Prosecution Seeks Death Penalty for 2009 Triple Homicide

The phone rings in the middle of the night, waking us from a sound sleep. It's likely happened to all of us at one time or another. Even before the receiver reaches a unawake ear, thoughts fly through our mind, presenting a premonition that something terrible has happened. Our parents, our children, or a close friend's form consume our thoughts even before a word is spoken. We chill to the idea that a horrible event's taken place and we're about to receive the details.

In most cases, it's a wrong number or someone that we know; calling with information that's benign. But sometimes that horrible unexpected call does materialize. The one we dread most. The voice of a close friend who relays the news that something ghastly has happened to a friend or loved one, or a notification by a police officer that may change our life forever.

Bruce Strachan's mother didn't get that type of call. In fact, she later swore to police that her son was home at the time of a shooting that killed three young people. But the families of those three individuals were not exempt from those unbearable notifications.

An intense manhunt began searching for Strachan who was the suspect in the fatal shooting that claimed the lives of the three victims who turned out to be Strachan's estranged wife and two of her friends.

When allegations such as these are professed, it becomes critical that an experienced defense attorney is called upon, to immediately assist in understanding all the accompanying variables and illuminating all facts on hand. It's equally important for the attorney to get as much information as quickly as possible in order to help plan a defense and weigh all options that can ultimately render the best possible outcome of any charges that may be levied against the accused.

Michael B. Cohen Esq. is a veteran defense attorney who has handled numerous cases of this type. In his career of over thirty-five years, he has conveyed favorable results for clients that have faced difficult charges brought against them by the prosecution. He has argued before the Florida Supreme Court with positive results setting new legal precedents and bringing a favorable outcome for the Respondent.

In this particular case, investigators with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office allege that Strachan travelled to his estranged wife home at around 4 a.m. on August 29, 2009, knocked on the door and after an a fight began he fired nine shots with an assault weapon in the direction of anyone that was within range. He then ran from the scene.

His estranged wife Yamika Murphy, 29, her friends Debbie Sears, and Ronald Anthony Wright, both 23, were allegedly attacked by Strachan at the home which is located in Lake Worth, Florida in the 1400 block of South D Street. The two female victims were later pronounced dead inside the residence where the attack occurred. Sears was found in the doorway in front of the house and Wright, in a bedroom closet. Murphy was found up the street, in front of a neighbor's house, in the process of bleeding out during his attempt to flee from the shooter. Wright was airlifted to Delray Medical Center where he died a few hours later. Jacoby Hatten, Murphy's new boyfriend, Sparkles Lucas another friend, and Vernia Murphy, Yakima's sister were also in the home but not within the line of fire.

As the shooting was in progress, Hatten heard the shots, grabbed Yakima's gun and ran outside in pursuit of Strachan. According to his description of the events, displayed in an arrest report, he saw Strachan running away and began to give chase. During that chase he saw the male victim, Ronald Anthony Wright, sprinting back toward the house, his shirt drenched in blood.

During the chase, he told investigators that Strachan fired a shot at him and he returned fire. But neither of those gunshots fired hit either intended target.

When Hatten returned to the house he found the bodies of the two women.

Deputies from the Palm Beach County Sheriff finally tracked down Strachan in Delray Beach and apprehended him after officers chased him as he was trying to get away.

He made his first court appearance the following day, was denied bond and then was remanded to Palm Beach County Jail.

His trial finally began last month after taking eight days for attorneys' to agree on a suitable a jury. Strachan is facing charges of three counts of first-degree murder using a firearm. The prosecution will seek the death penalty if he is convicted of the offenses after Strachan rejected a plea arrangement of three life sentences which was offered by the prosecution.

Strachan's defense is being handled by a team of three Assistant Public Defenders. During court proceedings, they argued that the shootings were not premeditated. In contrast to the prosecution's allegations, they described the incident as gun clashes between the accused and Wright, and then the defendant and Hatten.

In contradictive testimony, Vernia Murphy said that when Strachan arrived at the house she was with her friend, Sparkles Lucas and her sister. He manhandled her sister putting her in a chokehold while pointing the weapon at the three women. He then threatened to "kill all of us."

Strachan's criminal activities go back to when he was first arrested as a juvenile with charges of shoplifting, burglary and trespassing.

Between 2000 and 2004 he was incarcerated in state prison for almost four years for a conviction on a robbery charge. Three years later in 2007, he was again placed behind bars, convicted on the charge of resisting arrest by a law enforcement officer with violence. He was released from prison the next year.
As the case against Strachan continues, updates will be made available in this section of the website as new information becomes available.

Michael B. Cohen Esq. has two offices which are located in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

Call him for immediate assistance at: 954-928-0059 or 561-366-8200.