Many people turn on the news and likely hear a story about someone being arrested for homicide-related charges. When someone faces such allegations, it is critical that they seek representation from a highly skilled criminal defense attorney, as their freedom is very much on the line.
After decades of a statistically downward trend in the overall number of homicides, crime experts reveal that 2019 – 2020 marked the widest single-year national jump in homicides since national crime statistics started being kept and tracked in the 1960s.
A Recent California Homicide Case
One recent homicide case involves a now-fired school safety officer who is accused of shooting an 18-year-old mother and student at the high school in Southern California where the officer worked. The officer was fired from his position as school safety officer one day after shooting Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez on Sept. 27.
Reports indicate that Rodriguez was hit “in the upper body” by a bullet fired by Gonzalez as Rodriguez and her two friends drove away from an off-campus parking lot near Millikan High School, according to the Long Beach Police Department. Gonzalez, who was driving nearby, stopped his vehicle after he saw a fight between Rodriguez and a 15-year-old girl, according to police. Rodriguez, the mother of a 5-month-old boy, was taken off life support and died Oct. 5.
Gonzalez has now been charged with one count of murder, and the case will likely revolve around whether the shooting was justified based on the safety officer’s duties. We will be watching to see what happens in this case.
Homicide Charges in California
Homicide is defined by California law as the act of unlawfully killing another person. There are two types of criminal homicide: murder and manslaughter.
- Murder is a homicide where the accused person had an intent to kill. Specifically, under California Penal Code Section 187, murder is defined as one person killing someone else with malice aforethought. Malice is, in turn, defined as the intention or desire to do evil.
- Manslaughter occurs when someone kills another person but without premeditation to do so. California classifies manslaughter into various levels of culpability and attendant circumstances.
Murder is further divided into first-degree and second-degree murder charges. First-degree murder carries a possible penalty of 25 years to life in prison (capital punishment is suspended in California currently). Second-degree murder is intentional but without premeditation or deliberation, and this conviction can mean 15 years to life in prison.
Manslaughter can be voluntary, involuntary, or vehicular. These offenses can carry the following penalties:
- Voluntary manslaughter = Up to 11 years in prison
- Involuntary manslaughter = Up to four years in prison
- Vehicular manslaughter = Up to six years in prison (if charged as a felony)
Consult with a Riverside, CA Homicide Attorney
If you have been charged with homicide in California, you need help from a Riverside, CA, criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact DeLimon Law today for a free consultation. We can help you defend against homicide charges and protect your rights.