UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA STUDENT ARRESTED ON CAMPUS FOR GUN AND DRUG CHARGES

19 YEAR OLD MALE STUDENT ARRESTED

A college student was arrested by the University of North Florida Police Department after a victim and witness reported Cage William Edwards had threatened the victim with a gun.  The recently released Arrest and Booking sheet gives details into the investigation and arrest of Edwards on October 20, 2017.  The incident occurred in the dorms located on campus at UNF.  Per the report, the victim states that he heard a knock on his door and when he answered the door the victim observed Edwards standing by the door holding a black semi-automatic handgun.  Upon the victim opening the door, Edwards pointed the handgun at the victim’s chest and pulled the trigger.  The victim describes hearing a clicking sound when the trigger was pulled.

The victim contacted a friend who lives a few rooms down through the social media outlet “Snap-Chat.”  At the victim’s request the friend came over to the victim’s dorm room.  While walking the friend passed by Edwards’ dorm room which had the door open.  The friend observed through the open door, Edwards with a lot of marijuana, money, and a black semi-automatic handgun in plain view on the floor.  After the friend arrived at the victim’s dorm room, the two decided to go to the on campus police station.

Upon arriving at the UNF police station the victim and friend told the officers what had happened and what they had each observed.  Further, the friend stated to the police that Edwards and the friend share “Snap-Chat,” videos online.  The friend was able to provide videos of Edwards smoking marijuana and possessing a black semi-automatic handgun in what appears to be the dorm room Edwards resides in.

UNF PD responded to Edwards’ dorm room and detained him.  Edwards’ gave consent to search the dorm room as well as Edwards’ motor vehicle.  The search revealed Marijuana in Edwards’ front pocket, a black box with marijuana residue, a glass pipe with residue, several baggies with marijuana residue, plastic jars with marijuana residue, several containers with marijuana residue, wax paper with marijuana residue, and a black gun safe.  When asked about the gun safe, Edwards stated that he did not have a key to access the safe.  Per the report, a firearm was not recovered by the Police.

UNF PD interviewed Edwards about the incident.  Pursuant to Florida’s public records law confessions or statements from suspects must be redacted.  It appears Edwards denied having the gun or anything illegal on campus when asked twice by the authorities.  The next part is redacted, which leads one to believe that some form of confession was made regarding either the marijuana or gun involved in the case.  It appears Edwards gave the name of “Yobi” as being a student at UNF, but not living on campus.  It is not clear at this time as to what “Yobi’s” involvement in the case is, or if a “Yobi” actually exists.

What is also not clear based on the report is any motive or explanation for Edwards’ actions.  It is unclear if the victim knows Edwards, or if there had been an ongoing dispute between Edwards and the victim.

After the search and interviews Edwards was arrested for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Possession of Less than 20 grams of Cannabis (Marijuana), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

GUN CHARGES TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY

Gun charges always bring a higher level of attention especially when occurring at a school or college.  Prosecutors will take into account Edwards’ age, the fact the crime took place at an on campus living location, and the multitude of evidence regarding marijuana use or distribution.

To prove the crime of Aggravated Assault the State of Florida will be required to prove that Edwards intentionally and unlawfully threatened, either by word or act, to do violence to the victim and at the time Edwards appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat.  Further, it must be proven that the act created in the mind of the victim a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place.  The final element the State must prove is that the assault was made with a deadly weapon.

Analyzing the facts contained within the police report and applying them to the law one can easily determine how the State of Florida will attempt to prove their case against Edwards.  Discussing the first two elements the State will certainly argue that the act of knocking on a door and once the knock is answered pointing a handgun at someone’s chest and pulling the trigger is certainly a threat by act to do violence to the victim.  The simple act of pointing the gun and pulling the trigger will be argued that the defendant had the ability to carry out the threat of causing violence to the victim.  Although not dictated in the report, it is almost certain that the act created a well-founded fear in the victim’s mind that violence was about to take place, proving the third element.  The third element will attempted to be proven by the State of Florida simply asking the victim, “How did you feel when the gun was pointed at you?”

In the State of Florida it is well established that a gun is a deadly weapon.  The interesting part about this case is how does the State of Florida prove that Edwards actually used a deadly weapon to commit the crime.  Surely the description given by the victim about hearing “a gun being racked,” the physical description of the gun itself, and the clicking sound when the trigger was pulled will come into play.  Further the description of the handgun by the friend who observed it in plain view when passing by will be utilized by the State.  Perhaps, the strongest evidence that can be used against Edwards will be the fact that a “gun safe” was located within his dorm room coupled with videos showing Edwards possessing a black handgun and marijuana from within his dorm room.

To prove the videos were taken in the dorm room law enforcement would likely photograph of film the inside of Edwards’ dorm room.  If there are any distinguishing items on the wall or distinct pieces of furniture in the background of the “Snap-Chat” videos that would distinguish Edwards’ room from another will certainly be needed to the State to argue the videos given to law enforcement did in fact occur within Edwards’ dorm room.  It is becoming a common theme that police officers are able to make their cases stronger using social media.  Social Media  not only helps assist in identifying individuals committing crimes, but as in the instant case, help prove essential elements, like possession of a deadly weapon.

The State of Florida will certainly conduct their own interviews of the victim and witness in the case.  The credibility of a witness jury instructions will come into play when evaluating the strengths of the witnesses testimony.  Often times a prosecutor will elect to meet with victims and witnesses of violent crimes so that he or she may weigh the credibility of the witnesses with their own eyes rather than rely on police reports or a phone call.

 

Have You Been Charged with a Serious Criminal Offense or Gun Crime in Florida?

Please give the Forbess Law Firm, 904-634-0900, a call for a free consultation.   Our firm, as well as most other established North Florida criminal defense attorneys,  handles violent felony charges including gun charges as well narcotics and drug cases on a daily basis in Duval (Jacksonville), Nassau, Clay, Baker, St. Johns, Bradford, Volusia, Flagler, Putnam  and other surrounding counties.  Further, upon the arrest of yourself or a loved one, our law firm is always available to argue for a reasonable bond in First Appearance Court and our office is conveniently located within two blocks of the Duval County Jail.  We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to represent you and your loved ones.

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