A woman accused of fatally shooting her neighbor through a closed door earlier this month will not face murder charges, Florida officials said.
The state will instead charge Susan Lorincz with one count of manslaughter with a firearm and one count of assault, State Attorney Bill Gladson said in a statement released Monday.
Lorincz, a 58-year-old White woman from Marion County, is accused of killing her Black neighbor, Ajike “AJ” Owens after Owens repeatedly knocked on her door. Investigators have said Lorincz became angry because several neighborhood children, including Owens’ children, were playing near her home.
The Owens family previously told CNN Lorincz harassed Owens and her children and used racial slurs toward them prior to the killing.
One of Owens’ young sons witnessed the shooting.
Lorincz could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted in the June 2 shooting, according to Gladson’s statement. Lorincz’s attorney had no comment on the charges, she told CNN, but an attorney for members of the Owens family said they were disappointed by the decision not to charge Lorincz with murder.
“(Lorincz) deserves all 30 years of that 30-year maximum sentence,” attorney Anthony Thomas said during a news conference Tuesday.
The state attorney’s office “carefully examined the viability of both second-degree murder and manslaughter with a firearm, both first-degree felonies,” Gladson said in his statement.
Charging Lorincz with murder would require the state to prove Lorincz had a “depraved mind” at the time of the shooting, the statement said.
“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,” Gladson’s statement read. “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.”
Lorincz told police she did not mean to hit Owens and was frightened for her own life, according to an arrest affidavit. She admitted using racial slurs against neighborhood children in the past, the affidavit says.