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First Degree Murderer??

November 2, 2014

Before my trial commenced, the judge explained the Felony Murder Rule, the law under which I am convicted. He gave an Old West bank robbery as analogy. He said that if I were waiting outside in the horse drawn carriage, and my buddy went in to rob the bank, never intending to kill, but does, then we are both guilty of Felony First Degree Murder. We’re both on the hook for the death. That was his explanation. Yet, my co-defendant, “Red” was allowed to strike a deal with the DA. Due to his prior convictions for robbery and burglary, he got six year doubled to twelve with a five year enhancement for a total of 17 years. He got on the stand and painted me to be a bully, who forced him to give me the keys and take me to the truck. He didn’t want to, but according to his testimony, he acquiesced to my aggressive and persistent requests. At sentencing I received 25 to life. Red was 36 years old at the time, so he’ll be out at age 50. I was 21 at time of sentencing, so I’ll go to “board” when I’m 46.

The felony that identifies me as a first degree murderer is 2nd degree burglary, which was in commission as soon as I opened the locked vehicle door with the key, that Red provided. Since he had a key and said it was his, I thought he owned the truck. We got into the vehicle and I began to drive off. I stopped to turn on the headlights, and someone shouted “I’m going to kill you!” Red jumped out and started running away. I panicked and pressed the gas pedal, intending to escape a block or two away, then abandon the vehicle. I was intoxicated, in a panic, and a stupid fool. Unbeknownst to me, the true owner of the truck, high on meth-amphetamines jumped into the back; he was a small time user-dealer in the area and a handyman. I crashed the vehicle, and he was flung from the vehicle and instantly killed. The window was shattered on the truck, and I was thrown into the street. In a daze, I ran off. I was apprehended about 20 minutes later.

The DA explained to the jury that my parolee co-defendant ran from the scene, because he was “scared of breaking parole.” I ran, because I’m a hardened and selfish criminal who cares only about myself. This, even though Red was a parolee with prior robbery and burglary convictions, and I’d never been to prison. My minimal record included vandalism and possession of a usable amount of meth.

What I did was wrong. What happened was a tragedy, and everyday I live with the fact that I took a life. It was an unintentional and, in fact, I didn’t know he’d actually jumped into the truck, but he had and he died. Everyday I live with the fact that I killed a man, but I do not believe I am a first degree murderer. I deserve to spend a significant term in prison, but not 25 to life. This is the same sentence a person receives for maliciously plotting another person’s death and carrying through with that plot. There are many cases exhibiting the harshness of the felony murder rule in the courts. One young man at a party agreed to give another a ride to purchase marijuana, which is not a felony, but his passenger went into the dealer’s garage and killed him. The driver, convicted and sentenced to 25 to Life, had no idea what the passenger had planned or done.

If Richard Hoagland had not jumped into the truck and two days later I’d run over someone crossing the street, I’d have been charged with GTA (grand theft auto), which does not fall under the felony murder rule, and vehicular manslaughter.

The law is so full of loopholes and contradictions, it sometimes just doesn’t make much sense. What about that lawyer who sued Red Bull for $13 million, because the drinks don’t actually “give you wings?” (

Some things aren’t working in the law and need to be changed.

I know a man who was taking a walk one night, and came across a man raping a woman. He picked up a metal pole and whacked the guy once in the back of the head, killing the rapist. He was tried and convicted of involuntary manslaughter, sentenced to 4 years. What was he supposed to do? Confront the man and risk himself and the woman being shot and killed or stabbed? Ask him nicely to stop? Call the police and allow the man to escape and do it again?

I was talking to a C.O. and told him about some of this and said I understand there needs to be police, jails, and sentences or the world would be more of a mess than it is now, but that I think laws need to be changed and a lot of sentences are excessive for the circumstance of the crime. He didn’t agree and said, “Justice is blind. That’s why she wears the blindfold, and it varies.”

I agree. Justice is blind. And justice needs to remove the blindfold. Justice can sometimes seem to take on the appearance of retribution.

Why is it that in California a lot lifers don’t get released, or they do and the governor repeals the release. Is this justice? Am I a first degree murderer? No! I deserve to be serving a long sentence, but not 25 to life. Changes need to be made to the penal system. Be a part of it. Please go to and sign a petition to repeal the Felony Murder Rule.

Some history can be found at

Petition to End Felony Murder Rule:


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