Defense attorney: Prosecutors clearly don’t have evidence to charge murder in Champion case
3:33 PM, May. 2, 2012 | By Jeff Burlew Senior Government Editor Of The Tallahassee Democrat
Criminal-defense attorney Clyde Taylor Jr. said prosecutors in the death of FAMU student Robert Champion clearly don’t have the evidence right now to charge anyone with murder or manslaughter.
Prosecutors in Orlando announced this afternoon that 13 people are being charged in Champion’s death. Most of them are facing charges of hazing with death, a third-degree felony.
“If you’re starting out with a third-degree felony as the best you can arguably prove, then there’s clearly problems with the evidence to support a more serious charge,” said Taylor, who has offices in Tallahassee and St. Augustine.
Taylor, one of only a handful of lawyers qualified to defend death-penalty cases in the 2nd Judicial Circuit, said prosecutors are likely hoping to get more information from the defendants to strengthen their case.
“They’re trying to cast a wide net — which is not untypical of prosecution efforts — with the idea that perhaps a couple or more of those in the net will break, make statements and hopefully make the cases stronger against the remaining folks,” he said.
Check back with Tallahassee.com for more legal opinion on the Champion case.