Many are still processing the latest update in the case involving Susan Lorincz, who fatally shot her neighbor, Ajike “AJ” Owens, on June 2.
On Monday (June 26), a Florida state prosecutor declined to upgrade Lorincz’s current manslaughter with a firearm and assault charge to second-degree murder, CBS News reported. According to William Gladson, a state attorney, his office determined there wasn’t enough evidence to file the charge.
“As deplorable as the defendant’s actions were in this case, there is insufficient evidence to prove this specific and required element of second-degree murder,” Gladson said. “As is always true in criminal cases, failure to prove beyond a reasonable doubt even one element of a crime will result in a not guilty verdict. Given the facts in this case, aiming a firearm at the door and pulling the trigger is legally insufficient to prove depraved mind.”
On the night of the tragic incident, Owens’ children were reportedly playing in a field near Lorincz’s home. When later questioned by police, the 58-year-old claimed she called the children racial slurs and yelled for them to move away from her property. Lorincz also admitted to throwing a pair of roller skates at the kids and striking one of them in the foot.
After being informed of the incident by her children, Owens allegedly walked over to Lorincz’s home to speak with her. Authorities reported a heated exchange occurred at that time, and Lorincz fatally shot Owens in the chest. Along with manslaughter, the Florida homeowner also faces culpable negligence and battery counts. If convicted, she could spend up to 30 years in prison.
“Simply stated, my obligation is to follow the law. Understandably, emotions run high, particularly with senseless, violent crimes. However, I cannot allow any decision to be influenced by public sentiment, angry phone calls, or further threats of violence, as I have received in this case,” Gladson continued. “To allow that to happen would also be improper and a violation of my oath as a prosecutor and as a lawyer.”