Francisco Galvan was in the line of fire when two men started shooting at his car. The shots hit him and his two passengers, fatally wounding one of them. Galvan lived through the experience but now, he faces murder charges for the passenger who was killed by the shots.
How did Galvan go from being at risk of being murdered to being charged with third-degree murder?
On January 7, 2022, Francisco Galvan, 20, got in his car with two others and drove to an apartment complex in Temple Terrace to sell marijuana to an interested buyer. But, the transaction never occurred.
When Galvan’s car pulled up to the apartment, the would-be buyers started shooting at it. The shots hit Galvan and his two passengers. Galvan drove the three injured men to Tampa General Hospital, but it was too late for 18-year-old Ismael Reyers-Barajas. He died from his injuries that day, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
While it is unclear if the person or persons who shot Reyers-Barajas and his passengers have been charged, someone is facing criminal charges in the case — Galvan.
In an unusual turn of events, Galvan is now facing a third-degree murder charge for Reyers-Barajas’ death.
Prosecutors say that because the shooting happened during an attempted drug deal orchestrated by Galvan, Galvan is partially to blame for Reyers-Barajas death.
What Is Third Degree Murder?
Florida is only one of three states that have third-degree murder laws. Pennsylvania and Minnesota are the other two states.
In Florida, third-degree murder is outlined under Florida Statutes Section 782.04. It is described as the unintentional killing of a person while committing or attempting a non-violent felony.
The penalty is up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.
Galvin’s arrest report states the shooting was, “committed during the commission of a felony that (Galvan) was involved in.” Because Reyers-Barajas was killed while Galvan was committing a crime, prosecutors say Galvan is in some way responsible for the death.
Third-degree murder does not require intent the way that first and second-degree murder charges do. In most cases, a death caused by the unintentional act of another person is considered a manslaughter charge, but not in this case.
Third Degree Murder vs. Manslaughter: What’s the Difference?
When a death is caused by neglect rather than malicious intent, it is often considered a manslaughter charge, not a murder charge.
Manslaughter is defined under Florida Statutes Section 782.07. It refers to situations where:
- Someone intentionally completed an act that led to the death of another person.
- Someone persuaded or encouraged another person to complete an act that led to that person’s death.
- Someone was culpably negligent which led to the death of another person.
Manslaughter charges typically apply to situations where someone caused another person’s death but they had no prior intent on killing the other person.
In this case, it appears that Galvin had no intent to kill Reyers-Barajas. But because Glavin was engaging in criminal behavior during Reyers-Barajas’ death, he may face the more serious charge of third-degree murder.
If convicted, the third-degree murder charge will hold more weight on Galvin’s record. But, the potential sentencing for both third-degree murder and manslaughter is the same.
They both hold the potential for 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.
The Importance of Working with a Top Criminal Defense Attorney
Multiple crimes were in motion on January 7, 2022. Galvan was planning to commit the crime of selling illegal drugs, but instead, he now faces charges for a much more serious crime — a shooting he did not commit but may be responsible for.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are facing minor or serious criminal charges, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Both misdemeanors and felonies have the potential to change your life and lead to fines, probation, and jail time.
Do not face a criminal charge on your own. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you get the best possible outcome for your situation. If you are facing criminal charges, contact TJ Grimaldi today to see how our team can help you navigate your situation and get the most just outcome. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023.