The family members of one of the two people who were killed in a cannibalistic “face biting” attack in Martin County in 2016 filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the perpetrator, who they accuse of being a binge drinker and drug user who purchased a switchblade at a gun and knife show the day before the attack occurred.
The 21-year-old man from Jupiter faces first-degree murder charges in connection to the incident that occurred August 15, 2016. It led to the deaths of 53-year-old Michelle Mishcon and her 59-year-old husband, John Stevens, in their garage. When deputies arrived at the scene, the then-19-year-old was on top of Stevens’ body, biting his face and making animalistic sounds.
Now, Mishcon’s family has a pending wrongful death lawsuit against the man, filed just a week before the two-year statute of limitations expired. In the lawsuit, the family states the man had a pattern of substance abuse and violent behavior, and referred to himself as “evolving,” being “immortal” and having “super powers.” The day before the murders he purchased a switchblade at a gun and knife show, and on the day of the murders got into an argument at a restaurant with his family before leaving.
Wrongful death claims often coincide with homicide cases
Families of homicide victims often file wrongful death cases against the perpetrator. Because the action occurs in civil court, it does not interfere with the criminal case in any way and is not affected one way or the other by the outcome of the wrongful death case. The wrongful death case has a lower burden of proof — the plaintiff must simply show it was “more likely than not” that the defendant was guilty of the action, versus the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard in a murder case.
For more information on filing a wrongful death claim in a death that is also the subject of a criminal case, speak with a dedicated Bradenton attorney at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.