The Sun Sentinel reports that one person was killed and four others suffered stab wounds early Sunday after a fight broke out in a Fort Lauderdale bar.
What started as an argument between a patron and the bartender escalated into a barroom brawl involving several people, according to police.
The deceased is a 54-year old man from Fort Lauderdale.
The suspect has been taken into custody. He is presently in the hospital, being treated for his own injuries. After he is discharged, he will likely be taken to jail where he will be held no bond pending murder charges.
I believe that since the murder occurred during a fight, he will be charged with one count of second degree murder for the death of the patron, and possibly aggravated battery charges for the stabbings of the other patrons.
While all of the facts have not yet been released, it is unclear at this point whether this is a case of self-defense, at least with respect to the deceased patron. It is unclear whether the accused was provoked or threatened in any way.
Florida is a Stand Your Ground jurisdiction, meaning that you can meet lethal force or a reasonable threat of lethal force with lethal force. However, these cases are highly fact-specific. The accused would have had to have been threatened with deadly force for him to pull a knife and use it.
Regardless, it is important for this accused person to retain a criminal defense attorney to prepare the best defense possible to these very serious felony charges. Most murder cases go to trial, so it is important that a detailed investigation be conducted.
Never judge a book by its cover. From what we can glean from the papers, it sounds as if this person went on a drunken murderous rampage. We do not know yet whether his life was threatened and he had no choice but to use deadly force.
That is why all people are presumed innocent. We just don't know the whole story until it is proven by the State of Florida.
Eric Matheny represents people accused of crimes in Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to discuss your case.
Fishtales is located near the beach, just west of A1A, across from Galt Ocean Mile. "A very friendly place," reads a banner on the bar's website. "We know how to have fun."
Larry Blacke, president of the North Beach Restaurants and Shoppes, an association of local merchants, said the slaying was not good news for a neighborhood that he said was becoming "a new hot spot in town."
"We have worked hard to get this neighborhood up again, and this would be an unfortunate setback," he said. "I hope this is an isolated incident."