Miami-Dade jurors on Friday night acquitted an accused gas station thief facing a murder rap after his pal was shot to death in 2006 by a county cop in Northwest Miami-Dade.
Daniel Coleman, 45, had been charged with second-degree felony murder and burglary to an unoccupied structure.
''He is a free man,'' said defense attorney Jonathan Meltz.
Prosecutors maintained Coleman and Walter Herbert White, 48, nearly ran their van over a Miami-Dade officer after stealing snacks from the Shell station at Northwest 79th Street and 22nd Avenue in November 2006.
The officer fired at the van, fatally striking White, the driver. Under state law, someone who commits certain felonies -- in this case, burglary to an unoccupied structure -- can be charged with murder if someone dies during the crime.
How does this story impact on our discussions about Tony Curtis Phillips? Does it mean that when it comes to a jury of his peers, chances are he'll get off too? Does it mean that in some cases juries don't think punishing a criminal to the full extent of the law is necessary?
I have to admit, I found this a surprising verdict. How about you?
One thing I noticed is similar in both cases, the fatal shooting was supposed to have been in response to the vehicle nearly running over the shooter. That lights up the sceptical part of my brain; it sounds too convenient. I suspect, granted with no evidence to go on, that both shootings were excessive actions and both shooters claimed the part about the vehicle trying to run them down to justify. What do you think?
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