Sunrise, Florida man, Khemraj Samlall told law enforcement he was only joking when he allegedly attempted to ignite gasoline that he “accidentally” spilled on his wife and her bed earlier this week. As a result of this claimed joke, Mr. Samlall is now facing felony charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill. According to reports Mr. Samlall and his wife were arguing after Mr. Samlall came home drunk. Mrs. Samlall is thought to have told him he was a bad father for not spending enough time with his children, prompting Mr. Samlall to retrieve a red gas can from outside in order to dump the gasoline contents on his wife and her bed. Mr. Samlall claims his actions were nothing more than a joke and his attempt to convince her to leave him alone and in the process he accidentally spilled gasoline on her and her bed. He further claims that his attempt to light the gasoline with a lighter was merely a joke, without an intent to do any harm. As so often is the case with an allegation of domestic violence, after initially telling police that she feared her husband, Mrs. Samlall retracted her statement, telling a Judge that Mr. Samlall is a great guy and a good father to their children.
Hmm… Evidently they joke a little differently in south Florida. That said, I get it. Nagging wife, guy gets a little soused up at the bar with his rough riding buddy after watching his team get dominated by a lesser opponent. Times are tough and you come home and are met at the door by the Angry Bird that explodes upon impact. Mrs. Samlall was running hot when Khemraj rolled in. Tale as old as time. We’ve all been there. That said, I’m still not sure the old “dump an accelerant on her and watch her squirm as I strike a lighter” joke was totally appropriate. The knives may have taken it a bit too far as well. Get better Khemraj!!!
In all seriousness, the defense of “just kidding” probably isn’t going to cut it in this situation. Aside from the fact that this could have obviously killed his wife and burned his home to the ground, Mr. Samlall now faces extremely serious charges. Aggravated Assault is codified at Florida Statute 784.021 and is really nothing more than an upgraded assault. Defined, an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge in Florida is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent all while having in their possession a deadly weapon. In this case, where there is no firearm present Mr. Samlall will avoid a minimum mandatory sentence but does face the prospect of prison time, as his charge is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Looking at this case and taking only the news report as a factual source, it seems as if his defense is a bust. Had Mr. Samlall filled up the gas can with water and thrown it on his wife with nothing more, there is arguably no evidence of even an assault occurring as there is no apparent ability to do harm given that it would only have been water. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case as Mr. Samlall allegedly did throw gas on his wife and, if the report is correct, pointed a knife in her direction. While the knife is certainly a deadly weapon, the coupling of the gas with his striking of a lighter would suffice for the deadly weapon element as well. These facts would make if difficult for any criminal lawyer to defend on.
At the end of the day, depending on whether the police have evidence beyond the report made by Mrs. Samlall, Mr. Samlall may be in some serious trouble. If he’s adjudicated guilty of this crime he will be a convicted felon, thereby losing a number of rights and will further be a felon convicted of a crime of violence. Combine those two and life as he knows it could be over. He would never be able to seal or expunge his record and future employment prospects, lending prospects, and background checks could be less than ideal.
If you’ve been charged with a crime in Florida, contact Tampa criminal attorney Jason Mayberry today for a free consultation. We’re available from 9AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday at 813-444-7435 and at 727-771-3847.