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Justices Set Arguments In Car Weapon Case

Apr 12, 2018
Originally published on April 12, 2018 10:23 am

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments June 6 in a dispute about whether a car can legally be considered a weapon.

Justices on Wednesday scheduled the hearing in an appeal by Adam Lloyd Shepard, who was convicted on a charge of manslaughter with a weapon after fatally striking Spencer Schott with a car after leaving a Jacksonville Beach bar in January 2011. 

The men earlier had been in an altercation in the bar. Under state law, the use of a weapon bumped up the manslaughter charge from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony, carrying a longer prison sentence.

After a jury found him guilty of manslaughter, Shepard challenged the reclassification of the crime to a first-degree felony based on the car being considered a “weapon.”

While the 1st District Court of Appeal rejected Shepard's argument, it acknowledged that its conclusion differed from a ruling in a separate case in the 2nd District Court of Appeal. Shepard appealed the issue to the Supreme Court, which said in January that it would take up the dispute.