When you imagine someone murdering another person, you probably picture the death happening fairly soon. Even in cases where the victim doesn’t die immediately and is taken to the hospital, they usually die soon afterwards. But even if a victim dies 20 years down the line, if the cause of death was attributed to something you did, you can still be charged with murder. If you have been accused of murder, even if you haven’t seen the person in years, it is critical you speak with an Oceanside violent crimes attorney as soon as possible.
Murder 20 Years Later?
The idea of a victim dying 20 years after they were attacked by their murderer isn’t just a hypothetical concept or something you might see in a murder mystery. It actually happened just recently. In 1998, father Olin Shane Tannery squeezed, shook and threw his one-month-old son, Dominick, when the infant wouldn’t stop crying. Dominick suffered from severe brain damage and had to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Olin was pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in 1999 and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. He was released in 2007.
Now, seven years after Olin was released from prison, he’s being charged with second-degree murder after Dominick died as a result of the injuries sustained from his father’s attack 20 years ago.
Isn’t That Double Jeopardy?
This is a common misunderstanding Oceanside criminal lawyers get regularly. But double jeopardy only covers someone being charged with the same crime in the same situation twice. While Olin was convicted for one crime related to his assault on his son, he was not charged with murder and could not have been as Dominick had not yet died due to his injuries.
What About the Statute of Limitations?
In California, there is no statue of limitations for murder so even if the victim dies immediately but the perpetrator isn’t prosecuted for 20 years, the prosecution would be valid. A lawyer could raise the issue of a defendant’s speedy trial rights being violated if the evidence was available from the beginning, but in this case, charges were brought up shortly after the victim died.
Will he go Back to Prison?
This is hard to say for certain because it’s impossible to predict how the case will pan out. That being said, Oceanside criminal attorneys in the same circumstances would try to force the prosecution to prove that Dominick did actually die as a result of the injuries his father inflicted on him. If there is any reasonable doubt that the cause of death was directly related to what Olin did, then he could be found innocent by a jury.
Of course, all it would take for Olin to be found guilty would be a simple confession to the police. Just saying something like “I can’t believe it, I killed my son” would be enough to serve as a confession that would be difficult to have withheld from the court. That is why it is so important to refuse to speak with investigators without an Oceanside child abuse defense lawyer present.
If you have been accused of any crime ranging from assault to domestic violence to murder, do not talk to the police without your attorney present. You can schedule a free initial consultation with Oceanside criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050.