The man accused of murdering his wife and then posting the photo on Facebook has been denied a bond by the judge after an Arthur Hearing.
Murder - whether second-degree or first-degree - is a non-bondable offense in Florida. That means that the only way that a bond could potentially be set is for the defense to schedule an Arthur Hearing.
At an Arthur Hearing, a judge must examine the evidence in order to determine whether the accused should be granted a bond. The state must meet a standard known as “proof evident, presumption great,” which means that the likelihood of securing a conviction is high.
The hearing is like a non-jury trial with the judge acting as the finder of fact. The state can present evidence, as can the defense, in an effort to persuade the judge that the accused should continue to be held without bond or that the accused should be released.
The judge must also consider whether the accused is a danger to the community.
Only in the rarest of situations is a person charged with murder granted a bond. The defense alleged that the accused shot his wife in self-defense while she was punching and striking him. However, a serious blow was dealt to the defense’s case when the lead detective testified that the alleged victim was shot while in a crouched position. That is, she was likely cowering in fear when he shot her, not actively striking him.
The fact that the accused posted the photo of her dead body on Facebook also evidenced a malicious intent, not a justifiable fear that he had to kill her in order to defend his life.
Remember - lethal self-defense can only be used when you reasonably believe it is absolutely necessary to save your life or prevent serious bodily injury.
Since he lost his Arthur Hearing, the accused will remain in custody pending plea or trial.
Eric Matheny is a Miami criminal attorney and Broward criminal attorney.