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Police: drug crimes suspected as source of fatal street fight

The Los Angeles Police Department reports that a street fight over narcotics occurred between several males on Feb. 6, resulting in the death of one 17-year-old. Two other teens are reportedly being held and charged with murder under California law. Another suspect, an 18-year-old male, was held and charged with drug crimes.

The arrests are associated with a fight that took place behind an apartment building in the 15000 block of Dickens Street, according to the LAPD. Police also report recovering a "tactical folding knife" at the scene, which they believe to be the alleged murder weapon. The two teens charged with murder were involved in the fight, police say.

They were questioned at the Van Nuys Station after the incident occurred. At least one of the murder suspects was also stabbed and had to be taken first to the hospital for treatment. Two other young males escaped from the scene on foot and are considered persons of interest by the police.

Each defendant must now obtain counsel as soon as possible. In a situation of multiple defendants, any one of the suspects could decide to cooperate with police. In that event, the cooperating individual often gets preferred treatment and a lesser sentence as part of a plea bargain. Further, it is in the interest of the cooperating individual to identify the other suspect as the guilty party. In those circumstances, defense counsel is imperative in order to guide a suspect through the process of communicating, and potentially negotiating with, the police.

Furthermore, the need to build a defense under California law early in the case requires prompt communication with counsel.  In this case, an interrogation took place without the presence of counsel. The content, and voluntariness, of those interrogations must be investigated as soon as possible. With respect to the defendant who is being held on the drug crimes charges, counsel must investigate all of the details surrounding the search, seizure and other circumstances regarding the alleged drugs.

Source: Sherman Oaks, CA Patch, "Teen Stabbed to Death in Drug Dispute, Police Say", Paige Austin, Feb. 8, 2015

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