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On February 10th, 2014 in Broward County, Florida, local officials uncovered the remains of resident Crestony Colin in a flaming four door sedan. The devastating scene began when local firefighters witnessed an inferno coming from a desolate area in Weston, Florida. What was originally believed to be an accidental fire turned out to be an alleged murder, with a 43 year old Fort Worth native being named the prime suspect in the event.
The firefighters, who were originally journeying down US 27, changed routes and headed towards Weston to extinguish the flaming vehicle. Once the fire was out the crew opened the trunk in search of a cause for the arson. What they found instead was a charred corpse, burnt beyond recognition. Medics later determined that the victim in the trunk had died via gunshot wounds, and the vehicle was set ablaze afterwards, possibly as an attempt to destroy the evidence.
Time Sensitive Evidence and Cellular Phone Surveillance
Pieces to the puzzle behind the unfathomable murder were put together rather quickly, but evidence in cases involving murder one charges is often time sensitive. Based on a compilation of phone surveillance, eyewitness reports and burn wounds, Broward County officials have charged Lake Worth native Hiram Gonzalez Morales with murder in the first degree and while Morales has made a few public statements, there has been no word from his criminal defense attorney regarding the accusations.
After the official charges were filed, Morales was arrested and held without bond. During the questioning process investigators reported seeing severe burn wounds on both of his legs. This evidence could fade over time, depending on the severity of the burn, but it is also notable to mention that there are a great number of chemicals and electrical elements that can also cause an individual to suffer a burn injury.
Another piece of evidence that surfaced and is being used to incriminate Morales is cellular phone surveillance which officials claim put him in the area at the time of the crime. Since the suspect doesn’t live very far from the area to begin with, this evidence really only serves to point out the obvious, that Morales was in the vicinity of his home.
The key piece of evidence in this case is the witness testimonials given by friends of the victim. Sources informed officials that 18 year old Colin planned to partake in a major drug meeting, where he stood to gain two or three thousand dollars. Without the assistance of a Broward County criminal defense attorney, Gonzalez, who appeared to be representing himself at the time, admitted to knowing Colin.
Without Gonzalez pointing out his acquaintance with the victim, the rest of the evidence is a bit shallow. The burn wounds are suspicious, but not necessarily incriminating. The fact that a 43 year old man found a friend in an 18 year old drug dealer does seem hard to swallow and it could be the factor the jury focuses their attention on.
About the Author:
Michael D. Leader is a criminal lawyer with Fort Lauderdale law firm Leader & Leader P.A. specializing in all forms of criminal law, Leader and partner George Leader offer years of legal experience and commitment to ethics.