Police in Coral Springs have made an arrest in connection with a 2007 murder. The alleged victim was a Broward County businessman whose body was found in Palm Beach County.
Since this is a case of first-degree (premeditated murder), a grand jury had to formally indict the accused in order for charges to be filed. The grand jury indicted the accused with one count of first-degree murder, and count of armed kidnapping.
Reports so far do not go into great detail as to what evidence led police to the suspect. This case had gone cold but an investigation remained open after the Coral Springs Police Department pumped a good deal of money into reigniting the investigation.
Police believe that the alleged victim was murdered in Broward County and then the remains were transported to Palm Beach County. Since the case was filed in Broward County, Broward prosecutors must be able to prove that the crime occurred in Broward County or else the court will lack the proper jurisdiction in which to hear the case.
Cold cases can be difficult to prove. A great deal of time has passed since the crime allegedly took place. Witnesses may no longer be available. Physical evidence may have become contaminated and can no longer be used in court, tested, or inspected by defense experts. Cold cases present a lot of problems in terms of proof.
But that doesn't mean that prosecutors can't convict. Cold cases receive a special degree of attention from prosecutors whereby office resources are used to fly in out-of-state witnesses and use expensive techniques to re-test old physical evidence.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense lawyer serving South Florida.