A 28-year-old man is facing special circumstances murder charges for the rape, torture and murder of an 84-year-old woman. According to a news report in The OC Breeze, the opening statements for the murder case began on August 26 in Santa Ana. Officials say that on January 10, 2010, the Los Angeles Man broke into the home of the 84-year-old woman, raped her, tied her up, abused her and fatally stabbed her. He then allegedly stole her purse and car.
In addition to the special circumstances murder, he was also indicted for elder abuse, first-degree robbery, torture, forcible rape, first-degree residential burglary and the unlawful taking of a vehicle. All of those charges are felonies as well.
All murder cases can result in life-long prison sentences, but the punishments for special circumstances murder are particularly harsh. Under Penal Code Section 190.2: “The penalty for a defendant who is found guilty of murder in the first degree is death or imprisonment in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole if one or more of the following special circumstances” has been found under Section 190.4 to be true:
- The intentional murder was for financial gain
- The offender is a repeat offender
- The murder was carried out with a bomb or explosive
- The murder was committed to avoid or prevent an arrest
- The murder was committed while the defendant was engaged in a felony such as robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, burglary, arson or carjacking
California has special circumstances murder laws to differentiate between murders that are punishable by a life sentence and those that can result in capital punishment. While a murder can result in a life-sentence, special circumstances murder can result in the death penalty. If the jury finds that the defendant committed a special circumstances murder, it does not mean that the defendant will automatically face the death penalty, but it does mean that the defendant will face at least life in prison without parole.
The experienced criminal defense team at the Law Offices of David A. Stein knows how to handle murder cases in Southern California. If you or a loved one are facing these types of serious charges, please do not hesitate to call our offices at 949-445-0040.