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Supreme Court to decide if car can be 'weapon'

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The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear an appeal about whether a car can be considered a weapon in a criminal case.

Justices issued an order saying they will take up the appeal filed by Adam Lloyd Shepard, who was convicted on a charge of manslaughter with a weapon after fatally striking another man with a car following an altercation at a Duval County bar.

The 1st District Court of Appeal in October upheld the conviction, prompting Shepard to go to the Supreme Court.

Under state law, the use of a weapon bumped up a manslaughter charge from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony.

Shepard challenged the reclassification of the crime to a first-degree felony based on the car being considered a “weapon.”

While the 1st District Court of Appeal rejected Shepard's argument, it acknowledged that its conclusion differed from a ruling in a separate case in the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

The Shepard case stemmed from a 2011 incident in which Shepard got into an altercation with another man at a sports bar while watching a basketball game.

Shepard was convicted of hitting the man with a car in a parking lot and leaving the scene, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruling said.

The Supreme Court did not immediately set a date to hear arguments in the case.

Shepard, now 37, is an inmate at Cross City Correctional Institution, according to the Florida Department of Corrections website.