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A Florida mom has been charged as a principal to attempted murder after allegedly driving her gang member son to go shoot someone.
Sondra Conegia, 54, the mother of attempted murder suspect Lewis Hawkins, 32, is alleged to have driven her son to the intended victim's girlfriend's apartment where Hawkins fired "four shots at him from a 9 mm gun," reports the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Hawkins then reportedly got back in Conegia's car and they left the scene.
No one was killed or injured in the shooting, and Hawkins has not yet been caught. So why is his mom still on the hook for attempted murder?
Mom's Motive Unclear
Most moms would kill to have their adult sons involve them in their lives, but attempted murder charges typically aren't part of the equation. Who knows what was going through the 54-year-old mother's head when she allegedly drove her son to confront and ultimately try to kill a man.
According to Orlando's WOFL-TV, police report that the intended target of Lewis' bullets, Dion Skeeter, 34, had an argument with Hawkins at a bar the week prior to the shooting. The News-Journal reports that Hawkins threatened to "get [Skeeter]" after that confrontation at the bar. And he apparently followed that up with an attempt on Skeeter's life by firing on him early Tuesday.
In Florida, as in most states, shooting at someone with the intent to kill or seriously injure him or her is at the very least attempted murder. And in Hawkins' case, it's attempted first degree murder, which could have him facing a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison if convicted.
Mom Treated the Same as Shooter
Unfortunately for Conegia, she's been charged with principal to attempted first-degree murder, which means that by assisting her son as the driver, she can be convicted and punished as if she'd pulled the trigger.
A principal is defined under Florida law as the one who commits the crime or "aids, abets, counsels, hires, or otherwise procures such offense to be committed."
If a court finds that Conegia allegedly aided her son by driving him both to and from his attempt at killing Skeeter, Conegia can be held equally culpable for her son's crime. And unlike her son, who according to WOFL is a known member of the Latin Kings who isn't yet in custody, Conegia is a 54-year-old mom who is currently being held without bail.