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Jury convicts man for the murder of his wife

Posted on July 13, 2010 3:00 AM EST

A jury convicted a former social worker's aide for the murder of his wife and the sexual battery of his step daughter in January 2005. Grady Nelson of Miami will face the death penalty for the first degree murder conviction for killing his wife. The defendant was also convicted of sexual battery and attempted first degree murder. The Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge that presided over the trial will also the preside over the sentencing hearing that will occur in a couple of months. The defendant's Miami criminal lawyers will most certainly file a mitigation packet before the sentencing hearing in an effort to stave off the state attorney's office bid for the death penalty. Prior to the sentencing hearing, a pre-sentence investigation report will be created for the sentencing hearing so that the judge and jurors will have a background report to determine whether the death penalty is appropriate.

The defense attorneys representing the defendant will have tough assignment in keeping Nelson from the death penalty. According to prosecutors, the victim was butchered when the defendant stabbed her 61 times. To make matters worse, her throat was slit and knife was found embedded in her head. Defense counsel argued that the defendant just happened upon the body and had nothing to do with the homicide. The sexual battery charges stemmed from the allegation that Nelson was having sex with the victim's mentally incapacitated 11 year-old daughter. The defendant has been previously been in custody for committing a sexual offense against the daughter 2005. The Miami-Dade County State Attorney's office eventually dropped the charges because it is reported that the victim gave inconsistent statements.

After the defendant was arrested for the sexual offense, a judge issued a domestic violence injunction. A domestic injunction is issued in family court by a civil county court judge. In criminal domestic violence cases, judges will issue a stay way order at the bond hearing. A stay away order is issued by a criminal court judge and requires that a defendant have no contact with the victim. An injunction is a separate court case that requires the petitioner to file a petition for issuance of the injunction. The judge will conduct a hearing to determine whether or not an injunction should be issued. If a defendant comes in contact with a defendant after the stay way order is issued, the judge may revoke the bail set at the initial bond hearing and hold the defendant in contempt of court. If an individual violates an injunction by coming in contact with the petitioner, that person can be charged with a second degree felony punishable up to fifteen years in prison.

The best evidence presented by the state at the trial was a taped recorded confession provided by the defendant. Without the confession, it would have been difficult for the state to prove its case. Despite the fact that the defense attorneys representing Nelson argued that the confession was coerced by law enforcement authorities, the twelve person jury agreed to convict him. As in previous articles, it cannot be stressed enough that anyone involved in an investigation should give not provide a statement to the police. In the majority of cases, the strongest piece of evidence that the prosecution present to a jury is a confession provided by the defendant. Always remember, that if you are placed under arrest you have a constitutional right to refuse to speak with law enforcement about your case.

Miami-Dade Jury Deciding Fate of Man Accused of Murdering Wife, The Miami Herald, July 10, 2010.
Categories: Domestic Violence