine up to $10,000.

I am not privy to anymore of details to this case, other than what has been reported in the local paper. Under Texas law one cannot shoot and kill someone just because of an argument.

The Texas Penal Code is clear in Section 931  (b)The use of force against another is not justified:
(1)  in response to verbal provocation alone; However, the affirmative defense of self defense can be used in cases where force is used.

However, a person is justified in using force against
another when and to the degree he reasonably believes the force is
immediately necessary to protect himself against the others use or
attempted use of unlawful force.

Again, I am not sure of the details in the case discussed above, but it would appear there may be more to the case than has been published. Other questions that may arise would likely be who the shooter was and why were two people charged. Was the other person charger the driver of the Jeep and if they were,  did they even know that the shooter was planning to commit this murder, if it was in fact a murder. Criminal cases are rarely cut an dry. There are always different perceptions of reality.

If you are someone you know has found themselves in the unfortunate position of being charged murder and find themselves needing a Murder Attorney in Houston, call Texas Board Certified Attorney Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.

Houston Area Teenager Found Guilty of Murder

Murder

A 19 year old teenager has been found guilty of Murder by a Harris Count jury according to this story. The victim was a 17 year old female friend of the defendant. According to the prosecution the defendant killed the victim to keep her quiet about a drive by shooting. The prosecution presented evidence that the defendant, at the request of the victim, had shot at the victim’s ex-boyfriend’s house.

The defendant was set to enter the military. The defendant had heard that the victim was telling other people about the drive-by shooting. The defendant was concerned that the victim was jeopardizing his chance at getting into the military. According to the state, the defendant lured the victim to the woods by telling her that he had hidden some valuables and needed to dig them up. While beginning to dig, the defendant shot the victim in the back of the head, killing her.The state had a star witness who testified that he was present and saw the defendant commit the murder.

The punishment phase of trial will begin and conclude with the jury picking the defendant’s punishment. Murder is a First Degree Felony with a range of punishment of 5 to 99 years in the Texas Department of Corrections.

There is no possibility of a probation for a person convicted of Murder by a jury in Texas. The death penalty is not an option for murder. The punishment of death is only available for Capital Murder cases in Texas. One possible avenue to charge a defendant with Capital Murder under these facts would be to allege that the defendant committed the murder in the course of committing the felony of Retaliation. Texas Penal Code Section 19.03(2) provides Capital Murder occurs when the person intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat under Section 22.07(a)(1), (3), (4), (5), or (6). Based on the facts of the case and their evaluation the Harris County District Attorney’s Office concluded that the proper charge should be Murder.

If you or someone you know is in need of Murder Attorney in Houston, call Houston Criminal Lawyer Mario Madrid at 73-877-9400.

Houston Woman Charged With Injury to Child In Death of Child

Injury to A Child | Violent Crimes

A Houston woman has been charged with the First Degree Felony of Injury to a Child accused of causing serious bodily injury to her child which resulted in death, according to this story.

The child, a 19 month old baby girl, passed away after being taken off of life support on June 20th. When brought to the hospital, the child was diagnosed with multiple skull fractures and brain hemorrhaging and swelling.

Houston_woman_charged_with_childs_death

The woman claimed that she may have  blacked out and unintentionally injured her daughter. A physician and child abuse expert stated that the severity and pattern of the infant’s injuries which included skull fractures and intracranial hemorrhages were consistent with multiple enormous impacts to the back of the head.

The charge of Injury to a Child that results in serious bodily injury is a First Degree Felony which carries a possible punishment of not more than 99 years or life and not less than 5 years in prison.

It is not clear whether the Harris County District Attorney’s Office will upgrade the charge. If the State believes they can meet the elements of Capital Murder (in this case the murder of a person under 6 years old) they could possible upgrade the charge.

If you or someone you know is need of a Houston Criminal Lawyer, call Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.

Houston Man Charged With Murder In Connection With DWI Accident

DWI | Murder | Violent Crimes

A Houston Man has been charged with Murder after drunken driving crash in Houston that killed a woman’s unborn child according to this story. The man three prior DWI offenses. Additionally, he was convicted of Criminally Negligent Homicide and sentenced to 2 years in prison in a 2000 accident that also resulted in a child’s death.

The prior DWI conviction cases make the current case a Felony. The death of the unborn child coupled with the Felony DWI make the case what is called a Felony Murder. Man charged with murder in south Houston drunken driving death of unborn child

A Felony Murder is occurs when an individual commits or attempts to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempt, or in immediate flight from the commission or attempt, he commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual.

An offense of Felony Murder is a felony of the first degree punishable from 5 to 99 years in prison.

If you or someone you know is need of a Houston DWI Attorney or Houston Murder Lawyer, call Texas Board Certified Attorney Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.

Four Teens Charged In Houston Capital Murder

Murder

Four Houston teen, two fifteen years old boys and two seventeen year old boys have been charged with Capital Murder, according to this story. The defendants are accused of shooting and stabbing a man in a carjacking attempt. The man was pulling into his apartments with his family in his car, when he was confronted by the teens. A brief struggle ensued and the man was shot and stabbed. He died from his wounds.

A backpack with no money and two cell phones were taken. One of the teens was later stopped in a suspected stolen vehicle. The teen was placed in a police car with another person and apologized to a friend in the car. A recording device had been activated in the backseat which recorded the conversation. This led to questioning from the police that led to the arrest of the defendants.

Although charged with Capital Murder the State cannot seek the death penalty of the teenagers. In Texas 17 years old is considered the age of an adult for criminal prosecution. However, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that a 17 years old is considered a juvenile and the death penalty punishment for a juvenile is unconstitutionally cruel under the Eighth Amendment. The Supreme Court has ruled that “when a juvenile commits a heinous crime, the State can exact forfeiture of some of the most basic liberties, but the State cannot extinguish his life and his potential to attain a mature understanding of his own humanity.” Under Texas law the teens, if convicted would face life in prison without parole.

If you or someone you know is need of a Houston Murder Lawyer, call Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.

Man Set Free Of Rape and Murder After 16 Years

Criminal Defense | Sex Crimes | Violent Crimes

A Colorado man was exonerated and set free after spending 16 years in prison after being convicted of rape and murder. You can read more about it here. The man was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of a woman found strangled with a dog leash. He was exonerated on the basis of new DNA evidence.

An interesting note in the case is that DNA testing had been done in the case. However new testing found another suspect. The latest DNA testing ruled out the man as the source of blood found on a shirt that also bore blood stains from the victim. The original DNA analysis had already excluded him as the source of semen recovered from the crime scene and of scrapings taken from under the victim’s fingernails, however a jury had still convicted him. New analysis showed additional samples matched the DNA of another man who is serving a life sentence without parole for a1989 rape and strangulation.

In Texas this could have been charged as a Capital Murder (a Murder in the course of committing an Aggravated Sexual Assault)  and possibly led to the death penalty. It is a good example that innocent people can and do get convicted of crimes that they did not commit. Remember, in this particular case DNA excluded the man as the source of semen recovered and fingernail scrapings from the victim.

If you or someone you know is in need of a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer, call Texas Board Certified Attorney Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.

Houston Area Man Charged With Capital Murder

Criminal Defense

A Humble man has been  charged with Capital Murder in the death of his girlfriend’s 5 month old daughter according to this story. The child’s mother was charged with Injury to A Child.

The man allegedly struck the baby’s head against an unknown object . The mother is accused of failing to protect her daughter from physical abuse caused byher boyfriend as well as failing to seek immediate medical attention for her infant daughter.

The State can charge someone with Capital Murder for a number of different reasons listed in the Texas Penal Code. In this instance the man was charged with Capital Murder because he allegedly murdered an individual under 6 years of age.  An individual adjudged guilty of a capital felony in a case in which the state seeks the death penalty shall be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life without parole or by death.

The Capital Murder statute is codified in the Texas Penal Code as follows:

Sec. 19.03.  CAPITAL MURDER.  (a)  A person commits an offense if the person commits murder as defined under Section 19.02(b)(1) and:

(1)  the person murders a peace officer or fireman who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer or fireman;

(2)  the person intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat under Section 22.07(a)(1), (3), (4), (5), or (6);

(3)  the person commits the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration or employs another to commit the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration;

(4)  the person commits the murder while escaping or attempting to escape from a penal institution;

(5)  the person, while incarcerated in a penal institution, murders another:

(A)  who is employed in the operation of the penal institution; or

(B)  with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination;

(6)  the person:

(A)  while incarcerated for an offense under this section or Section 19.02, murders another; or

(B)  while serving a sentence of life imprisonment or a term of 99 years for an offense under Section 20.04, 22.021, or 29.03, murders another;

(7)  the person murders more than one person:

(A)  during the same criminal transaction; or

(B)  during different criminal transactions but the murders are committed pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct;

(8)  the person murders an individual under six years of age; or

(9)  the person murders another person in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of the other person as a judge or justice of the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of appeals, a district court, a criminal district court, a constitutional county court, a statutory county court, a justice court, or a municipal court.

(b)  An offense under this section is a capital felony.

(c)  If the jury or, when authorized by law, the judge does not find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of an offense under this section, he may be convicted of murder or of any other lesser included offense.

If you or someone you know is in need of a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney, call Texas Board Certified Attorney Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.

Houston Man Charged With Murder

Violent Crimes

A Houston man was charged with Murder in the stabbing death of another man according to this story in the Houston Chronicle. The suspect was later shot by a homeowner when he fled the scene. The victim was flown by Life Flight to Memorial Herman, but later pronounced dead. The suspect survived and is charged with Murder.

An deputy on routine patrol spotted the suspect and victim fighting and stopped to investigate. At that point the suspect fled to a nearby residence, kicked open the front door and went inside. The resident then shot the suspect, who was left with non life-threatening gunshot wound in his arm.

The incident is a good example of Texas self -defense law. For example if the victim had punched the suspect, the suspect was justified in using force when and to the degree it was immediately necessary to protect himself. However, under that scenario if the suspect used a knife, which is a deadly weapon, to defend against being punched, he would not be justified.

The Texas Self Defense Statute is codified in Penal Code Section 9.31:

§ 9.31. SELF-DEFENSE.  (a) Except as provided in
Subsection (b), a person is justified in using force against
another when and to the degree he reasonably believes the force is
immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or
attempted use of unlawful force.
(b)  The use of force against another is not justified:                       
(1)  in response to verbal provocation alone;                                
(2)  to resist an arrest or search that the actor knows
is being made by a peace officer, or by a person acting in a peace
officer’s presence and at his direction, even though the arrest or
search is unlawful, unless the resistance is justified under
Subsection (c);
(3)  if the actor consented to the exact force used or
attempted by the other;
(4)  if the actor provoked the other’s use or attempted
use of unlawful force, unless:
(A)  the actor abandons the encounter, or clearly
communicates to the other his intent to do so reasonably believing
he cannot safely abandon the encounter;  and
(B)  the other nevertheless continues or attempts
to use unlawful force against the actor;  or
(5)  if the actor sought an explanation from or
discussion with the other person concerning the actor’s differences
with the other person while the actor was:
(A)  carrying a weapon in violation of Section
46.02;  or                 
(B)  possessing or transporting a weapon in
violation of Section 46.05.   
(c)  The use of force to resist an arrest or search is
justified:           
(1)  if, before the actor offers any resistance, the
peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts
to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search; 
and
(2)  when and to the degree the actor reasonably
believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself
against the peace officer’s (or other person’s) use or attempted use
of greater force than necessary.
(d)  The use of deadly force is not justified under this
sub-chapter except as provided in Sections 9.32, 9.33, and 9.34.

However, the homeowner would would be justified in using deadly force as the suspect was unlawfully entering habitation.

If you or someone you know is in need of a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney call Texas Board Certified Attorney Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.

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