If a shooting victim dies 25 years later, can the shooter be tried for murder?

1997 gun violence victim succumbs to injuries
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 1:20 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - In 1997 LaVette Miller was shot in the stomach, leaving her paralyzed for the rest of her life. Her shooter, Jimmy O. Brown, was tried and convicted of felonious assault. 25 years later Miller died at Toledo Hospital from sepsis according to the coroner. The death was ruled a homicide, leading some to wonder if Brown could be tried for murder.

Shawn Clark, Executive Director of 1Matters, is friends and worked with Miller for years.

Clark said Miller never let being paralyzed hold her back in life.

“One time Lavette, she had a job, of all things at a podiatrist office. She rode to work in her wheelchair. It didn’t matter the weather she fought it and she got where she needed to b She is missed. She is missed more than words can express,” said Clark.

Local attorney Joshua Williams said defendants can and have been held accountable for victims dying from injuries years later.

“The question that is important is whether or not you can prove that the cause of the death is a result of the injuries that were inflicted at the time of the accident,” said Williams.

“So you can’t have someone that was shot 20 years ago, and in 2022 they die of COVID and you try to charge the person for murder in the shooting. It has to be directly related to the injuries that were suffered,” Williams said.

William added that people need to remember that actions have consequences, and sometimes those actions follow you.

“Given the uptick in violence that we’ve seen in Toledo and in Lucas County, we want to make all residents aware that when you engage in gun violence it stays with you for the rest of your life. That bullet that you fired can have consequences decades down the road. Even if you change your life and become a better citizen when death occurs when it because of injuries that occurred way back when you’re on the hook for it,” Williams said.

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