Part 1 of 2
We here at the Broward County Criminal Law firm of Berman and Tsombanakis LLC are asking the following questions: What if Rudy Eugene had lived? What crime(s) would he have been charged with? Would the claims of mental illness and drug addiction have played any role in his defense?
Early on the morning of Saturday, May 26, 2012, Miami Beach and many other South Florida police departments were focused on Urban Beach Weekend and the projected violence they thought it would bring. Just minutes from the beach, on the McArthur Causeway, a gruesome act of violence was occurring. A crime that would send shock waves through the South Florida community and is now making headlines all over the world.
On the side of the Causeway, two homeless men were naked near the Miami Herald Building. Upon arrival, the police found Eugene viciously attacking the other homeless man, Ronald Poppo. As the police approached, they discovered that Eugene was eating the face of Poppo. The police ordered Eugene to stop and he refused. The police then fired a warning shot in the air & again ordered him to stop and he did not. Witnesses say he continued to eat the man’s flesh. The police later stated that they had no choice but to shoot him & subsequently he died.
There have been discussions about whether Eugene was on LSD or some other mix of drugs. Many are at a lost for words when trying to explain what would lead a person to attack someone so violently. His family and friends have stated that this was not the person that they knew and loved. According to the Miami Herald, Eugene’s stepfather, Melimon Charles of North Miami, said Eugene “is not the kind of devil who goes out and kills people like they are showing on the news. He’s a fine boy…” The family and friends of Eugene painted a different picture of him than what the officers and witness encountered.
The victim, Ronald Poppo, had lived on the streets for decades and lost touch with his family some 30 plus years ago. In the months before his mauling, he seemed happy despite being homeless. This observation is according to an aspiring photographer who shot pictures of him about a month or so earlier and who was interviewed by theMiami Herald in the month before mauling. The photographer was waiting on his girlfriend to exit a prom at Jungle Island, when he spotted Poppo. He asked Poppo if he could photograph him and had a brief conversation with Poppo as well.
Many people are in a state of panic, now that a similar attack has been reported in Maryland. This time a college student in Maryland is accused of killing his roommate and eating his brain & heart. Alexander Kinyua, a student at Morgan State University has been charged with First Degree Murder for the brutal killing of his roommate, Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie. According to the Baltimore Sun, the roommate was reported missing last Friday. The victims body parts were found in a metal tin in the basement of Kinyua’s father. This horrific event occurred while he was out on bond for assault. He is also accused of beating a man with a baseball bat a few weeks prior. He had exhibited other acts of strange behavior over the past several months and was described by people on campus as “Virginia Tech waiting to happen“.
In Part 2 of this article, we will address in detail, what the possible charges would have been if Rudy Eugene had lived. We will also look at the legal defenses of Insanity and Incompetence. We will address these defenses and whether they could have been relevant to this case.