Jody Gordon, age 41, surrendered himself to police in regards to the shooting death of a 9 year old girl in Davie, Florida. Gordon is accused of opening fire on the girl’s mother, another woman, and four children as they tried to flee the Stirling Apartment complex. Gordon is presently being held without bond.
The girl was struck in the head by one of the bullets and later died at Joe Dimaggio Children’s Hospital.
According to news reports, Gordon has a history of domestic violence complaints. Supposedly, four different women have filed for protection from domestic violence over the past three years. These allegations include placing ex-girlfriends in choke holds, threats to slash tires, and other general threats of violence.
In one episode with an ex-girlfriend, Gordon allegedly grabbed a golf club and said he knows “why that man on the news killed his whole family” and then threw the golf club into a television set.
As a criminal defense lawyer who use to work as a domestic violence prosecutor, I have a very important insight into the role this history will play with prosecutors. First, I can tell you that hearing of this history will alarm any prosecutor interested in doing a diligent job.
That means Gordon’s case is going to get special attention and be handled with extreme focus.
Second, there is a concern that he is the type of person who will re-offend. In fact, prosecutors will look at these allegations and consider them a re-offfense. They will not look at Gordon and see a person who is a first time offender who may have acted out of character or with extremely poor judgment in a passionate moment.
Third, this case involves a like offense. Put simply, prosecutors will look at Gordon and see a violent man who needs to be locked up for a long time to protect the public.
Regardless, there are a number of ways to defend a case of this type, but a solid defense always starts with a thorough investigation. For instance, defense lawyers will need to conduct their own independent investigation of these past domestic violence allegations to determine what is true, what is false, and what is exaggerated.
Even though this case seems to present an offender with a pattern, minimizing that pattern so that it reflects the truth and not an exaggerated form of the truth is essential.
Hopefully Gordon will have the intelligence to remain silent while in custody and not provide any statements to police. Sometimes even the most defensible case is destroyed when the accused decides to open his mouth in his own defense and try talking his way out of the situation.
Regardless, I feel terrible for that family and for the little girl that lost her life over something she didn’t even understand. One way or another, I am sure justice will be served in this case.