By Rose Hernandez
Last week a Deland Dollar General employee was accused of pouring bleach into his coworker’s drink, so if you ever needed a reminder to never leave your drink unattended, this is it. In order to prove the poisoning charge, the State will have to prove (1) the accused introduced a poison or chemical compound (e.g., bleach) into food, drink, or any product designed to be ingested (e.g., Pepsi); and (2) the accused did so with the intent to kill or injure another person.
The State’s key pieces of evidence will be the surveillance video and the accused’s own statements that he put bleach around the rim of the drink to get back at his co-worker. There is always the chance the surveillance video does not capture what the police claim it does, or that the quality of the video is too poor to decipher what it shows. However, the Defendant’s own statements can and will be used against him.
The only way the accused’s statements cannot be used in this context is if the State is unable to prove Corpus Delecti, or in other words, that a crime happened to begin with. However, the fact that bleach was found in a Pepsi drink to begin with, certainly points to a crime. Now, die-hard Coca-Cola fans might say Pepsi is not fit for human consumption, but a court of law will most likely disagree. Furthermore, it will be difficult for the accused to argue he was unaware that bleach is not to be consumed.
Had the accused invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, there might be more to work with here. This is a prime example of why it is so important to invoke your rights and to refrain from speaking with the police without an attorney present. I cannot emphasize enough how important that is. So, when it comes to dealing with difficult co-workers, hear me out, stay away from the bleach. Maybe just stick to posting passive-aggressive notes on the office fridge.
Have questions about your specific situation? Give us a call to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys.