Recently, the Sun Sentinel reported on a bar fight in Pompano Beach that unfortunately turned fatal.
About two weeks ago, a man was seriously injured in a Pompano Beach bar fight.
The alleged victim had been on life support since Sept. 6.
Since the alleged victim died, charges against the man accused of striking him have been upgraded from felony battery to manslaughter. The accused is being held without bond.
According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, the two men were arguing until the bartender asked both of them to leave.
As they exited, the alleged victim reportedly approached the accused. At that point, the accused allegedly struck the alleged victim, who fell and hit his head on the ground.
This will not likely be a case of self-defense unless it can be shown that the accused was in fear for his life when the alleged victim approached. The success of this defense would depend on the testimonies of eyewitnesses. If eyewitnesses claim that the alleged victim approached the accused in an aggressive manner, then the accused's use of force may be lawful.
The key is the actual use of force. The allegation is that the accused hit the alleged victim, who fell and hit his head on the floor. The accused did not use a weapon nor did he act in a manner that shows he intended to kill. That's why the charge is manslaughter and not murder.
It is clear that the accused did not intend to kill, but that may not matter. Manslaughter only requires that the State prove that the victim is dead and that the victim died as a result of an act by the defendant.
However, if the accused did act in self-defense, then it will not matter what the charge is. Florida's Stand Your Ground Law (which permits you to "meet force with force") is a defense to all charges, no matter how severe.