FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
appeal from the Circuit Court for Okaloosa County. Michael
Thomas, Public Defender, and Courtenay H. Miller, Assistant
Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Robert "Charlie"
Lee, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
was convicted of attempted first-degree murder for shooting
her husband in the back after an argument. She raises four
issues on appeal, including a claim that the trial court
erred in excluding evidence that she suffered from
battered-spouse syndrome (BSS). We affirm because this
evidence was immaterial to Appellant's defense that the
shooting was an accident.
night of July 26, 2014, Appellant and her husband got into an
argument that turned violent. Appellant had been drinking
(she said she had two rum-and-cokes; he said she had as many
as five), and the husband claimed that she was the aggressor.
However, the husband admitted that during the argument, he
held Appellant down on the bed, pushed her to the floor, and
took her cell phone and threw it against the wall.
the husband's son intervened in the argument, Appellant
left the house and went across the street to a neighbor's
house. When the neighbor did not answer the door, Appellant
went back to her house and demanded her keys from the husband
who was standing on the front porch about 25 to 30 feet away
from Appellant. The husband told her to come get the keys,
but she pulled a gun (a Ruger .380-caliber semi-automatic
pistol with a laser sight) from her shorts, pointed it at the
husband, and told him to throw her the keys. The husband
underhand-tossed the keys towards Appellant and they landed 3
to 4 feet in front of her. He then turned around and closed
the glass front door behind him as he went back inside the
according to Appellant's testimony, as she bent down to
pick up the keys with her left hand, the gun that she was
holding in her right hand accidentally discharged. She could
not remember if her finger was on the trigger, but she
testified that she "absolutely [did] not"
intentionally pull the trigger and that she was not aiming at
anything when the gun went off. The bullet discharged from
the gun went through the glass front door and struck the
husband in the lower back. The husband made it to the
son's room where he collapsed on the floor and told the
son to lock the door and call 911.
Appellant retrieved the keys and went to her car. She put the
gun in the center console of the car, but she did not
immediately leave. Instead, she went back into the house
(without the gun) to look for her glasses, wallet, and phone.
When she was unable to find these items, she took the
husband's phone and wallet from the master bedroom. Then,
she left the house and drove away in her car. She was
apprehended by the police a short time later.
was charged with attempted first-degree murder with a
firearm. She filed a notice of intent to rely on BSS evidence
under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.201 and amended
the notice three times. Although the trial court found the
third-amended notice to be "legally sufficient, "
the court granted the State's motion to strike the notice
and precluded Appellant from presenting the BSS evidence at
trial. The court did not explain its rationale for striking
the notice, except to note that the notice contained
unspecified "defects" that could not be cured
through further amendment.
trial, Appellant's theory of defense was that she
brandished the gun in self-defense, but that the shooting was
an accident. The jury was instructed on both justifiable use
of deadly force and excusable attempted homicide, and during
closing argument, defense counsel repeatedly-at least 15
times-described the shooting as an accident.
jury apparently rejected Appellant's claim that the
shooting was an accident because it found her guilty as
charged. The trial court sentenced Appellant to 35 years in
prison with a 25-year mandatory minimum based on the
jury's finding ...