The shocking homicide of a 3-year old boy and his mother’s boyfriend
in the Mystic Woods apartment complex of Riviera Beach last Sunday has
the neighborhood on edge.
The young boy, Martavious Carn, and his apparent caregiver at the time,
Amir Stepherson, were shot and killed while sitting in a parked vehicle
on the Mystic Woods premises. The shooters are unknown and at large.
This is at least the third and fourth murder that’s occurred on the
complex’s premises since 2010. In this article, we explain how a
personal injury lawyer can help the surviving families of victims of gun
violence in Mystic Woods, and similar neighborhoods.
Is the apartment complex responsible for the death of young Martavious,
and Mr. Stepherson?
Negligent security is a legal term that describes failures on the part
of the apartment complex owners to provide basic premises security measures
for the residents. Tenants have a right be feel safe and secure at Mystic
Woods, and other similar rental or apartment complexes. It is the responsibility
of the owners of the complex to provide that security.
While the apartment complex owners certainly did not pull the trigger of
the weapon used to kill young Carn and Mr. Stepherson, their lack of effort
or attempt to secure the premises at least in part allowed the shooting to occur.
Basic apartment premises security measures in Florida generally include:
- Entrance gate, security checkpoint, or on-duty guard
- Fob-enabled security gates, or walkways
- Security and emergency dispatch protocol
- Communications grid and capabilities for rapid response emergency requests
- Strict documentation and verification of identities of visitors and non-residents
Had these basic security measures been in place, the killers may not have
been able to take advantage of the ease of access to the Mystic Woods
complex, or the opportunity to perpetrate this horrific murder.
Mystic Woods’ owners have a duty to provide sufficient security measures
to their residents
The owners of the Mystic Woods apartment complex have a duty as landlords
to provide sufficient security measures to prevent shootings such as this
from occurring on property.
It may be argued that Mystic Woods’ resident should demand an elevated
need for security, given the troubled history of shootings and violence
that have occurred within the complex.
In 2010, a man was robbed, shot, and assaulted by four teenagers at Mystic
Woods. That man died after crashing his vehicle into a utility line pole
as he fled the attack.
In 2005, an off-duty police officer shot and killed James Eggers, a 23-year
old man, when police say Eggers was threatening neighbors with a gun.
Eggers had reportedly shot a resident of Mystic Woods earlier that day
over a personal dispute. Eggers was not a resident of Mystic Woods at
In 2012, a stolen Bentley was found on the premises of Mystic Woods, after
having been tied to a homicide that occurred less than 8 hours earlier.
Negligent security is a serious civil tort for which the surviving families
of shooting victims may sue
Negligent security is a tort – or, in legal speak, a negligent act
of one individual that results in the harm of another. For the tragic
murders of Martavious Carn and Amir Stepherson, the surviving families
of both victims could potentially sue the owners of the Mystic Woods apartment complex.
It is the duty of the owners of the complex to provide at least basic security
measures to ensure their residents are safe from violent acts such as
these. The residents of Mystic Woods are frequently exposed to common
occurrences of gun violence, which is troubling.
One of the ways residents can prevent future tragedies is to hold the owner’s
accountable for their lack of security. With the help of an
experienced, committed personal injury attorney, residents may be able to accomplish that goal, making their neighborhood
safer for their families, neighbors, and future generations.
If someone you know has been killed on the premises of Mystic Woods, or
killed in a similar tragedy at a different apartment complex or premises,
please call the Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb at 561-600-5605. The consultation
with Mr. Goldenfarb is confidential and free, and there are no up-front
costs for us to begin working on your case.