White woman who killed Nigerian mother of four in US appears in court
Susan Lorincz, 58, who is white, was arrested and charged with manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery, and two counts of assault in the death of Ajike Owens, a Nigerian mother of four.
Sheriff Billy Woods revealed this in a statement on Tuesday. Jail records show Lorincz was booked, but did not list a lawyer who could speak on her behalf.
It took four days from the shooting on Friday until an arrest was made.
“No arrest for 24 hours. No arrest for 36 hours. No arrest for 48 hours,” Crump said. “I mean, the hours must have felt like years for Pamela Dias and her family.”
“We are very grateful to Sheriff Woods for making that arrest,” Crump said. “We don’t take that lightly and we don’t take it for granted. Because Black people in America getting swift justice isn’t always a given.”
The Florida woman appeared at her first court hearing after she was arrested in the shooting death of her neighbor, in an alleged dispute with the neighbor’s children.
Susan Lorincz, 58, appeared in court via video from the Marion County Jail where she is currently being housed, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO). The state attorney requested that Lorincz be held with no bond and said that the state would file a motion for pretrial detention.
Judge Lori Cotton said she will hold off on the bond hearing until the state files a motion for pretrial detention, which will be scheduled within five days. Cotton said Lorincz’s next court date will be on July 11.
“The fact that she has no job, no property kind of limits her ties to this community,” the state attorney said of Lorincz. “So we ask that, at least for the time being, she remain on a no-bond status.
How it happened
Ajike Owens, a Nigerian mother of four, was shot dead by a white neighbour while she was trying to recover an iPad taken from her child in front of their home, in a housing complex, in Ocala, Florida, the United States.
The Nigerian, 35, popularly called ‘AJ’ was killed in the presence of her 9-year-old son, according to a Twitter post made by a civil rights lawyer, Ben Crump, on Monday.
Crump alleged that the Nigerian woman was shot by her 58-year-old woman neighbour who had complained several times about Owens’ children playing outdoors, according to the Guardian UK.
The US attorney also disclosed that the police have yet to make any arrest because of the state’s ‘stand your ground’ rule, describing the murder as “unjust killing.”
In his own reaction, the Marion County sheriff, Billy Woods, disclosed at a Monday afternoon press conference that the shooting seemed to be the culmination of a feud between the neighbours.
Woods added that deputies had been called to the address “six to eight” times in two and a half years.
He said he could not confirm that Owens was attempting to retrieve an iPad when she was killed, but said the shooter had thrown a pair of skates towards Owens’s children before the fatal confrontation.
Woods said, “Somebody threw something at my child, I’d be pissed off. What parent wouldn’t be? Who wouldn’t be upset at that, regardless of whether they intentionally threw it at them or not?
“I wish our shooter would have called us instead of taking actions into our own hands. I wish Mrs Owens had called us in the hopes we could have never got to the point in which we are here today.”
The Guardian UK said Woods did not identify the shooter’s name, age or race, but added she was being “cooperative.”
He urged patience from the community while the investigation continued, stating that not all the children who witnessed the incident had been interviewed yet.
“We’re not cold-hearted bastards, we’re not going to interview children the night they possibly witnessed their mother being killed. We’re going to wait. We have to rely on professionals and expert counsellors to sit down with them, [but] I’m here to assure the family and the friends that my office is going to do everything to bring justice,” Woods added.
The report further revealed that the incident happened as several children were playing on the grass in front of a duplex building at the development, according to neighbours who spoke to the Ocala Star-Banner.
They said a female resident emerged from one of the units, threw something towards the children, scooped up an iPad and retreated inside.
One of the children told Owens what happened, the neighbour said, and she went to the woman’s door.
“She confronted her and, according to the one side, there was a lot of aggressiveness from both of them, back and forth, whether it be banging on the doors, banging on the walls and threats being made,” Woods said.
“And then, at that moment, it’s when Owens was shot through the door.”
Can charges against Lorincz be increased to murder?
Lorincz told investigators that she acted in self-defense, and earlier the sheriff had said that because of Florida’s stand-your-ground law, he couldn’t make an arrest unless he could prove the shooter did not act in self-defense.
“Yes, I am grateful for an arrest. Very disappointed it took four days,” Dias said during the press conference. “When is it OK in America to shoot someone behind a locked door? When is that OK?”
Crump said they want prosecutors to increase the charges against Lorincz from manslaughter to murder.
Crump pushed back on prosecutors saying that the case against Lorincz was a “difficult” one, suggesting that if Owens fired the gun instead there would have been an arrest “that night.”
Phyllis Wills, a white woman who lives in the same apartment complex as Owens and Lorincz, said during the press conference that many children play in the public field nearby, and that Lorincz yells at many kids playing there, and even called Owens’ children “slaves”.
The sheriff said Owens was shot moments after going to Lorincz’s apartment after Lorincz yelled at Owens’ children as they played in a grassy area outside nearby.
Owen’s children blame self
The mother of Ajike Owens, the Black woman shot dead through her neighbor’s door, said her grandkids blame themselves for their mother’s death.
Owens’ four children are aged 12, 9, 8, and 3.
Grandmother Pamela Dias said the 12-year-old blames himself and told her, “I couldn’t save her. I tried to give her CPR.”
Dias said the nine-year-old “witnessed his mother shot and killed. In his soul and his heart, it’s his fault that his older brother, his baby sister, and his baby brother, as well as himself, will never see their mother again, because he went home and told his mother what this woman did to him.”
Owens’ mother, little brother, attorneys, neighbor, and local leaders spoke at a press conference in Ocala, Florida, on Wednesday, a day after the neighbor Susan Louise Lorincz was arrested.
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