By Kenneth Lewis

Lawrence Antonio Mitchell, 43, is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail without bail on a charge of second-degree murder with a firearm after his recent arrest, three days after the shooting that left 28-year-old Troy Nichols dead in Riviera Beach. Mitchell is being described as an angry boyfriend. A witness said Nichols tried to buy Mitchell’s girlfriend a drink, angering him and setting off an argument. Mitchell’s girlfriend later confirmed to police that a man “approached her and asked what she drinking.” The argument spilled into the parking lot and a second witness, who tried to calm the men down, saw Mitchell pull a handgun from his waistband before cocking it and firing it in Nichols’ direction, the police report continues.


A third witness told police the men were arguing because Nichols had talked to Mitchell’s girlfriend, and the witness reportedly heard a gunshot after seeing Mitchell pull out the handgun. A fourth witness, who was inside the Sands Hotel, walked outside after hearing the gunshot.

Second-degree murder with a firearm The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree and constitutes a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in  Florida Statutes. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. The charge is enhanced under s. 775.087 because of the use of a firearm and carries with it a minimum mandatory sentence of no less than 25 years.

At Smith and Eulo we defend all murder charges. While the facts of the case seem bleak for Mr. Mitchell the most important thing that is not mentioned within the media accounts is what was going on in the mind of Mr. Mitchell when he fired the shot. If there was something Mr. Nichols said or did at the time the shot was fired to place Mr. Mitchell in fear of death or great bodily harm this is not as open and shut a case as it would seem. Often things happen so fast, and witnesses are impeded by vantage point, alcohol or other factors that make their accounts incomplete or inaccurate. Our defense focus would be on what Mr. Mitchell perceived at the time of the shooting which might enable us to pursue a defense on what is known as Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. The law enacted in 2005 as outlined in Sections 776.012, and 776.013, Florida Statutes, expands the scope of a self-defense claim traditionally available in a criminal case by eliminating the “duty of retreat” imposed at common law and allowing the justified use of self defense if the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm.

If you or a family member find yourself charged with a crime, do not hesitate to contact the experienced lawyers of The Smith and Eulo law firm at 352-WIN-4YOU. for your FREE consultation.