Publix Sued After Kitchen Knife is Used in Murder
The popular grocery chain Publix is being sued after selling a knife to a minor who used the knife in what prosecutors are describing as a premeditated first-degree murder. Corey Johnson was only 17 years old when he confessed to stabbing thirteen-year-old Jovanni Sierra Branz and two others at a slumber party in March of 2018.
Jovanni was killed in the attack while two others were injured. Now, her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Publix for selling the knife to a minor. The legal question is: Can Publix be held responsible?
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The wrongful death lawsuit against Publix alleges that Publix was negligent for selling the knife to a minor. Johnson was only seventeen at the time he purchased the knife.
Other relevant data on Johnson includes the fact that the FBI had been monitoring him for at least a year prior to the killing. He was apparently fascinated with ISIS and cited his Muslim faith as a reason for committing the murder. He was flagged by the FBI because of his internet usage and social media posts, but it was another case of the FBI not acting on information until it was too late.
The question is whether or not it’s illegal to sell a knife to a person under the age of 18. According to the attorneys for the family, Publix violated the law when they neglected to program the knives with large blades into their computer system to require ID for purchase. The legal question is whether or not the knife constitutes a “weapon”.
Attorneys for the family claim that Florida Statute 790.001 would include kitchen knives under the definition. If so, Publix may be liable for how a customer uses any of their products that could potentially be used to harm someone. The family’s attorney says that sharpened knives with large blades are unique, however, and anyone purchasing them should be required to show ID prior to leaving the store. They insist that kitchen knives do constitute weapons under the law and if anyone was caught with a kitchen knife in public, they would be charged with a weapons violation.
That much is true. Florida law does have strict regulations when it comes to concealed carrying of knives and, even a chef’s knife or kitchen knife, could be interpreted as a weapon under the law. This seems to indicate that Publix could be held liable for the negligent selling of the knife to a minor who used it in a crime.
Talk to a Jacksonville Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another person or company, you are entitled to file a lawsuit to recover damages. You can also sue when someone you love is taken away from you by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. The Jacksonville wrongful death attorneys at Gillette Law have helped several families get the closure they deserve by holding negligent parties accountable. Call today for a free consultation.