The Ronald Regan State Building in downtown Los Angeles and home to the 2nd District Court of Appeals. Photo by John Schreiber.
The Ronald Regan State Building in downtown Los Angeles and home to the 2nd District Court of Appeals. Photo by John Schreiber.

A state appeals court panel on Tuesday upheld a man’s first-degree murder conviction for a neighbor’s killing in Long Beach three years ago.

The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that Mark Thurwachter’s conviction for the Feb. 1, 2012, killing of Marvin Williams should be reduced to second-degree murder.

In an eight-page ruling, the appellate court justices found that there was “substantial evidence upon which the jury could have reasonably rested its first-degree murder finding.”

“As for planning and deliberation, defendant’s numerous threats to kill Mr. Williams were circumstantial evidence of a preconceived plan to kill Mr. Williams when the time was right,” the panel noted.

The two were neighbors at Arbor Mobile Village, and other neighbors informed police that Thurwachter had a long-standing dispute with the 60-year- old victim, who was shot once in the chest outside his residence.

Thurwachter never returned to his home, and an arrest warrant was issued five days later. He was taken into custody in March 2012 in Cleveland during a fare evasion investigation conducted by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and was returned to Los Angeles County for trial.

In February 2014, he was convicted and sentenced to 50 years and eight months to life in state prison.

City News Service

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