A Blythe resident who gunned down a man because he felt the victim was being disrespectful to his sister was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Timothy James Mays, 26, was convicted last month of murder, with a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, for the April 4, 2014, shooting death of Douglas Miker, who was last seen departing the Horny Toad Saloon in Blythe with Mays and his sister about 2 a.m., according to Deputy District Attorney Jacob Silva.
The 24-year-old victim was found by passersby about four hours after leaving the bar, face-down with a gunshot wound to the head, on the side of the road near 10th Avenue and Arrowhead Boulevard. He was taken to Palo Verde Hospital in Blythe, then airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was pronounced dead four days later.
Silva told jurors that the trio left the bar in Mays’ sister’s car, with the defendant driving, and that during the car ride, Mays pulled over to the side of the road so Miker could relieve himself. Once Miker was outside of the car, Mays shot him, later telling a friend that he did so because the victim “was being rude and disrespectful to his sister,” according to the prosecution.
Silver said that text messages from Mays’ sister’s phone, sent about an hour before they left the bar, expressed her dislike for the victim.
“Those text messages would prove to be the motive for the murder of Douglas Miker,” said Silva, who told jurors the murder was committed essentially “over nothing.”
Deputies found two pairs of shoe prints near where Miker was found, one set matching his footwear and the other matching the type of shoes Mays owned, Silva said.
Mays’ attorney, Laura Garcia, said her client was tied to Miker’s murder because he’d been seen leaving the bar with him, but that all other forensic evidence police used to identify him as a suspect was inadequate.
She emphasized that the second set of shoe prints found near Miker only matched the type of shoe Mays owned and were never definitively matched with his actual footwear.
Tire tracks found at the scene were matched with tracks found at the bar’s parking lot, but they only matched the manufacturer type, but not the actual tires from Mays’ sister’s car, according to the defense attorney.
Garcia also said that Mays’ friend, to whom he supposedly confessed, had changed his story several times, and that his claims could not be trusted.
“There’s no evidence that (Mays) had any motive, and there’s no evidence that he was on that road (where Miker was shot,)” she said.
Mays was arrested on April 14, 2014, hiding in a storage shed behind a home in the 17800 block of Pallowalla Road, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.