A white woman accused of firing through her door and fatally shooting a Black mother in front of her 9-year-old son in central Florida was charged Monday with manslaughter and assault.
Susan Lorincz was arrested earlier this month following the fatal shooting of Ajike Owens in Ocala, Florida. She was formally charged with one count of manslaughter with a firearm and one count of assault.
State Attorney William Gladson said his office contemplated filing a second-degree murder charge but that prosecutors concluded there was insufficient evidence that Lorincz had “hatred, spite, ill will or evil intent” toward Owens.
“As deplorable as the defendant's actions were in this case, there is insufficient evidence to prove this specific and required element of second-degree murder," Gladson said in a statement. “I am aware of the desire of the family, and some community members, that the defendant be charged with second-degree murder. My obligation as State Attorney is to follow the law in each case that I prosecute.”
If convicted, Lorincz faces up to 30 years in prison. Amanda Sizemore, Lorincz's attorney from the public defender's office, said she had no comment at this time.
Anthony Thomas, an attorney for Owens' family, said the decision against filing a second-degree murder charge was disappointing.
“We firmly believe that justice demands nothing less,” Thomas said in a statement. “The failure of the prosecutor to charge Susan with what truly reflected her wanton, reckless behavior undermines our ability to even get real accountability.”
Owens was killed June 2 in Ocala, about 83 miles (133 kilometers) north of Orlando.
After the shooting, Lorincz told investigators she had problems for two years with being disrespected by children in the neighborhood — including Owens’ children, who are ages 12, 9, 7 and 3.
According to an arrest report from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Lorincz said she had a headache the day of the shooting and that children were running and yelling outside her apartment. That night, while a few children were playing basketball, Lorincz threw a pair of roller skates at them, hitting one on the feet.
Owens then came over and knocked on her door. Lorincz told investigators that Owens threatened to kill her and banged on the door so hard she feared Owens would break it down.
Lorincz fired a single round from her .380-caliber handgun, the sheriff’s report says, which went through the closed door and fatally struck Owens.
A judge has granted Lorincz a $154,000 bond while ordering her to wear an ankle monitor and to stay away from Owens' family.