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Prince George County authorities charge second man in murder

A second man has been charged with murder following a domestic dispute in Bowie, Maryland. According to reports, Prince George County prosecutors charged a 31-year-old man with first-degree murder in the death of Michael Reese. The 31-year-old is being held in Washington on an unrelated charge. He is awaiting extradition to Maryland where he will be prosecuted in an Upper Marlboro court.

His criminal defense may center on the role played by a second person previously charged with both first and second-degree murder in Reese's death. Police believe the 31-year-old, who is accused of walking into the home of his ex-girlfriend and shooting Reese, received assistance from the first person charged in the case. Future proceedings will likely shed more light on what exactly transpired.

Crimes like murder often lead to long prison sentences for the party who is ultimately held criminally responsible. However, criminal law opens the doors to charges not just for the person who committed the crime but for others who may have been tangentially involved. Being present during the commission of a crime or associating with someone after a crime has been committed can open a person up to criminal penalties, including jail time. But prosecutors have specific elements they must prove to get a conviction for accessory liability. One of the most important elements is criminal intent.

Innocent individuals associated with a criminal should not be lumped in and sentenced for a crime they were not aware of. But presenting a defense to these types of charges requires a great deal of focus.

Source: CBS Baltimore, "Second Man Charged in Bowie Slaying," Oct, 3, 2013

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