According to a former prosecutor, whoever is arrested in the death of 22-year-old Gabby Petito will likely face a first-degree murder charge after the Grand Teton County coroner ruled that her homicide was caused by strangulation.
According to Mark Eiglarsh, a criminal defense lawyer and former Miami-Dade County prosecutor, “it almost always gets you first-degree murder because premeditation can be formed in an instant.”
“A simple battery or assault is when you put your hands around the victim’s neck without their consent. After that, you can start to squeeze and claim that you were only doing it to frighten them. However, you then contuse in order to apply pressure… Before someone is dead, someone needs to do that for a minimum amount of time” Eiglarsh had something to say about that.
“I think there’s a good argument that premeditation developed during the strangulation, even if it didn’t exist prior to physical contact.”
The Teton County Coroner was only allowed to release the manner and cause of death due to Wyoming state law.
Stuart Kaplan, a criminal defense lawyer, said on Tuesday that authorities likely gleaned much more information from the autopsy than they’ve made public and are likely to be able to exclude or connect Brian Laundrie, who has been named a person of interest in the case, to the death of his former fiancée.
“When someone is in a rage of violence and attempting to strangle someone, the victim usually tries to fight off the attacker. DNA transfer occurs frequently — most often under the fingernails, where someone is attempting to claw or scratch another person” In an interview with Fox News, Kaplan explained.
Brian Laundrie’s inclusion or exclusion will be determined by these DNA transfers.
On September 26, the FBI visited the North Port, Florida, home of Brian Laundrie’s family to compare DNA.
Last month, Brian Laundrie’s lawyer, Steven Bertolino, told Fox News that the FBI had requested some personal items belonging to his client to help with DNA matching.
Although Eiglarsh said Laundrie’s DNA could be found on Petito’s remains, he pointed out that it would have to be in unusual places for it to implicate him because he wasn’t a stranger and some of his DNA would be expected on her body.
Laundrie is only a person of interest in the death of Petito and has not been charged with a crime. He’s wanted for the unauthorized use of Gabby’s debit card from August 30 to September 1 this year.
Three to four weeks after her death, the remains of Petito were discovered in a Wyoming campground on September 19, placing her death in the last week of August.
Following their cross-country trip in June, the couple’s relationship soured. Gabby’s mother told investigators in a search warrant that her daughter had described how there “appeared to [be] increasing tension between her and Laundrie” as time went on.
On the 12th of August in Moab, Utah, Gabby and Brian got into a fight.
Officers received reports from the public and from Gabby, who claimed that Brian “grabbed” her face before she slapped him. No charges were filed after the two were temporarily separated.
Wyoming has a death penalty or life in prison for first-degree murder. Manslaughter, second-degree murder, and other charges are possible outcomes of homicide.
- Gabby Petito Murder: Instagram