Action is the first order of business when a crime shakes the foundation of a neighborhood or city. Law enforcement agencies move quickly to make an arrest, but defendants sometimes forget an arrest is no guarantee of a conviction. The state must show a crime was committed, down to the letter of the law.

An arrest was made two days after a Baton Rouge man was fatally injured in a nighttime shooting. A neighbor discovered the 21-year-old man, shot in the back, lying on a city street. The man initially appeared to have less-than-critical injuries, but the young father of two later died at a hospital.

According to the victim’s cousin, the man was walking to a convenience store when another man approached from behind. An attempted robbery ended with a short fight and a gunshot. The shooter fled the scene.

Another man said he contacted authorities when the defendant — his friend – shared personal details about the incident a day after the shooting. The 21-year-old city man was arrested and charged with illegal use of a weapon, armed robbery and first-degree murder.

The Advocate reported police arrested three relatives of the defendant, two men and a woman, for trying to intimidate a witness. The family members reportedly sat in vehicles outside the woman’s residence and called the witness at home. The relatives were booked on obstruction of justice charges.

It’s only natural some family members want to do all they can to help a defendant. Putting matters into your own hands as a form of rough justice can make more problems for a defendant. A criminal defense attorney can advise defendants’ families how to be supportive without jeopardizing a case.

Murder charges must be taken very seriously by the defendant and all those who want to assist him or her. Work with, not against, a lawyer to secure a dismissal or reduction of charges.

Source: The Advocate, “Arrest made as community mourns slaying of 21-year-old” Daniel Bethencourt, Oct. 17, 2014