Susan Louise Lorincz will be prosecuted for manslaughter with a firearm and one count of assault in the death of Ajike "AJ" Owens, according to State Attorney William “Bill” Gladson.
The burden for a second-degree murder charge requires prosecutors to prove "beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt, the existence of a depraved mind toward the victim at the time of the killing," Gladson said in a statement.
"Depraved mind requires evidence of hatred, spite, ill will or evil intent toward the victim at the time of the killing," he said.
"As deplorable as the defendant’s actions were in this case, there is insufficient evidence to prove this specific and required element of second-degree murder."
Lorincz could face up to 30 years behind bars if convicted.
Lorincz, 58, had a long-standing “neighborhood feud” with Owens about the mother's children playing in a field near Lorincz's home, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office has said.
That feud culminated June 2, when authorities said Lorincz shot Owens, a 35-year-old mother of four, through a closed door in Ocala.
Lorincz's defense lawyer declined to comment Monday.
"The family is devastated, but it's something I tried to prepare them for," said Anthony Thomas, the attorney representing the victim's family.
"We are disappointed. The state attorney did a good job with explaining to us that he always thought it was a manslaughter case. But then he gave us some air of hope (of a murder charge) of 'Well, there's some more evidence I need to look at.' So it gave them some hope, but I thought that hope was false."
Thomas said he appreciated the high burden needed to make a murder case but still accused Gladson of "playing it safe" with the "slam dunk" manslaughter charge.
Thomas cited the long history between Lorincz and Owens as evidence that could have win a murder conviction.
"It's not like this was their first encounter," he said. "This was a series of events. She knew who Ajike was, and she knew who her children were."