There is no telling what can happen when you mix illegal drugs and guns. An example occurred in Phoenix recently in which a drug deal gone bad led to a shootout resulting in the death of one of the participants, according to police records.
They say that three men were attempting to buy marijuana late last month. During the course of the transaction, one of the buyers first attempted to purchase the drugs using counterfeit currency. His accomplice then pulled a gun and tried to rob the seller of the drugs. Eventually, a gunfight broke out, and one of the buyers was shot and killed. Another person involved in the transaction has been charged with first degree murder and possession of drugs for sale. During the course of the police investigation, 150 pounds of marijuana was reportedly discovered in the apartment where the incident took place.
We thought it would be interesting for our readers to take a look at the first degree murder charge, particularly since there is no allegation that the suspect was responsible for the shot or shots that killed the alleged victim, or even that the suspect was in possession of a firearm during the transaction.
The possession for sale charge, because it involves over four pounds of marijuana, is a class 2 felony under A.R.S. 13-3405B6. But the fact that the charge is a felony does not, in and of itself, answer the question of why the suspect in the case has been charged with first degree murder, or “felony murder.”
The murder charge is the result of the application of A.R.S. 13-1105A2. That section states that a person is guilty of first degree murder if, during the course of the commission (or attempted commission) of certain specifically enumerated offenses, or in immediate flight therefrom, “the person or another person causes the death of any person.” The statute goes on to state that in order to be guilty of the offense, there is no particular mental state required, which means that the person charged with murder need not have intended that the death, or any particular result for that matter, occur. Among the various offenses that are included within the statute, and that can lead to a first degree murder charge, is a death that occurs in connection with the commission or attempted commission of the sale or transfer of marijuana. No particular amount of marijuana is required in order to meet the requirements of this section.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1400
Phoenix, AZ 85004