Oct. 25—Following a number of evidentiary hearings in the resentencing case of Leon Lampkin Jr., the Yuba County Superior Court docket heard new testimony from Mike Owens on Friday recounting the pair’s involvement in the 1998 theft and double murder of Leoncio and Alejandro Jimenez.
In keeping with the Yuba County District Legal professional’s Workplace, Lampkin together with co-defendant Michael Owens tried to rob the Jimenez brothers on March 18, 1998. A gun combat reportedly broke out throughout the theft, which resulted in the brothers’ deaths and Owens being shot thrice.
Owens was sentenced to serve 4 life phrases plus 79 years, and beforehand maintained his innocence throughout sentencing.
A jury later decided that whereas Lampkin didn’t deliberately discharge a firearm throughout the crime, he was discovered responsible of felony murder and sentenced to serve 37 years plus two life phrases.
After almost 25 years, resentencing might be potential for Lampkin.
With the passing of Senate Invoice 1437 in 2019, California’s felony murder rule was modified because it pertained to individuals who didn’t immediately commit a killing.
This alteration ensures that legal responsibility for murder shouldn’t be imposed on somebody until they have been the precise killer, acted with intent to kill or acted as a serious participant in an underlying felony with reckless indifference to human life. The California Legislature selected to make this variation retroactive, which has reopened hundreds of murder convictions, together with Lampkin’s.
Yuba County District Legal professional Clint Curry beforehand defined that the courts should now decide if proof helps Lampkin’s murder conviction beneath the brand new definition. If not, his convictions could be reversed and sentences could be vacated, leaving solely the fees for tried theft.
“Lampkin could be a free man,” Curry beforehand advised the Enchantment.
Throughout Friday’s listening to, Owens delivered testimony explaining how he deliberate the theft and satisfied Lampkin to affix him. Regardless of beforehand sustaining his innocence, Owens has utilized for clemency and offered details about his and Lampkin’s actions throughout the theft as a part of his utility.
Owens stated that the occasions he described in his assertion of perception and testified to have been based mostly on his reminiscence, probation report and what was introduced in his 1999 trial.
In keeping with Owens, he and Lampkin grew up collectively, however weren’t notably shut mates. Across the time of the murder, Owens stated that he turned concerned in gang exercise and was trying to recruit Lampkin by convincing him to participate in the theft.
Owens stated that he selected to rob the Jimenez brothers as a result of he heard that they have been drug sellers and, on the time, believed that they have been “honest recreation.” On prime of utilizing the theft as a recruitment tactic, Owens additionally hoped to get medicine, cash and weapons out of the incident.
“I knew that I used to be going to want assist, so I began to think about who I might get to affix me,” he stated. “I felt like I might manipulate (Lampkin) into serving to me. He was youthful than me. I had an affect with him.”
Owens additionally testified to needing Lampkin to translate throughout the theft as a result of he was fluent in Spanish. He additionally seen Lampkin as “somebody with coronary heart” who might be dependable in future gang exercise.
After convincing Lampkin to participate in the crime, Owens deliberate to rob the Jimenez brothers that very same day.
On the time of the incident, investigators reportedly discovered backpacks crammed with duct tape, bullets, shotgun shells and different gadgets outdoors the Jimenez dwelling. Owens testified to placing these kits collectively in preparation for the theft and later taking Lampkin with him to the Jimenez dwelling.
Earlier than initiating the theft, Owens stated he armed himself with a 9 mm pistol and Lampkin with a brief barreled shotgun.
“I advised him all the things was going to be OK; that it was going to be easy,” he stated. “I do know it would not make any sense in any respect, however in my pondering on the time, I believed the theft would go smoother if (Lampkin) had a gun too as a result of folks do not resist when you have got a gun.”
After arriving on the Jimenez residence, a gunfight erupted which resulted in the brothers’ deaths and Owens being shot thrice — as soon as in the stomach and as soon as in every leg. He was discovered mendacity in the highway by authorities.
Owens additionally wrote in an announcement of perception that Lampkin walked into the kitchen along with his gun skilled on Alejandro Jimenez. When he tried to seize Lampkin’s shotgun, the sufferer had virtually “full management” of the gun. Lampkin reportedly pulled the set off inflicting the shotgun to discharge into the ceiling.
Owens testified to seeing Lampkin and Alejandro Jimenez struggling over the shotgun after it was discharged. Leoncio Jimenez shot Owens in the abdomen shortly after and Lampkin jumped out of a window to flee, he stated.
Each the protection and District Legal professional’s Workplace are nonetheless arguing for which proof supplies could also be allowed in the decide’s ruling for Lampkin, Curry advised the Enchantment. One other listening to for Lampkin will probably be held at 9 a.m. on Nov. 3. Curry stated that it’s potential that Choose Stephen Berrier will make a ruling from the bench or challenge a written ruling on the conclusion of the following listening to.