Tuesday’s arrest of McDowell may have brought Moyers’ family and fellow law enforcement officers a step closer to justice, but this is just the beginning of a long legal process.
According to the Nassau County sheriff, McDowell shot Moyers twice Friday morning during a traffic stop — once in the face and once in the back. Moyers died Sunday of his injuries.
Criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor John Rockwell says that if McDowell is found guilty of first-degree murder, he could be executed.
Rockwell says first-degree murder is planned, and second-degree murder is “heat of the moment.”
Rockwell says McDowell could also be executed if the court finds the shooting happened while he was in the process of committing another crime.
McDowell’s history as a Marine veteran complicates the case. His father said his son has PTSD. When the shooting happened, a train with lights and flashers was approaching, according to the sheriff.
“I think that’s a good point,” Rockwell said. “And that’s why I raised at the beginning, is this really a second-degree murder case? Or is it a first-degree murder case?”
He says the public should know in the coming weeks whether a grand jury charges McDowell with first-degree murder —punishable by death — or second-degree murder.
Rockwell says that if this case goes to trial, he doesn’t expect it to go before a jury for at least two years.
The state attorney’s office says they’re not releasing anything publicly right now.