Florida officials have declined to pursue murder charges against Susan Lorincz, the 58-year-old woman who is accused of fatally shooting her Black neighbor, Ajike "AJ" Owens.
On Monday (June 26), State Attorney Bill Gladson announced that Lorincz, who is white, will not be facing murder charges in Owens' shooting death due to the "insufficient evidence," per CNN. She has been charged with one count of manslaughter with a firearm and one count of assault, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Lorincz shot Owens through a closed door of her home earlier this month after she knocked on the door, according to the victim's attorneys. Before the fatal incident unfolded, investigators said Lorincz had become angry at Owens' children, who were playing near her home. Owens' family said Lorincz harassed the children and called them racial slurs before the mother's killing.
The woman claimed she didn't mean to shoot Owens and that she was frightened for her life.
Gladson said his office “carefully examined the viability of both second-degree murder and manslaughter with a firearm, both first-degree felonies.” However, the state would have to prove that Lorincz had a "depraved mind" at the time of the shooting in order to charge her with murder, according to a statement from the office.
“As deplorable as the defendant’s actions were in this case, there is insufficient evidence to prove this specific and required element of second-degree murder,” the statement reads. “While some may not agree with that decision, I can assure you that the decision was thoughtful and made without consideration of any factors other than the specific facts of this terrible crime.”
Gladson noted his office “will do all it can to seek justice for Ms. Owens and her family.”