A Palm Beach Circuit Court judge sentenced a man who had been tried and convicted for his role in a 2008 violent Dunkin' Donuts robbery. The judge sentenced the man to seven consecutive life sentences.
The robbery involved 4 men storming into a Delray Beach Dunkin' Donuts. One of the 4 men opened fire and shot several patrons. The accused - who was convicted of armed robbery with a firearm, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, among other charges - was not the gunman in the robbery. However, under the principal theory, the state can ask a jury to hold a person accountable for the actions of another if the evidence is sufficient to suggest that the accused knew or should have known that the other person would commit the crime. In other words, the jury believed that even though the accused didn't shoot anybody, in his role as a conspirator and participant in the armed robbery, he knew or should have known that one of the 3 other co-defendants would open fire.
Consecutive sentencing means that each life sentence will be served one after the other.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney who handles armed robbery and attempted murder cases in Miami-Dade and Broward.