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When two alleged perpetrators are arrested for homicide in connection with a fight, each defendant must carefully go over the facts with his or her separate criminal defense counsel. That will allow counsel to evaluate which of the accused suspects may be the more culpable of the two. In Oklahoma, police recently arrested two men and charged them with the homicide of a third man with whom they resided.

The Oklahoma City police arrested an 18-year-old male and a 31-year-old male for homicide in connection with the beating death of a 40-year-old male with whom they resided. All three men lived together at a Grand Boulevard address, where the police found the decedent beaten and suffering trauma to his face. The man died later at a local hospital.

The younger defendant is reportedly the nephew of the decedent. He reportedly told witnesses that he and the other defendant had gotten into a fight with the victim and that the other defendant beat the victim to death by slamming his head repeatedly into the concrete in front of the house. It is also reported that the younger suspect told police a similar account of the co-defendant shoving the victim’s head into the concrete.

Counsel for the younger man will want to act quickly to establish that the defendant was either fully or partially an innocent bystander. Even if he was also arguing with the decedent, he is not guilty of homicide if he did not encourage, support, or participate in the physical assault, or otherwise assist the co-defendant in any way. In Oklahoma and elsewhere, criminal responsibility for homicide must be based on more than merely watching while someone else kills a victim in one’s presence