Jack Furlong, a criminal trial attorney, talks with Erik Kuselias about the next step in the Aaron Hernandez case.
I don’t think this attorney knows what he is talking about vis-à-vis a federal prosecution. He stated that if Lloyd’s killing “was a murder of a witness or someone who knew something about the  murder[s], then this case becomes potentially a death penalty case in a federal proceeding.” He then says “This case . . . went across state lines repeatedly between Florida, Connecticut and Massachusetts. It could go federal in a heartbeat.”
As to Furlong’s first statement, Lloyd’s killing could be a federal crime if he was a potential witness to the 2012 homicides, but only if the 2012 homicides were themselves in some way a federal crime. Is there any evidence that they were? From the information we have, it sounds as if the 2012 killings resulted from a spat at a nightclub. It’s not a federal crime to kill someone under those circumstances.
As to Furlong’s second statement, what does he mean that “th[e] case went across state lines?” As far as I know, the crossing of state lines makes a killing a federal murder in only three instances: interstate murder for hire (18 USC § 1858(a)), murder in relation to an interstate kidnapping (18 USC § 1201(a)(1)), and travelling in interstate commerce to kill “a spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner” (18 USC § 2261(a)(1)). Simply crossing state lines and then killing someone is not a federal crime. Since none of these three statutes seems to apply, and since all the victims were killed in Mass., I don’t know what it means to say that the “th[e] case went across state lines.”
While many television commentators blow a lot of hot air, I think Mr. Furlong knows what he is talking about. I’ve practiced federal criminal law for 20 years, and I can tell you that Congress has enacted at least 60 statutes where “causing the death of another” can be an element of the offense. There are several statutes which provide that if a person is killed while the killer/defendant is committing another federal felony offense, federal jurisdiction exists over the murder itself. One such statute, 18 U.S.C. 924 permits the federal government to prosecute killings that occur during a crime of violence which involved the use of a firearm and is death penalty eligible. Of course, the crime of violence must be a federal offense, but I can assure you many federal crimes of violence find their jurisdictional hook in the fact that the offense involved interstate travel/commerce.
Yes, I realize that there are many different federal statutes criminalizing killings. I have written several law review articles addressing the subject. But given the facts that we have, can you cite a single federal statute that criminalizes the killings that took place here, which were entirely intra-state?
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