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Virginian teen charged with second degree murder

Being charged with a serious crime can be traumatizing at any age. When a young Virginian faces criminal charges, the experience can negatively affect them for the rest of their lives. It is also important to remember that a teen charged with a juvenile crime do not deserve a lifetime of consequences.

One 15-year-old Virginia boy is facing charges of second degree murder after he killed his mother's boyfriend. Police responded to a home where the 37-year-old man was found dead. The man and the boy's mother argued earlier that day, and the man allegedly became physically violent.

After watching his mother get attacked, the boy allegedly retrieved a semiautomatic firearm from another place in the home and shot the man multiple times. The boy's mother was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

A law enforcement officer stated, under Virginia law, all homicides fall under the category of second degree murder. A petition was filed for the teen's arrest. The Commonwealth's Attorney will conduct a full investigation and decide whether to raise, lessen or dismiss the charge.

Defending against second degree murder charges is possible. In order for someone to be found guilty, the prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the killing. While the burden of proof is on the prosecution, the defense can help their case by raising a doubt about their guilt in the minds of the jury.

In addition, claiming actual innocence by presenting an alibi is one way to challenge the prosecution's claims. Self-defense may also be a viable defense, depending on the circumstances. Insanity is a less frequently used defense and may not protect the defendant from all charges, but still may be helpful.

The key is poking holes in the prosecutor's case. This could protect a young person from the severe consequences that stem from criminal charges, like jail time, fines and a permanent mark against them.

Source: CBS News, "Police: Va. teen charged for killing man attacking his mom," March 10, 2016

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