Susan Lorincz, the White woman accused of fatally shooting a Black mother who knocked on her door earlier this month, will not face murder charges in connection to the incident, officials in Florida announced, per CNN.
In a news release on Monday, State Attorney, Bill Gladson, explained the state cannot bring murder charges against the 58-year-old woman because of “insufficient evidence.” However, she will be rather charged with one count of manslaughter with a firearm and one count of assault.
As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, Lorincz shot and killed her neighbor, Ajike “AJ” Owens, following a dispute over the deceased Black mother’s children playing in a field close to her Ocala home. Lorincz shot Owens through her closed door after the victim knocked on it.
In the wake of the incident, Marion County Sheriff, Billy Woods, said Owens and her White neighbor had a long-standing “neighborhood feud” about the deceased Black woman’s children, NBC News reported.
Investigators also said Lorincz had taken issue with many children in the neighborhood playing in the area close to her residence. Owens’ family also told the news outlet that the deceased woman and her children had been harassed by Lorincz in the past, adding that the suspect also hurled racial slurs at them before the fatal shooting.
Lorincz, following the shooting, informed police it wasn’t her intention to strike Owens and she feared her life was in danger at the time, an arrest affidavit stated. The White woman, however, admitted to hurling racial slurs at the neighborhood children, the affidavit added, per CNN.
However, Gladson said they declined to file murder charges against Lorincz after they carefully “examined the viability of both second-degree murder and manslaughter with a firearm, both first-degree felonies.” The statement also said that “in order to prove the crime of second-degree murder, the State must prove beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt, the existence of a depraved mind toward the victim at the time of the killing.”
“As deplorable as the defendant’s actions were in this case, there is insufficient evidence to prove this specific and required element of second-degree murder,” the statement added. “While some may not agree with that decision, I can assure you that the decision was thoughtful and made without consideration of any factors other than the specific facts of this terrible crime.”
Gladson, however, said his office “will do all it can to seek justice for Ms. Owens and her family.” Lorincz could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.