Gang Related Murder Example Case in California

In People v. Gonzales and Soliz (2011) 52 Cal.4th 254, the defendants were members of a Hispanic street gang. (People v. Gonzales and Soliz, supra, 52 Cal.4th at p. 263.) They and others were in a car when they saw two or three African-American men from a rival gang standing in the driveway of a gas station. (Id. at pp. 268-270.) The defendants recognized the men and told the driver of the car to go back to the gas station. (Id. at p. 270.) One of the defendants shot the African-American men. (Id. at p. 269.) When one of the victims started to crawl away, the shooter walked up and shot him again. (Ibid.) One of the victims had been shot from behind while kneeling on the ground with the shooter standing over him; the other had been shot seven times, including two fatal wounds to the head. (Id. at p. 271.) In holding that there was sufficient evidence of premeditation and deliberation, the court stated: "Here, the evidence of motive was that defendants targeted the victims for a gang retaliation murder ... . This motive evidence supported the inference that defendants, who were armed at the time, had the prospect of retaliation in mind and quickly decided to commit the murders once they identified potential targets. A reasonable inference, therefore, is that defendants formed the intent to commit premeditated and deliberate murder as early as when they asked the driver to turn the car around and return to the gas station to confront the victims ... ." (Id. at p. 295.) As for "manner" evidence, the court stated: "The manner of killing--a close-range shooting without any provocation or evidence of a struggle--additionally supports an inference of premeditation and deliberation." (Ibid.)