Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade teen accused of rabbi’s murder to remain jailed

Blair Charles (left), the mother of 15-year-old murder suspect Deandre Charles, watches proceedings in Miami-Dade bond court. Her son is accused of fatally gunning down Rabbi Joseph Raksin as he walked to a synagogue in August 2014. The teen was denied bond. At right is his stepfather, Willis Archibald.
Blair Charles (left), the mother of 15-year-old murder suspect Deandre Charles, watches proceedings in Miami-Dade bond court. Her son is accused of fatally gunning down Rabbi Joseph Raksin as he walked to a synagogue in August 2014. The teen was denied bond. At right is his stepfather, Willis Archibald. Miami Herald

Deandre Charles, the 15-year-old accused of murdering a rabbi during a botched robbery in Northeast Miami-Dade, will not be getting out of jail to await trial.

A Miami-Dade judge on Thursday denied bail to Charles, who appeared via closed-circuit television from jail. His parents watched from the court, but declined to speak to reporters.

In Florida, first-degree murder is a non-bondable offense. A jury earlier this week indicted Charles for murder and attempted armed robbery.

“We don’t think state has proof of anything other than filing a piece of paper,” said his defense lawyer, Adam Goodman. “We all know the long-standing joke: The jury will indict a ham sandwich. We don’t know what the evidence is yet.”

Prosecutors have yet to detail all of the evidence against Charles, but have said DNA and eyewitness testimony tied him to the crime.

Charles will appear in court Monday for an arraignment. He is expected to plead not guilty.

His family has told reporters that Charles, a Norland High student, was at home at the time of the shooting. The teen has one previous arrest in 2012, for stealing a wallet from a patron at a South Beach restaurant.

Charles faces up to life in prison if convicted. Because Charles is a juvenile, under a newly enacted Florida law, a judge must consider a possible release after 25 years.

Visiting from Brooklyn, Raksin was felled with one fatal .40-caliber round to the chest on the morning of Aug. 9, 2014. At the time, Raksin was on his way to Bais Menachem Chabad in the 1000 block of Northeast 172nd Terrace for the Sabbath.

In accordance with his beliefs, Raksin was not carrying any valuables on the holy day of rest.

“We believe this was a robbery,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday. “It was a crime of opportunity.”

The killing rocked the tight-knit Orthodox Jewish community, and the devout suddenly feared walking to synagogue. They pooled $50,000 for a reward leading to an arrest. In New York City, hundreds mourned at services for the rabbi.

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