A University of Florida student has been charged with the murder of his friend, even though the body of his friend has not been recovered.
Believe it or not, you can be charged with murder even if no body has been recovered. Circumstantial evidence can be used to prove that a murder occurred, even if no physical body is available.
I have tried no-body homicide cases. They are constructed on statements of the accused, as well as circumstantial actions that could lead a jury to believe that a murder occurred, even though there is no physical proof of a crime (the body).
In this case, the UF student allegedly purchased a shovel and duct tape prior to the disappearance of the alleged victim. The accused was initially charged with depriving a victim of medical treatment after he admitted to police that he beat up the alleged victim and left him in the woods.
Since authorities cannot find the alleged victim, they believe that he is dead. Based upon the circumstances, they have charged the accused with the alleged victim's murder.
Eric Matheny is a Miami criminal attorney and Broward criminal attorney.