People v. Watkins

Decision Date15 February 1960
Docket NumberCr. 1537
Citation178 Cal.App.2d 41,2 Cal.Rptr. 707
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Wilbur WATKINS, Jr., Defendant and Appellant.

William O. Burt, Santa Monica, for appellant.

Stanley Mosk, Atty. Gen., and Elizabeth Miller, Deputy Atty. Gen., for respondent.

GRIFFIN, Presiding Justice.

Defendant-appellant was charged with the murder of one Delois Ross, in violation of Section 187, Penal Code. A jury verdict resulted in a conviction of the crime of murder, second degree.

Defendant claims on this appeal: (1) that the record does not support such conviction and argues that the crime delineated by the record shows, as a matter of law, the crime of manslaughter was committed and asks this court to remit the case to the lower court with instructions to reduce the crime to that of involuntary manslaughter; (2) that it was error for the trial court to refuse defendant's proffered instruction in the language of section 417, Penal Code, because the killing was shown to be without malice and done in a heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and the use of the gun could have been, under said section, a misdemeanor.

A resume of the facts indicates that Delois Ross was found lying in the front doorway of her home by a juvenile officer. She was bleeding and moaning. She told the officer that the defendant had shot her because of a quarrel, and that he had run in an easterly direction. The officer put a call on the radio giving the description of the defendant as given to him by Mrs. Ross and detective arrived about 2:30 p. m. Defendant was sighted running toward a stopped bus and apprehended. He told the officer, 'I am the man you are looking for; I did it.'

Mrs. Ross was conscious at 2:30 p. m. but died within the next 45 minutes. An autopsy disclosed that she had been shot seven times with a .22 caliber pistol. Two shots had passed completely through her body; one shot had passed through her left forearm and one shot had creased the top of her head. In the opinion of an expert in chemistry and ballistics, at least five of the seven shots were fired approximately 12 inches from the decedent, two striking the decedent through the front of her sweater and three striking her through her skirt and sweater from the back. Defendant told an officer that he had left Plam Springs about 11:00 a. m. that day; that he went to Mrs. Ross' residence and walked in; that there was an argument; that the defendant told the decedent that he didn't want her to leave for Los Angeles, as she had previously arranged, and that the defendant obtained his pistol from a bedroom and shot Mrs. Ross, who was then in the kitchen.

In defense, defendant testified at the trial that in the morning of January 16 he was in Palm Springs, drank considerable whiskey and left for San Bernardino; that he was bringing about $50 to decedent, as he had done in the past; that this money was intended to support his twin infants, illegitimate children of deceased and defendant, and to commence payment to an attorney for divorce proceedings to be instituted by decedent against her husband; that when he arrived at decedent's home, decedent asked him why he wasn't working that day; that she told him he could not come there whenever he wanted to and that she was not his wife; that defendant called her a liar, told her he was helping to pay the rent and he felt that he could come there whenever he got ready to do so; that he told her he had the money and she said, 'To hell with the money'; that Mrs. Ross told defendant she was going to Los Angeles that day with her sister and said it was none of his 'god-damned business' why she was going to Los Angeles; that he went into Mrs. Ross' bedroom, where she had been keeping the .22 caliber pistol and returned to the kitchen with it;...

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7 cases
  • People v. Brunk
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • 31 Enero 1968
    ...resulting in death is sufficient to sustain a verdict of second degree murder. Malice is implied from the assault. (People v. Watkins, 178 Cal.App.2d 41, 44, 2 Cal.Rptr. 707; People v. Torres, 94 Cal.App.2d 146, 149--150, 210 P.2d 324.)' (People v. Jones, 225 Cal.App.2d 598, 606, 37 Cal.Rpt......
  • People v. Gutierrez
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • 27 Noviembre 2017
    ...to act rashly or without due deliberation and reflection. [Citations.]" (Moye, supra, 47 Cal.4th at p. 550; see also People v. Watkins (1960) 178 Cal.App.2d 41, 43 [evidence showing "defendant was suddenly thrown out of [victim's] life and . . . that the relationship was coming to an end" w......
  • People v. Lewis
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • 13 Noviembre 1969
    ...v. Brunk, 258 Cal.App.2d 453, 456, 65 Cal.Rptr. 727; People v. Jones, 225 Cal.App.2d 598, 606, 37 Cal.Rptr. 454; Epople v. Watkins, 178 Cal.App.2d 41, 44, 2 Cal.Rptr. 707; People v. McAuliffe, 154 Cal.App.2d 332, 338, 316 P.2d 381; People v. Torres, 94 Cal.App.2d 146, 149--150, 210 P.2d 'Th......
  • People v. Jones
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • 16 Marzo 1964
    ...and resulting in death is sufficient to sustain a verdict of second degree murder. Malice is implied from the assault. (People v. Watkins, 178 Cal.App.2d 41, 44, 2 CalRptr. 707; People v. Torres, 94 Cal.App.2d 146, 149-150, 210 P.2d 324.) Finally, it is apparent that appellant's conduct in ......
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